Primary school teacher quits after one term

  • 06/11/2017
An English primary school teacher quit his first job because it affected his "emotional wellbeing".
An English primary school teacher quit his first job because it affected his "emotional wellbeing". Photo credit: File

A newly qualified primary school teacher has quit the profession after just one term.

Eddie Ledsham, 22, found a job teaching a class of eight-year-olds in Wirral, northwest England, soon after graduating.

"Looking back, I probably rushed into it but I was worried the start of the school year would come around and I'd be left without a job," he told the Liverpool Echo.

Mr Ledsham found his first job to be nothing like he had expected.

Because there was just one class for the entire year level, Mr Ledsham found himself having to plan every lesson himself, rather than splitting it among other teachers.

"At uni, we were told that each lesson would require a three A4 page plan," he said.

"But when you consider the fact that I was planning seven lessons a day, five days a week, that is an awful lot of planning to do."

The workload also took a toll on his personal life.

He would get up at 5:30am to mark or plan lessons, then do more planning in his classroom before school started.

Instead of socialising with colleagues at lunch, he would catch up on work alone in his classroom, and often wouldn't get home until 6:30 at night.

"We were encouraged to have a work-play balance but, whenever I wasn't doing school work, I would feel guilty. 

"Even on the train to and from work, I would feel guilty that I wasn't doing anything work-related."

Mr Ledsham's social life suffered because of his stress over work.

"If I went to watch the football with friends, I'd have to shoot off as soon as it finished because I'd have work to do.

"The times I'd go and see my then girlfriend, I'd have to sit and do marking while she cooked or something."

He felt isolated at work, and didn't receive sufficient support for a first-time teacher.

"Most of the teachers at the school would only speak to me to inform me I'd done something wrong and, if I did something right, it usually went unnoticed."

In his third week at the school, Mr Ledshaw went to his mother's house and cried, telling her "I don't know if I can do this".

She encouraged him to stay, but he handed in his notice after just one term.

"I felt that what was expected of us was astronomical. I love working with children but the problem with the teaching is that there are so many expectations," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think we should have been given more on-the-job experience during the course of the degree, as it didn't at all prepare me for it."

Mr Ledshaw said he quickly became disillusioned with teaching, despite having wanted to be a teacher since he was in Year 10.

"I found that teaching as a profession is no longer about passing on knowledge, but rather teaching children to pass tests.

"I had probably the best class imaginable, but found the sheer time constraints it had on my day to day life and my emotional and psychological wellbeing just too hard in the long run."