A newly-qualified primary school teacher has filmed a video in which he reveals why he has quit the profession in tears after just one term.
Eddie Ledsham blamed the pressure of impossible hours, unrealistic targets and finishing at 6.30pm after studying and earning a degree in teaching from university.
The 22-year-old, from Wallasey, Merseyside, says he was warned by tutors that his first year in employment would be hard.
But, after graduating, he landed a job teaching a class of eight-year-olds in Wirral and claims he struggled to keep on top of his workload.
Eddie Ledsham blamed the pressure of impossible hours, unrealistic targets and finishing at 6.30pm after studying and earning a degree in teaching from university
After just three weeks he was ready to quit, only seeing out the term after a pep talk from his mother.
Mr Ledsham said: ‘Looking back, I probably rushed into it but I was worried the start of the school year would come around and I’d be left without a job.’
There was only one class in the year group, which meant that Mr Ledsham was planning every lesson himself, rather than splitting it between other teachers in the year like some schools.
Although Mr Ledsham was taught on his university course how to plan lessons, he said they were impractical for the job.
Mr Ledsham said: ‘At uni, we were told that each lesson would require a three A4 page plan.
‘But, when you consider the fact that I was planning seven lessons a day, five days a week, that is an awful lot of planning to do.’
At the time, Mr Ledsham was living with his father and getting in from school about 6.30pm at night – usually after being the last person to leave the school.
He would get up at 5.30am to do marking and then do planning in his classroom before the day started.
Rather than socialising with teachers at lunch, he found himself back in the classroom catching up on work.
Union calls for increase in pay for teachers
The National Education Union (NEU) has called repeatedly for teacher pay rises that keep up with living costs to tackle a shortage of staff in the classroom.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, has said there is a ‘deepening crisis’, with too few people going into teaching and growing numbers leaving.
She said: ‘We fully support action to address these problems but we already know that workload is the biggest single factor in teachers leaving the profession.
‘The Government must work with the profession to find solutions to the teacher supply crisis.’
Describing his isolation at the job, he said: ‘Most of the teachers at the school would only speak to me to inform me I’d done something wrong and, if I did something right, it usually went unnoticed.’
During the third week, he went to his mother’s house and cried his eyes out and said: ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’
Encouraged by his mother to stay, Mr Ledsham decided that he would try and stick it out.
He said: ‘I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
‘We were encouraged to have a work-play balance but, whenever I wasn’t doing school work, I would feel guilty.
‘Even on the train to and from work, I would feel guilty that I wasn’t doing anything work-related.’
‘If I went to watch the football with friends, I’d have to shoot off as soon as it finished because I’d have work to do.
‘The times I’d go and see my then girlfriend, I’d have to sit and do marking while she cooked or something.’
He added: ‘I felt that what was expected of us was astronomical. I love working with children but the problem with the teaching is that there are so many expectations.
‘I think we should have been given more on-the-job experience during the course of the degree, as it didn’t at all prepare me for it.’
The 22-year-old, from Wallasey, Merseyside, says he was warned by tutors that his first year in employment would be hard