Why An Award-winning Young Teacher Wants To Quit

Kesner Ridge, the recipient of the Guardian’s most outstanding new teacher award in 2002, is considering leaving the teaching profession due to the considerable workload and the mounting pressure of government initiatives. At only 24 years old, Ridge is contemplating resigning from Hagley RC High School in the West Midlands after just a year and a half of teaching. The primary reason for her possible departure is the significant increase in workload, leaving her with insufficient time to finish her work to an ideal standard. Ridge’s comments come after the General Teaching Council (GTC) published a survey revealing that a third of teachers are planning to leave their profession over the next five years. Ridge says that taking on management responsibilities would increase her workload, leaving her at an impasse and disillusioned. The teaching profession appears to have limited career progression opportunities for her, with middle management becoming overloaded with work. She states that there are too many government initiatives, which she likens to polyfilla; every time a problem arises, a new initiative is added, increasing the burden. Ridge loves teaching but wants to make sure that it is still satisfying in the long run, which will be challenging given the workload, performance targets, and ever-increasing government demands. According to Ridge, younger teachers want time away from the classroom to develop skills, but they require better career plans to motivate them to continue teaching. The GTC’s Chief Executive, Carol Adams, highlights that Ridge’s reasons for leaving teaching echo those revealed in the survey results. Teachers feel that an overwhelming volume of work, pupil discipline, and the excess of initiatives reduce their motivation levels. Brendan Mahoney, who worked in the City before teaching, states that although the survey shows some issues he experienced, he loves teaching and has no plans to quit. He adds that although he feels the profession is underpaid, his salary is reasonable with progression opportunities.


  • paulwallace

    Paul Wallace is a 44-year-old anthropology professor and blogger. He has been writing about anthropology and other topics for over a decade. He has also taught anthropology at the college level for over a decade.

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