July 26, 2022 0 Comments

Having given up my teaching job in a secondary grammar school in January, I’m really starting to miss the classroom. I left the job for personal reasons and in no way due to my feelings towards the profession, I loved it! It could be stressful, full-on and exhausting but the pros of this career definitely outweigh the cons. The things I miss the most range from the obvious (the kids, the holidays) to the frankly mundane (I miss using nice stationery and having a routine!). So, six months away from the job has been plenty of time to reflect and decide on what are the five things I miss the most! 



The Holidays

OK… This was almost too obvious to write about but I realised that missing the school holidays isn’t just a case of enjoying time off work.

The holidays were such a welcome break for us teachers, TAs, everybody in the school but none more so than for the students. In the “exam factory” that is our education system, the holidays were so very needed by everyone to just breathe out and get some sense of perspective back again! For me, of course the holidays were a time to relax and switch off, but they also meant that I had time to think, reflect, set new goals, plan for the year ahead and best of all, buy loads of stationery! I used to really look forward to starting the new term with a fresh mindset and tidy desk!

Another thing I miss is the build up and anticipation before the summer and Christmas breaks, as it created such a warm and wonderful atmosphere around the whole school.

Now that this year’s summer holiday is about to start, I’ve realised that I’ve really missed being in school at this time of year. 



The Kids

Another obvious one here but sometimes you don’t realise when you’re in the midst of something just how great it is! You can always count on kids to make you laugh, feel proud, despair, cry happy or sad tears!

I taught ages 11 to 18 so they were old enough to be sparky, sarcastic, to understand my sense of humour, defend their opinions and articulate all sorts of weird and wacky ideas!

Teenagers get a lot of bad press but having worked with them for over a decade, I can safely say they are (mostly) a wonderful section of society to work with! I’ll never forget how my sixth formers reacted when I told them I was pregnant. They were wonderful! One boy spent five whole months offering to push me round the school on my wheelie chair. Yes, sometimes I accepted!

The rapport you can build with some students is incredible. Sometimes that spark isn’t there, admittedly, but other times, the mutual respect created over time leads to being able to teach in a way that doesn’t even feel like work. I was lucky enough to teach a sixth form class of four, and at the start of each lesson I’d send one of them to the canteen to get us all a coffee and we’d have a quick “is everything OK with you guys?” before starting the lesson. Looking back, I think fondly of these moments which completely override any negatives.
There are, of course, students you get along with and those you don’t. There are supportive families and less supportive ones (“I’ve told my son not to bother in your lessons because it’s not a useful subject!”). And there are students you enjoy having in your classroom and those you don’t. We had the “cupboard kids”, so called because you could lock them in a cupboard for the year and they’d still come out with top grades- a little boring perhaps but a dream to have in your class! Then there were the “always there” kids who would linger after the lesson to chat or pop up at break time inevitably with a very easy to solve issue that took the whole of break for them to explain, the sporty ones who always missed lessons for games, the keenos, that chatty ones, the troublemakers.

But my favourites (yes, we all have favourites and anyone who says they don’t is LYING!) were the “triers”, the ones who so desperately wanted to please and do well but none of it came naturally and they just struggled with it all. They were the ones who would have the lightbulb moments, whose parents would thank you at parents evenings (I don’t miss parents evenings!) and who would look at their grades at the end of term- which may well be the lowest in the class- with pride, knowing that they worked their socks off to get them, and each exam question they got right was something that you as a teacher had somehow managed to get them to understand and retain.

So to summarise, kids are wonderful, haha!



A simple one. After four years doing a degree, I wanted to go into a job where I could use the skills and knowledge I gained and know that I hadn’t wasted that time and money at university.

Every lesson planned, whether year seven or thirteen was a chance to share my knowledge with others but also to learn from them. The questions that teenagers come up with are often far deeper than you’d expect and several times I’d answer with “I don’t actually know but let’s look it up together” and I loved those moments!

The other thing about teaching is that you are bombarded with CPD and training opportunities. It’s not just your knowledge of a particular subject that grows, but your pedagogical knowledge, understanding of children’s lives and the society we live in, using technology, so many things to build on year in year out.


Creativity &

This is a big one for me. I am a creature of habit and I need routines to follow, and I had that as a teacher.

But now that I am at home all of the time, I’ve realised how much I also thrived on going into work and each day being totally different from the last. You can have the same group of students in front of you but the time of day, the mood of one of the characters in the class, the weather, so many different factors can affect the atmosphere, the success of the lesson, and ultimately the feelings and behaviour of everyone in the room, including staff! You end up learning how to structure a lesson based on other factors, such as not expecting to get anything too energetic out of the students first thing on a Monday, but planning lots of hands-on tasks for Friday afternoon.

Planning lessons was something that felt like such an arduous task in the early days of teaching yet later it became something I really enjoyed as I had worked out what sort of teacher I was and how I wanted my classroom to be, and I could be as creative as I wanted to in delivering lessons in my own style. As my experience grew so did my confidence in being more creative and testing things out.

As an NQT you dread trying something new in case it doesn’t go to plan, yet you end up looking forward to trying something new and if it doesn’t work out, you adapt things and have the confidence to try again!


The thing I miss the most is . . .
The Staffroom!

Oh my goodness, I could not have survived without the laughter, lightheartedness and ‘banter’ (I hate that word!) that can only be found in the school staffroom at lunch time!

I think that teaching, although wonderful, is such a trying and testing job that when you do get those moments of down time during the school day, those moments having a laugh with colleagues are so important! It isn’t the same as speaking to friends or family outside the profession, even if they are teachers in other schools. The only people who really understand what’s going on, who care when you’re venting and who can properly sympathise / share your joy / find the same things funny are the people in your school’s staffroom. I was lucky enough to teach in the same school for eleven years and for most of those years I sat in the same seat in the staffroom, surrounded by the same 5 or 6 people every single lunchtime and on many, many occasions we were the ones who gave each other the morale boosts we needed, celebrated each other’s successes, who supported each other during difficult times, who helped each other when we were stuck for ideas on how to get little Norman to engage in lessons…

If you are a teacher and don’t use your staffroom, my advice is to do it, just go and sit in there one day and chat to someone you don’t normally chat to, especially if that’s someone from another department who may see things differently or experience a different side to some of the students. I have never met up with these people, my staffroom buddies, outside of school yet they were central to my enjoyment and love of the job for all of those years! The comic relief they brought when I had a stressful day, the camaraderie, the donuts, it was everything. They became true friends and I miss them dearly!

Post by Beth