About 10 years ago when I was thinking of leaving teaching this was one of my favourite excuses amongst others was I’m too old, I don’t know what I’m going to do, and my favourite excuse was I’ve got haemorrhoids. Now I know people always they think about money and it is important. One of the things I have learned since giving up teaching was that was that I always used to spend how much money I was earning. Whatever I had was never quite enough. Just going to look at one of these excuses today and I don’t want to be dismissive about your concerns but maybe after considering it maybe you think oh there might just be a case for you to be able to afford to give up teaching.
Let us just look at it in purely financial terms first start. Do you know what all your outgoings are do you have a budget? How can you be sure that you cannot afford to give up teaching if you do not know what you are spending your money on. Soon after this leaving teaching I came across a concept cold the minimum viable income MVI for short. The first step is to look at absolutely everything you are spending your money on from meals out, to gym membership’s, Netflix subscriptions, mortgage, rates, energy everything. Anyway, once you have made a list of all the things you are spending your money on you can then workout what is essential, and what is not. Look at the ways in which you can live without the nonessential items. For me, this minimum viable income is my absolute base level of take-home pay. If I know I can enough to hit my minimum viable income, then I am going to survive the next month. As I spend most of my time as a freelance outdoor leader, I know how many jobs I need to fulfil my minimum viable income for that month, after that everything else is just a bonus. So, if you’re saying to yourself I can’t afford to give up teaching make sure you know first of all how much money you actually need, you’ll be surprised by how little it is.
It is difficult to go from one profession to another without expecting a pay cut. You have built up experience and annual increases all of which make the thought of going to the bottom of the pay scale somewhere else quite scary. However, a pay cut might not be as you think. Say for example you are looking at a £10,000 reduction in your salary, boy that does seem quite scary. It is not £10,000 pounds though in take home pay because you will pay tax on that £10,000 pounds and so you will take home about £7000 pounds after tax, National Insurance, and pension contributions. I had an initial loss of £10,000 pounds in my salary, but we soon balanced the books and in sense we now live just as comfortably as we did before. I buy food from the market now rather the supermarket. We eat less processed food and more fresh fruit and veg. Not only is the food bill lower but it is actually a healthier diet.
When thinking about leaving teaching salary pension and other benefits are not the whole equation. For sure it makes sense to look at the hard figures but there are other things that are worth considering; how much is your hourly rate, how much is your free time worth, and other benefits. Let us just look at your hourly rate. Here is an example of how you might figure out your hourly pay with all your work hours:
Teaching salary: £35,971 (M6 max)
hours worked:10 hours of work per weekday
(8 hours at school and 2 hours at home) x 5 = 50 hours of work/weekend = 55 hours per week
55 hours per week x 38 weeks = 2,090 hours per year
£35,971 salary / 2,090 hours per year = £ 17per hour (rounded)
Now let’s compare that £17per hour to what you might make at a “normal” 9-to-5 job with the same salary:
9-to-5 job salary: £ 35,971
hours worked: 7 hours of work per weekday
(assuming a one-hour lunch break) x 5 = 35 hours per week
35 hours per week x 48 weeks = 1,680 hours per year
£35,971 salary / 1,680 hours per year = £21 per hour (rounded)
While it may not surprise you to discover that your hourly rate at a normal job with the same pay as teaching would be higher, doesn’t it feel good to see the cold, hard numbers? That increased hourly rate means you earn lots of extra leisure time while maintaining the same annual salary. Crunching the numbers can also help you see that, in some cases, even a lower-paid job could be worthwhile.
I know cold hard cash it’s not everybody’s things but is worth considering. There are other things though the taking the job outside teaching give you. Just look at all that free time you know would gain at the weekends, the times where you don’t have to disappear on a Sunday afternoon to start planning for the next week. The hours in the evening that you don’t have to spend marking and assessing work. What would you do with it? Maybe like to spend more time with your children taking them to clubs or sporting activities, how about just going for a walk with your partner. Just doing those normal things that you find difficult to fit into your life now. How long does it take you to decompress at the end of the summer term before you can really relax ,then how quickly did the summer holidays seem to end, then you have to start preparing for a new year and a new term .
Sot the question I can’t afford to quit teaching should really be turned round into I can’t afford to stay in teaching. If you’re thinking of leaving teaching are you looking for help get in touch with me as I offer coaching especially for teachers were thinking of quitting their profession. It could be the first step you take on the road to getting your life back.