Is leaving teaching the only option?

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It makes me sad when I see so many people talking about leaving teaching. I totally understand how they feel, but I think that there are other options.

When I started teaching, I remember being shocked at hearing older teachers counting the number of weeks till the next holiday. At the time as a fresh-faced, young teacher, full of enthusiasm, I couldn’t understand this attitude.  However, 26 years on, I have gone through the same feelings numerous times myself!

With the advent of social media, it is now plain to see that it’s not only in my school, town, region or even country that this is the case.  You only need to look on any Facebook group for teachers, to see that there are huge numbers of people who are fed up with the world of education, counting the weeks until the next holiday, and considering leaving teaching.

leaving teaching and holidays

Why is this?

It's the curriculum changes. In some cases, the lack of support. The challenges of ever-changing goalposts. And the pressures of testing, of results analysis and the constant pressure to be better than ever before. 

Add to that the bad press from many avenues.  Children, parents, politicians and the general public can be so quick to judge.  We often seem to be the ones in the firing line!

Adding insult to injury is the fact inflation has eaten into our salary over the years, due to a long pay freeze.  Despite some of us getting a payrise, it has not made up for the long pay freeze.

To top it off, our pension age is ever increasing and the prospect of being in teaching for over 45 years is a real possibility.


Only those of us who have been, or are in, the position of being a class teacher, know how impossible this situation is. It is simply not possible to be a fully effective, engaging and efficient teacher on a full-time basis, at the age of 68.  

Is it any wonder so many people are considering leaving teaching?

leaving teaching early

However, no amount of complaining, arguing or moaning, will make a button of difference.  The unions are fighting our corner, but realistically, even though some have had a pay rise, there are still issues causing people huge amounts of stress, and unhappiness.

According to a poll by the National Education Union (NEU), over 80% of respondents said that they had thought of leaving teaching in the previous year. 

The pressures, the stress, and the external influences are not going to change any time soon, but it would be incredibly sad if we lose so many excellent teachers from our schools. 

I think the only solution is for us, as individuals, is to take control of our own situations, and create a life that works well for us.

Happy at work

A few years ago, I decided that full-time teaching was no longer for me, and I needed to make a change.

I now combine my Your Money Sorted business, with teaching two days per week, and I love it. Teaching is fun again, and I enjoy working with the kids, seeing them develop and flourish into fantastic young people. I get to enjoy all the good bits of teaching, without getting bogged down in all the stuff that goes with it.

I now plan to stay in teaching, because it makes me happy, not because I feel I have no other choice. 

However, I have no desire to teach until 68, so I am planning to leave teaching at 55.  I know that I can't afford to do that yet, but I have plans in place that make me pretty sure that I will achieve it.

You can benefit from some of my ideas too, by signing up to my Path to Financial Security freebie

different careers for teachers

Is leaving teaching the only option?

If you are disillusioned with the profession, and don't want to teach until you are 68, do you have other options?


You could:

  • Stay in teaching, but start planning more effectively for early retirement.
  • Reduce your teaching hours and take on another job, or start your own business.
  • Reduce your expenses, and work part-time, without compromising your quality of life.
  • Leave teaching completely and find a new job, or create your own money making venture.

How to plan more effectively for retirement

There are basically 3 steps that you need to take:

  1. Establish how much you have saved for retirement already
  2. Work out how much you will need to retire at your ideal age
  3. Plan how to achieve this ideal amount

If we don’t want to be stuck in teaching until your late 60s, then now is the time to start making plans.

  If you would like some assistance with that, then you might find my post about "Will my teachers' pension contributions be enough?" useful.

what could i do when leaving teaching

What else could you do?

Teachers are hugely talented bunch. We have a skill set that very few other professions have and we can put that to good use.

What do you like doing best?  What do you really enjoy?  How could you develop that into a new career or moneymaking venture of your own?

If you need some inspiration, then you might like to read about alternative careers for teachers. 

Considering your options is really important, and seeing just how many opportunities are out there is vital if you are to make the most of your life.

I am not pretending that I don't get excited about, and look forward to school holidays.  I do!  But I no longer feel the need to count down the weeks, because I am genuinely happy at school. Considering how I used to feel about going into school, I didn't think that would be possible. 

Spending term-time just longing for the holidays, is a really draining and demoralising feeling, so why not see if you can make a change? As my dad would say "You're a long time deid!", so we have to make the most of every blooming day.  

Please come along and join my Your Money Sorted group, and be inspired by other teachers who are making their life the best it can be, and working towards being happier, healthier and wealthier

You might also enjoy my Path to Financial Security free download, which will help you to think about how improving your financial situation can help you to improve the quality of your life, and vice versa.

different careers if leaving teaching

  Eileen Adamson Financial Coach

I am Eileen Adamson, Your Money Sorted coach, working online with UK-based teachers to help them to become happier healthier and wealthier with more money for the stuff they love.


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