Thinking of Leaving Teaching?

What Else Can You Do? – Go Part-Time

I didn’t consider teaching part-time as an option when I was thinking of leaving teaching, but I know some teachers who work part-time 1, 2, 3 or 4 days a week and it seems to work for them. However, I am also aware of those who work Monday to Thursday and have Friday off… to catch up with marking! Back in 2016, TES published an article about part-time working and how one person made a three-day teaching week work for them:

According to a TES article from 2019, part-time working is on the rise for both men and women. One of the main advantages of going part-time is that it allows you to choose when and where you work for the other days in the week. For example, I know one person who loves gardening because they find it therapeutic and healthy, and they were looking at working at a Garden Centre. There were vacancies for working in their cafés or on their tills but they specifically want to work in the garden section, and so that is in the pipeline.

The main disadvantage of going part-time is trying to find other work on the non-teaching days which will bring in some income:

“Hi there, I’ve recently reduced my full time hours to 2 days per week. I was wondering if anyone knew of any other jobs I could do alongside my teaching to make up the wages without increasing my teaching hours. For example: SATs marking etc…. don’t know of any other ideas than this or how to get into it ?‍♀️?
Thanks xxxx”

From Lindsey, who posted on the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Facebook page

Some responses included GCSE exam marking in the summer and private tutoring. One response to this was 1-2-1 tutoring and, apparently, schools are advertising for 1-2-1 tutors:

“Hi also teach 2 days a week but I also do two days a week Science 1-2-1 tutoring in the same school. I get £26.50 an hour – no holiday pay.
The maximum amount of pupils I take is 4 per session- no marking, little planning and no behaviour issues. It’s currently working for me! Quite a few schools are advertising for 1-2-1 tutors.
Good luck ?”

From Susan, who posted on the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Facebook page

Others’ experiences of going part-time

Here are two comments from the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Facebook page about going part-time, both at 0.6FTE, where it worked for one but not the other:

Lisa’s Story

“I left headship and am now working as 0.6fte class teacher. So much happier! It’s amazing how you can reduce spending if you need to: we eat out far less, don’t buy expensive branded clothing anymore, drive older cars and only buy what you need rather than want. It’s all about prioritising what is right for you. We still do lots of travelling cos that’s what’s important to us. Good luck!”

Anne’s Story

“I work part time – 0.6 – and it is not working for me. This is why I am retiring this summer (among other reasons).

We have split classes at my school so although I only have 60% contact time, with the split classes I have almost as many classes as the full time staff. I have 8 classes, they have 9/10. I just have fewer lessons. But two of those classes are single A level lessons. I haven’t taught A level for years and with one class am teaching a new course I have never taught – A Level Lang/Lit – so it has involved me in many hours of prep time for just that one lesson a week. Same for the other A level Literature class where I am teaching material I have never taught before. What pushed me over the edge was being told I would be taking both classes forward next year for 4/5 lessons a fortnight, meaning mountains of prep time as I now have to get to know the whole syllabus for each.

The split timetable means I still have to mark 8 assessments every half term (the full timers do 9/10), still have to go to as many parents evenings as full time staff, still have to respond to as many emails, as many parental contacts, internal queries about students etc. And I’m finding it impossible to really get to know students who I only see 3 times in a fortnight. I still have to contribute 100% to Dept planning and moderation. Meetings are fewer, because I don’t attend them on my days off, but I don’t know whether I do 0.6 meetings as there is no record.

I have learnt that if you go part time you need to demand not just part time contact but part time everything else too. You must insist on no more than the proportionate number of actual classes. Try to avoid split classes. You should also insist that you get a proper contract, making very clear what hours you are expected to attend from the directed time budget. The NUT (now NEU) set this out in the appendices to their Guidance on Part Time Working. They show what a PT contract should look like. This way, you do get a fair proportion of all hours and you don’t get shafted, as I was, when a Head teacher decides to change the timetable so that you end up losing your half days by having an earlier lunch and making Period 4 after lunch. You should also insist that Heads of Dept allow for your PT status when allocating jobs like planning within the Department so that you only do your proportion.

None of the above was done for me so I feel like I am cramming 5 days work into three. I nearly always work at home on my days off.

Sorry for the long post, but I really think anyone applying for part time teaching should be very careful and get a clear agreement about what is entailed so that they don’t get shafted like I have been this year. Good luck to you.”

Anne also commented on the National Education Union “Part time teachers’ pay and conditions” link saying, “I prefer the NUT document below because the Appendix at the end shows how PT pay should be calculated proportionately and it shows exactly how many hours you are expected to attend for non-teaching duties. Clearly you still need to discuss with your line manager when these hours occur (eg: which Dept meetings you attend and which you can miss). Mine wasn’t done this way.”

Searching for part-time jobs

There are several large companies who believe diversity brings benefits for all; inclusive employers who encourage applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of background, circumstances, age, disability, gender identity, ethnicity, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

A section of an advert for a part-time job at HSBC
A section of an advert for a part-time job

To find these types of jobs, look at part-time jobs on Job Sites, such as those I mention in Job Hunting, searching for keywords such as “Work from home” or “part-time”.

Further Information

Boost Your Income – 60+ ways to earn extra money by Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert.

If you’re thinking of leaving teaching then the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Group might be a good place to get some ideas. It is a safe place for people to ask for help and advice, discuss topics and share opinions about jobs you can do if you leave teaching.