/ Any Primary school teachers on here?

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wushu - on 23 Jan 2013
I'm looking at going into teaching and specifically into Primary teaching. I was wondering if anyone can offer an insight into what it's like?

What's the work load like?

Approximate hours per week? (I know this can vary quite a bit)

If you're a male teacher, how is it working in this field as a male? I hear there is a big push at the moment to get more male teachers?

Also, did you train as a primary teacher or do a Primary PGCE? If you did the PGCE was it difficult switching to cover so many subjects?

Any help is much appreciated!
David Kay - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu: As part of my Secondary PGCE I've just been into a primary school for a few days to see what goes on. I really enjoyed it, almost makes me want to change to a primary PGCE! I think that the only way to see what it's really like is to go in and try it out. Most PGCE courses ask for a couple of weeks work experience, so maybe see if you can go in to a school for a few days to see what it's all about.

David
sargy - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

I'm a primary teacher. I did a degree in Outdoor Ed then a PGDE in Primary at Edinburgh Uni. I've been teaching for a couple of years now. I'll be honest- the work load is hard. I'm in at school for around 8am, and often won't leave till way after 5pm, where I'll take work home for the evenings and weekends. I'll spend some of my holidays planning and prepping too. To be honest, I love it, and I love spending time with my class.
There are subjects I'm stronger at than others, and there are some areas where I have to learn as I go along, but you can do that with your class, and it's fun.
As for males in teaching- yes- there may be annecdotal evidence to suggest that males have an easier time securing interviews for PGCE and job posts, but the spaces and openings seem to be shrinking. Depending on where you want to teach you may also struggle to find work. I have friends in Aberdeen for example who say that there are loads of posts available. Here in Cumbria (and when I lived in Edinburgh) things are pretty woeful!
cha1n on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

Don't do it!!! My girlfriend is doing her NQT year at the moment and finding it very hard work.

She get's into school for 8, gets home around 5:30, works most of the night and by the time she's eaten she's getting ready for bed. She also spends at least one weekend day doing work aswell.

To be fair I think it sort of depends on the school, she's in a school that are in trouble with ofsted so there's lots more pressure on for the kids to achieve.

With regards to the demand for men, I'm not so sure. I think it depends on the head of the school, many of them will just take on the best teacher rather than taking on a man for balance. My girlfriend was up at least one man for her current job. Also, she really struggled to get a job because there are so many teachers out of work. Many of her friends from Uni are still trying to find jobs.

Sorry to have so much negative info!
Steph-in-the-West on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
From a cynic with 27 yrs teaching experience that ended with a nervous breakdown in 2007 after a year of bullying by a megalomaniac headteacher in a 2 class primary and being completely p***ed off by it being seen as quite acceptable for classroom assistants with NO teaching qualifications teaching whole classes - lessons that you have to prepare for them and then mark - just to save money....
Working hours - forget the contractual 1265 because you'll have done all those by Feb half term and then you'll find out that you were supposed to do them anyway and the 1265 only covers the things that teachers aren't s'posed to do like collect dinner money etc.
Working hours - 8am til 6.30 pm in school then work taken home to complete somewhere between dinner and bed. Several Saturdays through the year, - not to mention a week's school camp where only your waking hours count towards the 1265, plus evening parent meetings (you ever tried to see your solicitor or bank manager of an evening???)Work/life balance - ha!
Several children with special ed needs in your class but no teaching assistant for them because the special ed budget has been cut and Statements are as rare as hen's teeth. Then of course there's the non-existent budget so teaching with no money for resources, so staying up till silly o'clock making your own...
Hours spent preparing lessons that you then teach to only half the class because Hitler in the Head's Office has decided it's far more important to take the year 6's to be interviewed for the latest daft award she wants the school to get just for her own kudos....
Before the rest of you come charging in bleating about long school holidays - a fair bit of which are spent preparing for the next term - if the hours that teachers spend doing school work were evened out over the whole year, you'd find that we work the same-ish number of hours as the average office worker. And while we're on the subject of popular misconceptions - teacher training days. Teachers used to have to teach 190 days/year. Baker then decided teacher training days would be a good idea - quite possibly - so then took 5 days off the school holidays and called them teacher training days - so an increase in the working year of 5 days -but guess what - no pay increase; so yes, teacher taining days are done in their own time and can be put anywhere in the school year..... Chip on my shoulder - you betcha - because of seeing a gradual decline in the resources being put in to the education of our young people and being powerless to stop it.
So, if you're a climber and value your weekends climbing - teaching just isn't the job for you, because while your friends are all out on the crags, you'll be home doing school work wishing you'd chosen a 9-5 leave your work at work job.
And before the rest of you jump in asking why I stayed for 27 years....I enjoyed working with the children and I was good at it.....
Luke90 on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
I'm a secondary teacher so I have no direct experience of primary teaching. From indirect experience, all of my friends who are teachers work incredibly hard but none more so than the primary school teachers. The planning and marking workloads are huge, particularly in the first few years. It varies from school to school but I think you have to be a "live to work" kind of person rather than "work to live".
sarahjk - on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

I taught in an Elementary school in Texas, came back to UK and found my USA teaching qualification isnt valid here. Had planned to convert but found no route available other than doing another degree [I am single parent to two bright teens, so not an option, its their turn] so now working as a TA in a special school for Autistic kids. And you know what ? I am SO glad I am not teaching ! the work load, the extra responsibilities, the pressures from above and all the other crap is dragging good teachers down. Unless they dont plan on having a life outside of school. Working as a TA I get to have all the fun and time with the kids, massively guide and influence their learning and experiences, follow my own areas of interest [Forest Schools] and avoid a ton of paperwork. Sure the money sucks, but I finish at 4 and that is it. Priceless. Oh and good luck.
Father Noel Furlong on 23 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

Sotland or England, very different conditions of service?

I'm not Primary trained but can tell you Primary Teachers put in long hours. That said most teachers I know love the job, it's unbelievably rewarding. As a male you'll have strong career prospects. As for PG or not, in my experience most Primary Teachers do the full degree and Secondary drift into it after going to Uni to do a 'normal' degree.

You'll negative stories from all jobs - bullying, stress etc. So ignore these, if teaching is for you you'll soon know.

Benefits - the holidays, you can get a job anywhere in the world (I spent a year teaching in Australia) and the kids, if you're good they'll love you and the salary ain't that bad.
wushu - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to all:

Thank you for the info! It's good to hear different sides of it. I currently work in a high school in a support position but find Primary School teaching more of what I'm looking for.



In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

I'd be looking at places in England or Northern Wales.
Simon Wells - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

Work in FE instead (Further Education) you get a third less money than primary and secondary education, same work load and a lovely client base that actually demand you do the work for them! No lie, you might get a moody 17/18 year old stood in the office and demanded I complete his work, then you might hear him saying to anther student that was what I was paid for!

Errrr actually just realised the work load could be more, I have spent the last two weeks delivering 9 to 5 then do prep and planning in the evening as I am given no time in my program, the joys of teaching for 37 odd hours. Living the dream!!!!

JimmyKay - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

What poor advice. Essentially you're saying don't do it because you have to work hard?

Ofsted put a lot of pressure on most schools whether they are doing well or not.

The people who are benefiting most from all the work are the kids at the end of the day.
Tom V - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

Why on earth should a prospective teacher "ignore" experienced teachers' comments about bullying and stress?
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Tom V:

Because bullying and stress happens everywhere you go, it's a hazard of work not exclusive to teaching and therefore shouldn't be a deciding factor.
Simon Wells - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to JimmyKay:

I have no idea about the affect on OFSTED on primary and junior. In my experience ofsted in FE means data manipulation, hitting ofsted goals, rather than focusing on quality teaching. I work with some brilliant young people, I also work with those who could be brilliant but have lost of sense of ability due to OFSTED focused goals that deny the young person the right to learn from the consequences of their actions, no one fails, every one succeeds, ALL are above average but no one learns anything.

I have heard of courses where 60% of students get the equivalent of 3 A's at A level, year in year out, how is that possible? I have heard of places that are given 'outstanding' by ofsted, yet people do not turn up for 70% of lesson and they still pass with above 'average grades'.

Makes me weep, we have some brilliant teachers and educators, awesome students and pupils yet the sycophantic, data manipulating, every thing passes mob are literally damaging our young people.

I enjoy hard work, but its not hard work when you know the mark you give will be changed, the drug dealer student will let back in with slapped little finger and the non attender marked present. Thats heart breaking.

When I am observed I am normally graded as 'outstanding', even when I forget I am to be observed or it is a surprise. So no problems with people checking I earn my money. In other places I see students sitting on desks, eating and turn up 15 minutes late. Even heard one 'lecturer' explain to a parent they never started on time because they would rather teach them topped up on food and nicotine tha on time????
Tom V - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
"everywhere you go"?
You seem to know an awful lot.
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)

> You seem to know an awful lot.

Of course I do, I'm a teacher.

In reply to Father Noel Furlong: Right you two, break it up!
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to Father Noel Furlong)
> "everywhere you go"?

PS It's not as if you have to look very far.......

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=535448


Tom V - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

Keep up the good work, is all I can say. I wish I had retained some of your fortitude.
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:

It was him (finger pointing to right with innocent look on face)...
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Tom V:

Now you've made me feel guilty....technically not a teacher anymore but still in Education management. This morning's exclusion meeting was interesting. I was told to F*ck off by a parent who then stormed out the room! If only I'd gone into the oil industry.....
In reply to Father Noel Furlong: He-he!
Kipper - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
> I'm looking at going into teaching and specifically into Primary teaching. I was wondering if anyone can offer an insight into what it's like?
>

The pay doesn't look too bad.
nmoysey - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
Hey I'm a primary teacher in year 4 and work in the north lancs area.
A heads up before you start jobs around Cumbria and north lancs are very hard to come by out of our pgce cohort 21 finished and had a job!
Your work/life balance is important and all comes down to the quality of the head teacher you work under. I'm one of the lucky ones and work under a really good head.
Work load is massive you won't understand until you are in the 2nd year at a school.
how you as a person get on in teaching is down to your time management and putting aside time in a week to do stuff ( I've been on red screes at 9:00 at night looking for ice to climb after work) so it is still possible to have a social/ climbing life, but you have be very organised at work.

Hope this helps. Yes it can be hard work, but if your organised you can still get out and have fun.
mattsccm - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to nmoysey:
Been primary teaching since 94 but quit to do supply or short term stuff in 2000. Why . All the bloody paperwork and stress planted by those who run the system but don't do the job. All the reineventing the wheel. It can be fun but you will not believe the work until you do it and to be honest its gets worse not better.
Re BEd or PGCE. I did the latter and to be honest it matters little either . 99% of what you teach is the same that any reasonably educated adult should be able to do. You'll find detail things you don't know like where to put the ! in speech but nowt special. To be honest most of your main degree would be wasted at primary level but at least you could take that to a secondary school.
Dunno how courses run nowadays but in my day I did 32 weeks in school in my PGCE year, nearly as mcuh as my missus did in here 4 year BEd
andi turner - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu: Do it. If you get the right job you will never look back.
cha1n on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to JimmyKay:

At the end of the day, it is what it is. The guy asked for info on workload and he's got some honest answers *from people with first/second hand experience*.

When my girlfriend started training in primary I thought she was going to have it pretty easy. I was thinking she'd be home by 6pm, occasionally have the odd bit of marking to do, lots of time off for holidays, etc. The reality is if you're going into the job thinking that's the case then you're going to have a big (unpleasant) surprise!

Also, if you think that all of the work put forward by ofsted is benefiting the kids then you obviously haven't seen some of the forms the teachers have to fill in! My GF has had to sack off really fun, creative lessons because all that the school care about at the moment is English/Math/Science levels, so it's just test after test and that's at year 4. It's outrageous!

If you can find a school with the right head, but more importantly in an area where the *parents* are actually helping at home (my gf's school is from a very poor demographic) then it can probably be quite an enjoyable job.
Sherlock - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
I work as a cleaner in a primary in the Highlands,around 180 kids.Many of the teachers are still working when I finish at 7pm.
Forget cheap flights and holiday bargains.Prices are always highest during school (your)holidays.
I get more holidays than the teachers with their In-service days etc.
I also worked out that in some cases I earn more than teachers per hour.Hard to believe but true.
Agree that quality head teacher makes a huge difference.
HTH.
LP - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Sherlock: I think all viewpoints have been covered! I'll chip in anyway. I went into primary to be able to play with lego, 'manage' a football team, make things with clay and glue stuff together with too much pritt-stick... oh and six week summer holidays (upon which a price cannot be placed!)

Reality - the school I am now in is all business - no drawing pretty pictures and writing about what we did on the weekend! My hours have been 7-5.30 and weekends and evenings. I've had to work hard to keep the job about the kids and not about the data and standards etc. The pressure is unrelenting, especially if your school is not one of Gove's "Outstanding" gang. Coupled with this are the changes to the benefits - pension cuts, performance-related pay, pay controlled by heads and a new, drier curriculum... not so rosy sometimes.

But.. having a class of young minds to inspire, coming up with new ways to present ideas and being your own boss, to a certain extent, are perks better than a lot of jobs can offer. Also the holidays are awesome and there are ways to combat the drudgery of it all(buy a camper van - I can leave Birmingham on a Friday night and wake up in North Wales - planning can get done of an evening after climbing).

I'm lucky as I work in a school with 8 other blokes. During my GTP however, I was the only bloke - us blokes, generally, have a different approach and this caused me trouble at times!!

This is my longest message ever when really I think my only real point would be to pick your school well! Go and visit as many as you can and ask lots of questions to suss out the place, to make sure you share its ethos. Don't do what I did and take a job because it was offered (as easy as that is to do).
If you find yourself working in a school whose practice you agree with, you shouldn't find it as miserable as most teachers make it sound...

There is my ha'pennies worth.
LP - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to LP: Actually, I've just seen the 90 books in my hallway that need marking... DON'T DO IT!
Dave Kerr - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:
> > What's the work load like?
>
> Approximate hours per week? (I know this can vary quite a bit)
>
>

Teaching will swallow as many of your hours as you let it.
Jim C - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Tom V)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Of course I do, I'm a teacher.

That was a very good reply , I laughed out loud .
Edradour - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu:

I have no experience of teaching but I would just like to weigh in with the opinion that most 'careers' rather than jobs will preclude you from climbing etc during the week.

If you want to earn semi decent money and pursue a career that isn't directly related to the outdoors then you're gonna have to fit your hobbies in around your job in your 20s and 30s, generally speaking.

I would argue that teachers, accepting the fact that they work hard, have it much better than many others in that they have many more weeks of holiday to play with.

My sister in law is a primary teacher and she works very hard but she has also just had three weeks clear off for christmas.
MJ - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to LP:

My hours have been 7-5.30

Pretty keen of you, but I didn't realise Schools opened so early.
Tom V - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim C:
But it wasn't true...
LP - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to MJ: There's no keeness involved!! I have just noted that several of my colleagues have "disappeared" for not ticking all the boxes. The kids aren't in at that time but the work is there and waiting and The Man is always watching us...
wushu - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to all:

Thanks again for the replies.

With regards to the curriculum these days has it changed to such an extent that grades are far more important to a school than the development of the children?
LP - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to wushu: Generally, in schools where childrens levels fall below that of the National Average, the curriculum will often be quite restricted in order to ensure that progress is shown in key areas.
In my school we are pretty much all about Literacy and Maths I struggle to develop their other interests and them as independent people in the time I get with them.

The trouble is all schools are compared on the same scale so, your more affluent children, with tutors/parents that care, are compared with inner-city schools where parents don;t care, English isn;t a first language, kids roam the streets mugging grannies instead of learning their timestables etc. Schools then have to tick boxes to stay above water. All big generalisations but pretty much how it is.

Higher attaining schools can afford to make their own decisions as to how their curriculum looks. Schools struggling have to toe the line more and again tick those Ofsted boxes more explicitly.

Grades are it at the end of the day but it depends how the school, and more importantly you, get there.

... I worry... I seem to have more to dribble on about teaching than climbing... I may have just become a "teacher" (sharp intake of breath). I need to get out more...
Fraser on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Tom V)
>
> Because bullying and stress happens everywhere you go, it's a hazard of work not exclusive to teaching and therefore shouldn't be a deciding factor.

What a load of rubbish!

John W - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to MJ:
> (In reply to LP)
>
> My hours have been 7-5.30
>
> Pretty keen of you, but I didn't realise Schools opened so early.

Can't decide whether you're being serious or taking the piss here, but our place opens at 6am - and yes, there are teachers there at that time.

In reply to John W: Why? Genuine question.
Steph-in-the-West on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Tom V)
>
> Because bullying and stress happens everywhere you go,

What a sweeping statement. No it doesn't happen everywhere. There is none whatsoever in the company I work for. We have a fantastic team of people,(about 800 of us) line management is second to none. I love my job and am fully supported in everything I do. If I mess up, I'm told so gently and how to put it ight. If I get it right I'm told that too....
Father Noel Furlong on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:

And are you responding on behalf of all 800? That's a somewhat sweeping statement if you're not, would you not agree?
marmot hunter - on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Edradour:
> (In reply to wushu)
>
> I have no experience of teaching but I would just like to weigh in with the opinion that most 'careers' rather than jobs will preclude you from climbing etc during the week.
>
> If you want to earn semi decent money and pursue a career that isn't directly related to the outdoors then you're gonna have to fit your hobbies in around your job in your 20s and 30s, generally speaking.
>
> I would argue that teachers, accepting the fact that they work hard, have it much better than many others in that they have many more weeks of holiday to play with.
>
> My sister in law is a primary teacher and she works very hard but she has also just had three weeks clear off for christmas.


Can't work in the state sector then we get two weeks. Always have done, probably always will do.
Steph-in-the-West on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to Steph-in-the-West)
>
> And are you responding on behalf of all 800? That's a somewhat sweeping statement if you're not, would you not agree?

Oops - finger slipped and didn't proof read - should read "about 80 of us." We all know each other and there are regular staff questionnaires which can be anonymous or not and the results are sent to everyone. I've never heard anyone say they don't like the company/staff/smt etc
Father Noel Furlong on 28 Jan 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:

Fine then but I'd suggest you read the whole thread. The OP asked for advice as to career choice, I responded by stating they should ignore claims of bullying etc as that can happen anywhere. I'm quite sure there are lots of companies like yours where people are bullied or stressed, just as there will be plenty where it doesn't.
Roberttaylor - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to wushu: Australian mining industry is what I would do if I were currently looking for a career change. Amazing money, time on time off, hard work but well rewarded. Also lots of potential for someone intelligent and hard working to get promoted fast.

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