It seems really surreal to me even as I am typing this blog post.
Four years ago, I went in to the Principal’s office to talk about my resignation. Back then, I knew deep down that I wanted something more than just teaching.
Since then, I’ve been toying with this idea of changing jobs or working environments. The hunger to try something new is part of who I am. I embraces changes and the constant change in things energise me. It’s not that I do not enjoy teaching but the thought of staying in the same job for next 40 years puts me off.
Even though I was gung-ho enough to throw in the towel and booked an air ticket to travel right after I leave, my boss didn’t want me to leave. On hindsight, I am glad that she made me stay on because I discovered the other side of me and grew in wisdom and strength. Whether she saw the potential in me or not, I am thankful and believed that God has allowed it to happen. Maybe it’s just not the right time to leave yet.
When the time came, I knew I had to pluck up the courage to submit my resignation. I choose to believe that it’s spirit-led because the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Why I decided to call it all quits?
I’m done with 10 years of teaching.
I only quit a job twice in my life. I was working as an education consultant previously but my term of employment was so short that I sometimes would not include it as part of my work experience. Being in a same career for almost 10 years is unheard of in my generation. My peers usually switch jobs once every few years in the pursuit of career progression. Long gone were the days where people would usually hang onto that one job for a lifetime.
Teaching is a meaningful and fulfilling job but it can get mundane over the years because the education system is still very much casted in stone. Due to the success of our Singapore’s education system, it might seem that there isn’t a need to revamp much about the way we teach. Even though the syllabus change and the mode of teaching has improved, we are still stuck in a traditional classroom setting with a large class size ratio of 1 teacher is to 40 students.
While the world has evolved with the advances in technology, our education landscape has yet to be transformed. As such, when the pandemic hit our shores, we were not quite prepared for digital learning. It’s not about the tools or skillsets we lacked, rather, it’s the mindset of the teachers. Many teachers are still used to the traditional mode of face-to-face teaching.
It’s not always about the parents.
At the start of my career, I was stressed out by parents’ complaints and demands. However, I learnt to build better rapport with them over the years. Looking back, the ones who exert pressure on teachers are often not the parents but our own colleagues. Don’t get me wrong. I had great co-workers and colleagues who were friendly, kind and caring. But not every teacher makes a good leader or teammate. You can blame it on the nature of our job. In class, we call the shots and once we are out of the class, some of us could not get out of that zone.
And since most of us teachers work alone with our students in the class, we sometimes forget that we are part of a bigger team when we come together to collaborate.
I can’t change the nature of my job but I can always move.
Since I can’t positively influence the work culture the way I want it to be, I can always leave. Let’s be honest. When you quit a job, it’s always the push factors that caused you to push the ‘I quit’ button. It’s never always about the pull factors unless you’re headhunted. In my case, searching for a new career path sounds like a better idea for me. There are still dreams for me to chase and grounds to explore.
The part about teaching which made me stay for so long.
But it’s not all that gloomy being a teacher. There are days which I’m proud of my profession. It’s always the students and the impact you made in their lives which motivates you to teach and make you feel like your most tiring days in school are truly worthwhile.
It’s also a stable job; an iron rice bowl, if you would call it. You’re paid fairly and you get to enjoy the school holidays. Pandemic or no pandemic, it’s that one job which will not go eradicated.
What’s my plan for now?
Giving up that job stability is not easy. I took the huge leap of faith to quit without a job. Like any retrenched or unemployed, I am afraid of the uncertainty. I would be lying to you if I told you that I was not fearful. The toughest part is probably the wait. Despite all of this, I choose to believe that God will provide, as always.