Having seen a recent blog post http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/06/why-teach/ I had a good think about this... where to start?
I do love my job; so, you may be thinking, why are you going part time then !? If you love it so much, why not devote yourself to it...
Well, that is why I have decided to go part time- because I DO love it so much, it is easy for the job to become all encompassing. Alongside all the teachers I know (and probably the majority of those that I don't!) I am constantly trying to keep up with the many changes that come (and go). New initiatives; give them a go, changes in leadership- try new things. APP, AFL, NNS, NLS, QCA, curriculum change (who remembers all those folders that came out when the national curriculum started?) The job is constantly evolving, and, like the rest of the profession , I try to move with the times and keep my head above water.
Why do I love the job so much? The challenge of teaching children who struggle, the satisfaction in seeing a child flourish, the laughter and the tears. So many children: a little boy who as a Year 3 made my heart stop with his amazing gym skills (that boy is now in the National squad!) A postman's daughter who had a knack of writing the most incredible rhyming poems, an incredible flautist, a lad who could recite the times tables in the flash of an eye, a boy who lost his Dad to cancer and cried on my shoulder, colleagues who have moved on, teachers who inspired me in my early career and have become great friends, children who have come back to me as adults saying they remembered something I taught them, that lightbulb moment when the penny drops, a girl who started to believe in herself, a girl who managed to stop sucking her thumb, a boy who managed to learn to hold his own in English even though he had no knowledge of the language to start with, a child who managed to get a tune out of a recorder, a child who managed to write a whole sentence and read it back... I could go on and on.
I am just an ordinary teacher, I have been lucky to teach in great schools with dedicated teachers who all maintain a strong sense of fun and looking beyond the data , the results and the politics of teaching. The job is immensely rewarding. But, I am just an ordinary person and the demands of the job nowadays are so huge that I just don't feel that I can do it on a full time basis as well as everything else. Juggling being wife, mother,teacher, human being!! So, to go part time is for me, the way to go at this point. Since making the decision my enthusiasm has been completely re-energised as I can finally see myself getting the work/life balance better for me. It is my own fault that I am too much of a perfectionist and find it hard to switch off from the job. Having time to pursue other interests will, I hope, bring a new dimension to my teaching. (Remember, I have been teaching all my working life!) Sadly, sabbaticals are not easy to come by in this country- a lesson we could learn from our European neighbours perhaps? Many teachers struggle with the demands of the job which is such a shame as, by the nature of the job, the people doing it are not going to do anything other than their best (and still feel they could do better!)
Going part time doesn't diminish my love for the job. Already have a trainee lined up for September :)