Why I'm returning to my career as a teacher

'Why I'm returning to my career as a teacher'

Jamie Lethborg came to Smart Teachers Australia after deciding to leave the classroom to try something new. Helping other teachers find their next role seemed like a natural fit.

When hiring a former teacher, there is always a chance they will return to the classroom at some point. As much as we are remiss to see a great team member go, we are happy to see another experienced quality teacher return to the profession! 

We caught up with Jamie to understand his inspiration for going back to teaching. Read on for his insights on trying out a new career, and the reasons he chose to go back to teaching. 

My early years as a teacher

During my time in school, before studying to become a teacher, I always loved sport, and I had a fantastic PE teacher. When I wasn’t training, I enjoyed helping my friends with their studies as well. The combination of these things made PE teaching feel like a natural choice. 

I went on to teach 7 – 11 HPE and 7 - 8 Maths for approximately 5 and a half years. I taught in the same school for my entire teaching career. In my first few years, I was motivated and inspired to look for new ways to engage with my students. As the years passed, I could sense my motivation for the role was slipping away, and I felt increasingly exhausted. I knew it was time for a change. 

What it was like switching careers 

When I left teaching, I knew it was the right decision for me at the time. I wasn’t sure if I would return to the classroom, but it was important to me to try something different to find out if teaching was the right career choice for me. I felt like pursuing a new career path would provide some clarity as to whether the classroom would be a fond memory or something I would re-gain my passion for.

I started working as a recruitment consultant in the education sector, which required speaking with teachers and school leaders every day. Interviewing teachers each day in my new role and talking about education helped me realise I still have a lot of passion for teaching. I always felt if that motivation came back, I would make the decision to go back. 

Teaching as a career certainly has its fair share of challenges but is equally rewarding. After having the opportunity to step back and reflect, I can see clearly that it’s what I want to get back into.

What I didn’t realise about teaching before I left are the benefits of the role that are truly unique to the profession. It’s a field with variety, and the opportunity to share your passions. Educators have a sense of community and a shared purpose. Further, there is a wonderful sense of achievement and fulfilment that comes with helping young people to grow and develop. 

What to do if you’re struggling as a newly qualified teacher

Early in your career it can be easy to think the troubles you are having are because you’re not a good enough teacher. But that’s just not true. It takes time to develop the skills and experience you need to iron out those struggles, regardless of the career you’ve chosen. No matter how long you teach, you will always face challenges.

It’s important to reach out to your peers for help. Once you realise your colleagues are not there to judge you, but are a wonderful support network, it can make a huge difference in overcoming the many obstacles new teachers will inevitably face.

Why I'm ready to go back to teaching

Sometimes as a teacher, the demands of the job can feel like too much. It is a busy and complex profession. For me, stepping away for a short period of time allowed me to have new experiences and reflect on whether it is the right profession for me. I’m glad I took this time and am now able to see clearly the benefits of the job and that I am still passionate about education. 

Before taking this break, I knew that one way or another, there would be a positive outcome. Either I would find something else I loved or I would realise my place is in the classroom. Fortunately, my passion for teaching was reignited, and I’m ready to jump back in with two feet, knowing it’s the right role for me.  

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If you're looking to go back into teaching or for a different teaching role, go to our job vacancies page and apply for the role that suits you.