Teacher tales: Jumping ship bedecked in jewels


I’d been in teaching for 10 years but the job had become less and less fulfilling for me. In truth, it became too much. So, after months, perhaps years, of fretting over what to do instead…I quit!

My name is Natalie, I’m 32 years old, and this is my story…

It seems remarkable that it’s been a decade since I completed my degree and took up a teaching post. The landscape of teaching has changed significantly. There are now too many 12 hour days, working 6 or 7 days a week and far too many sleepless nights. It had become all consuming for me (even with the precious holidays that can’t go unmentioned when discussing teaching!) and the good moments no longer outweighed the bad. The pressure to hit targets, deal with increasing demands and still find the energy to deliver exciting and meaningful lessons to our young adults, had become physically and emotionally exhausting. So I made the difficult decision to leave teaching.

Teaching is such a huge part of my identity so my decision to leave the profession was certainly not an easy one.

However, now that the deed is done, I feel liberated. Suddenly, my non-teacher persona is tentatively stepping out the shadows and I am beginning to consider the possibilities of other careers. Some people will think it foolish, particularly at my age when so many women opt to start a family, rather than start a new career! Believe me, I do worry that my choices now will impact on my family life in the future, but I also know that teaching was taking a huge toll on my health and wellbeing.

Where do the jewels come into my story?

Well, in a bid to uncover the non-teacher part of me I started my own business with Stella&Dot…a jewellery, accessories and apparel brand which offers women the opportunity to earn a flexible income selling a fabulous product. In their own words their mission is “To give every woman the means to style her own life”.

My sister in law (to be) has been a Stella&Dot stylist for 5 years and I’ve admired the flexibility it has given her to work and parent her two young sons; she also always looks fabulous! As a result of her involvement, I’ve become very familiar with the product…my fiancé didn’t have to look far for birthday and Christmas gifts ideas so I’ve amassed a number of Stella&Dot items over the years. Needless to say, I love the product. And the idea of selling lovely things to lovely, likeminded women, really appealed to me.

I now have my own sample of the current collection that I can show to other women – at events called Style Sessions. People host in their own homes…normally along with copious amounts of prosecco.

Whilst I’ve only just got started, I love the creativity involved – displaying my collection to take photos for Instagram is a joyful way to spend an hour! There’s also the increased social engagement with other women and not just customers, there is so much opportunity for fellow stylists to meet and discuss business ideas and goals.

Ultimately, it’s so refreshingly different to teaching.

It’s just jewellery and me (plus a few bags…and scarves…and recently tops too!)

I’m under no illusion that my little side venture will become my full time job (although a number of stylists choose it as a full time career), but it has given me an alternative perspective. It has, in a short time, given my non-teaching alter ego some confidence to step up to the tiller for a while and navigate the way forward. And for that, I am very grateful.

If you’d like to find out more, please visit my Stella&Dot page. If you fancy hosting a Style Session and earning some freebies – hostesses are rewarded with something sparkly, along with opportunities to earn 40% off and product credit to spend (there is a minimum spend to qualify). Or if you like the idea of being a stylist too, I’m happy to tell you more, you can email me for more information: natalieburns14@hotmail.com


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