Throwing my hat out of the ring

This is a very personal post, but it is one I would like to share with you all. On Friday the 7th June 2019, I decided to throw my hat out of the ring. Yes, I went to university, to sign the papers, to withdraw from teacher training. I was studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education (QTS). In February 2018, I flew through the interview and passed the skills tests required to undertake teacher training on my first attempt. However, I was never sure if I would be good enough to teach. I really hoped I was, and I gave it my absolute all. However, teaching is such a multidimensional job. It is like juggling 10 balls in the air at a time. you have to plan, teach the content, evaluate, resource lessons effectively, direct support staff, liaise well with parents, attend meetings, write reports, undertake training and be able to cope with anything that is thrown your way. It is not that I’m not hardworking, I am incredibly hard working. Like many dyspraxics, my positives include sheer determination and a hardworking and focussed attitude.

However, many of my traits were scrutinized, such as my handwriting. I was regularly told my handwriting was not neat enough but if I took too long to write, I was told the children were switching off and my lesson pace was too slow. It seemed impossible for me to fix even with a sheer amount of effort.

Also, as time went on and I became more and more responsible for class teaching, I struggled a lot more with organization, even when I thought I had everything written down in my lesson plan, I would start teaching the lesson and realize, I had not collected something from the staffroom or photocopied one worksheet and it was starting to happen every single lesson. I was focussing so much on getting the content right and thinking how I was actually going to teach the lesson and recording everything in my planning, I found it hard to actually do it, to get everything prepared and ready. It became a downward spiral, towards the end of my teaching journey, I was panicking while teaching every lesson, thinking what was I going to do wrong this time? I cried a lot and felt extremely stressed and unhappy.

I want to support children. I love working with children and helping them learn, I thoroughly enjoy it, but this was just all too much. It is the first time in my life I have ever truly felt disabled. I do think teaching needs to change to support neurodiverse candidates as it would be lovely for children who are neurodiverse to have teachers that know how their brains work but at the moment it just seems impossible.

I do not know what my next role will be, I’m currently knee deep in my job hunting. I would love a role where I could support pupils in their education and/or use my passion for writing. I have been asked whether I would train to teach in the future and the answer is, truthfully, I am uncertain. I liked teaching, but teaching didn’t like me!

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  1. What an amazing lady you are Amy. The educational system are losing a valuable commodity in someone with much more skills than they will ever value.

    I truly wish you luck. Do not lose heart. My daughter is dyspraxic and I did not realise how many qualities she has until she started working with me.

    The right position will appear. It always does for people with such determination.

  2. This is so brave Amy – well done for taking such a difficult decision instead of being swept along with it and making yourself feel miserable every day. There are lots of jobs where your talents and neurodiverse status will be beneficial so take as much time as you can with the job hunting and remember you can always go back to education and do an MA instead of this postgrad course. Good luck x

  3. Thank you for sharing your storey..stay strong .Have you thought of maybe montessori teacher and just train as an assistant? Or look into play therapy?if you creative it’s a nice way to use talent. If you want to help children with special boundlndries to learning its one way to help just starting my teacher journey with that route so guess only time will tell.

  4. Sounds like you could be a good youth worker or a learning assistant 👍

    Thanks for your story. I’ve also recently thrown my hat out of the ring, and it’s good to read about someone else doing the same thing.

  5. I’m a teacher with Dyspraxia. Maybe don’t give up just yet? Teaching is incredibly difficult and stressful for everyone for the first few years. Also teacher training can take you down a path of over planning and over resourcing in order to tick boxes when in actuality you can achieve the same results with half the faffing around. Or trying another school can be a revelation?

  6. You’re not alone Amy! I couldn’t cope with teaching either, although I’ve been told that I’m good at actual teaching, I just can’t juggle enough balls to cope with all of the rest of it. I’ve ended up doing an MA instead, but I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it when I’m done. It’s just delayed the decision making a bit.
    Good luck with whatever you end up doing. Perhaps under a different government teaching might not be the stress-fest that it currently is, and it might become a viable option again.

  7. Thank you for being so honest Amy. I totally related to how you felt. I so hope you find a job that shows your talents and allows you to shine.

  8. Hi there
    I think you made a great decision. Despite sharing many of your experiences in the article, I stayed in teaching and only now am casting about for new things to do because no matter how hard I work, I feel very vulnerable and need to get out. I’ll let you know if I find something. Thank you


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Amy Boland
Amy is a trainee teacher from Birmingham who has not been formally diagnosed with Dyspraxia but shows many traits.
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