/ Thinking of becoming a teacher- advice?
Started to think about training to be a teacher, looks like a rewarding(if quite challenging) job, initial pay a bit crap but I like the look of the holidays for climbing trips etc.
Im have a 2:1 in business studies and am 32.
Interested in hearing from teachers out there, good bits bad bits, would you do it again etc. Interested to hear peoples take on it as a career choice.
I really enjoyed the school experience and can't wait to start teaching for real in sept.
You should ask yourself a few questions before commiting - Do I actually like children (not in the jimmy saville way that is)? Do I have the ability to enthuse children to learn? can I hack 10 months of not having a social life?
If the answer to any of those questions is 'no' then you might want to consider another career.
Congrats. That's the second hardest year of your career dealt with. Next year - the NQT year - will be the third. The worst, I'm afraid, will be the year after that when your lovely 10% timetable reduction for being an NQT disappears - I found this shockingly hard.
The good news is, it generally gets easier after that.
To the OP: if you aspire to be an even half-decent teacher, forget about going climbing all the holidays long. Yes, you can grab a few weeks in the summer and maybe some long weekends in the other holidays, but you'll be spending most of your time marking and planning, and the rest recovering from the previous term and girding yourself for the next. If you reckon on 25 days holiday which will actually be available to you and you'll actually be up to taking, you won't be far wrong.
It is great to hear someone who has worked , an hence has that experience to draw on, thinking of coming into teaching.
I remember doing Physics at O level, and the teaching of the subject was poor ( in my opinion) and whilst I passed it, I struggled to grasp some aspects.
When I did my higher I was lucky enough to get a teacher who had come to teaching from several jobs including research .
What a great teacher he was, super enthusiastic , and if you did not grasp a concept they way he was teaching it, he would just change the approach, again and again drawnng from experience rather than a syllabus book.
We all breezed the higher , and he left me with a lIfelong interest in science, even though I have not got a career in it.
So, my advice would be if you want to teach just to make a living, do the kids and youself a favour, and do something else. If you want to teach and change kids lives, go for it.
I'm not a teacher, but I have a parent and loads of mates who are, and I would say this:
Remember that as well as teaching kids, teachers are implementing government policy. So Ministers say stuff, and then civil servants draft it into policy, then it gets handed down the chain to Heads and managers, then teachers have to do whatever it says to get paid. All of this is very rarely genuinely in the interests of the kids, although it purports to be. It is in the interests of all the people in the chain, to progress their careers. And since it all comes down from politicians, whose raison d'etre is to look like they're doing something, it will never stop, it will only get worse. More initiatives, more data to collect, continual change for the sake of change.
So if you do go for it, be prepared for a staggering amount of bullshit to wade through in addition to doing what is one of the most worthwhile jobs out there, and which must be very rewarding. The main trouble for me would be that it's the bullshit that comes home with you while the kids are left at school. Some teachers (maybe some schools) are very good at managing the bullshit and it doesn't get them down. Others drown in it. Worth bearing in mind I think.
Especially Jon Stewart's post, imho; my mum and some of her teacher friends got pretty fed up with all the extra paper work towards the ends of their careers.
It does have to be your passion I think, to be able to put up with the work load and stay motivated, and to be able to inspire children too, the worst teachers I had were the ones who (looking back) seemed fed up with being a teacher.
I've been trying to convince my girlfriend to go travelling since we were teenagers but she's always said no.
She's just finished her NQT year of teaching and that seemed to do the trick, we're now going travelling for 2 years! It is HARD work, I was thinking the same thing as you but after working in a college part-time for the last year and observing the workload that my girlfriend had in her first year - no thanks.
I worked part-time whilst completing A-Levels, then did all my studying in my spare time whilst working full-time and I've never had to work as hard as a teacher does. I think I'll stick to a job that ends at 5pm!
Which makes being a bad teacher all the more tragic.
I found work life balance very hard to maintain. Often teachers are defined by being teachers. They often give too much either personally or emotionally. Knowning when to put the books/planning/whatever down I think is a key skill which shouldn't be overlooked.
Good fortune. Kev.
The best teacher I ever knew, on who won plaudits from the school, the staff, the lids and parents quit, he's now an ambulance paramedic. In a school survey Mr H was rated by the kids as the "most strict", and, funnily enough the teacher they were most likely to turn to if they were experiencing any of a range of problems.
> The best teacher I ever knew, on who won plaudits from the school, the staff, the lids and parents quit, he's now an ambulance paramedic. In a school survey Mr H was rated by the kids as the "most strict", and, funnily enough the teacher they were most likely to turn to if they were experiencing any of a range of problems.
This. Very true.
I've been a teacher for nine years and the job is becoming more difficult by the week. Gove is ruining the profession and in time will turn all state schools into private companies. I have a lot of colleagues who are leaving the profession due to stress. However, I still love the job and find it very rewarding. I'd agree with the comment above about getting about half of the 13 weeks in actual holiday time - particularly if you take on any extra responsibility.
It's all in a bit of a state of flux is teaching, presently. A lot of the freedom and a lot of the perks of teaching are disappearing, resulting in a job where you can feel a lot like you are just ticking boxes to hit measureable targets, not nurturing little people. In the wrong school, this will feel like a life sentence and you will be as miserable and as far away from climbing through the year as me.
But less of the negative! In four days I am off climbing in Europe for 6 weeks. Again. And when I get back I'll start planning my half term trip... then christmas... etc
Like others have said, if you can find something you love about teaching and can hold on to those principles (and also find all the short cuts they never tell you about), then you might just like it. I love being in the classroom and working with the kids; this usually makes up for the admin nonsense. Get some time in schools and see what you think. PM me if you're near Birmingham and you can come visit. Bit of a long post but it's the last week and I have no books to mark... Good luck whatever you decide.
PGCE was extremely hard work. NQT started a lot harder but eased up. We had Ofsted 9weeks in (First term was 15weeks) to my teaching career. Somehow managed to pull off an OS lesson. I've felt pretty isolated all year round but just got on with it. Had an interview at another local school and have been asked to head up Chem starting in Sept.
Don't let anyone tell you you can't have your holidays. I worked hard, 6am-12/1am during term time. But when the holidays came round I went to Turkey, Rodellar, Font, Costa Blanca and.... the lake district? all this year. I seem to still pull off the lessons that SLT and Ofsted want. I do get a little tired towards the end of half-terms though.
It is hard, but then most careers are aren't they? Work hard - but remember to MAKE TIME and USE THAT TIME as best as you can. Again, it's common advice for working in general though.
Have now completed part of my NQT. I'm working part-time and studying part time. I love the study. I occasionally enjoy the job. The workload is ridiculous. On a 60% contract (that's £13,000 before tax) I do a 40 hour week. Since ofsted came in and downgraded our school a couple of months ago I've been treated like a criminal for being an average teacher of RE(not good), even though I'm an NQT. The political pressure is insane. I'm overworked, underpaid and feel totally undervalued. The government lied openly about our pension schemes (which they actually use to increase revenue) and Gove is f*cking clueless. Despite all the work I've been behind on marking the whole year, haven't had enough time to put into preparing decent lessons and haven't been able to teach in the style I want to. For half the year at least, stress has been having a serious negative effect on my ability to teach well - in fact it's the main problem.
I've also had to stop running and am on meds 4 times a day to deal with the stomach problems resulting from the stress. It always recovers fine by the end of the holidays, but that doesn't last long once the next round of performance management and goal-post moving comes around. I made it 2 days into this half term before being back in pain from it.
I'm an average teacher in an average school and for that, Gove is doing everything he can to make my life hell. I'm going to get to the end of next year so I've got my NQT and then take things from there. I don't really see many other career options open since I study philosophy! Maybe teaching in a college would at least avoid some of the crowd-control stress.
I've also worked supply and still do one day a week. As a word of warning to anyone wanting to do that in Sheffield (and many other places), the majority of the work in most subjects is now being given to cover supervisors instead of teachers. This means pay of £65 instead of £120+ for a day's work. As you can guess, their favourite thing to do is to hire teachers as cover supervisors. And when you've got bills to pay, you've got no choice. The current exception is Maths which is nationally under-staffed.
We think that within the next two to three years she will have enough lessons planned and stored in the filing cabinet to reduce that to not having to work 3 or 4 hours every evening but we don't know.
She is still very happy about starting her teaching job and loves it. i've been less than impressed with the impact it has had on her and I think what is expected of teachers is unreasonable. We are already choosing not to go on holiday in any of the half/end of term holidays so she can use it to plan lessons.
We wouldn't go back and she is now more fulfilled than she has been for a while so it depends upon how much you want it.
I'm not a teacher but supported my ex through her PGCE and NQT year. I'm not going to advise you one way or the other but there seems to be a lot of moaning, misery and general grumpiness about teaching from the teachers I know, all the time. Personally, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, I just don't see the point of embarking on a career that is going to make you stressed and miserable from the outset, life's too short. But hey, don't let me put you off, for some people it is a calling and they find it the most rewarding thing they could possibly do.
My missus is a teacher, don't do it!
Unless of course you like working every single night, and most weekends. And your summer holidays. The amount of work compared to the pay is ridiculous.
-reasonably OK salary progression pretty much guaranteed each year
-clear and fair terms of employment nationally making it easy to move jobs/areas
-Set holidays that are pretty much consistent across the whole country
- a long summer holiday
A lot of teachers i speak to now feel trapped and wouldn't have become teachers if they had known the changes that were coming. It is getting harder for the 'vocation' side of teaching to outweigh all the other issues.
Some of the comments on here bear no relation to what my other half has found. She's just finished her NQT year teaching Chemistry (after having working in industry for a few years), and really enjoyed it.
If you're organised then a lot of the planning and marking can be done during the week, leaving weekends fairly free. She's putting aside one week of her summer holiday for work, leaving the other 7 weeks for holidays, seeing friends etc. Being at an independent school the pay is really quite good, she gets great support from her colleagues and the senior management and has been able to go on DofE expeditions, organise trips and attend inter-school meetings this year.
A lot depends on the school I think.
I agree. I finished a PGCE in 2012, then worked in Barnsley for a while at large secondary. It's not all bad and the workload is manageable. School choice is critical so make sure you have a financial "cushion" once you complete your PGCE so you can be choosy about where to work. Don't rush into taking a job just anywhere. Work hard on the PGCE and be the best teacher you can so that you stand out from the crowd at interview and you get the jobs that everyone wants!
It won't leave much time for climbing and I'd only advise people to do it once they've spent a couple of weeks in schools so they have at least some idea what's involved in the day to day job.
Don't do it for the long holidays or any other reason apart from really wanting to work with young people, to help them achieve their potential. If you do it for any other reason you'll never deal with all the bull.
I quit teaching in the UK recently to take a job abroad where the pay is better and the cost of living is much lower. It's still a profession that opens many doors if you want to work abroad or even in different areas of the UK.
I left teaching a couple of years ago after 16 years in the profession. I loved my job but got increasingly frustrated with the crap handed down from politicians - as mentioned above, it rarely has anything to do with the kids best interests, or even the teachers.
The jobs my still-teaching friends are in are very, very different to the job I started in way back then. We are now also taking our kids out of school to home educate as I really think the whole system is disappearing up it's own arse and I am confident we will do a far better job than our local schools, lovely as they are.
I ma a very, very happy self-employed ex-teacher. I don't regret the experience but am glad to be out of it.
Oh, and the work-life balance isn't anywhere near as good as it looks from the outside! If you do go down this route, make sure you concentrate on keeping that balance healthy. It isn't easy.
A completely different job, I'm afraid. I've worked in both sectors, and the demands made on the staff are just worlds apart.
A little light reading...
If you get the work life balance sorted then you will be fine for all your trips! I normally try to get away every holiday, if only for a few days sometimes.
I think you are one of the luckier ones. I'm certainly in that position in HE and recognise my 'lucky' timing (I'd never have made it through the current 'apprenticeship' system). I think expectations, workloads and beaurocracy are in teaching (like in nearly all but the very highest paid public sector professions) now above a position that is sustainable in volume at acceptable quality, even in the short term. Why would people sign up to something like that unless they are highly efficient and in love with their work, or as an alternative thoroughly uncaring and dishonest? It's sad and odd that almost everything the recent governments have done to control quality in public sector professions actually makes them worse.
Like many here I'd recommend the job if you really feel its your chosen vocation but would warn even then things might go wrong. If its not a certain vocation for you I would strongly advise not to try it (although things can be a lot better with teaching in some independant schools).
> Started to think about training to be a teacher, looks like a rewarding(if quite challenging) job, initial pay a bit crap but I like the look of the holidays for climbing trips etc.
Don't do it. You won't have the free time you think you might have.
Scary. The author claims to be at a bog standard school, but I cannot believe that this is really standard. Sounds like a school in a rather deprvied area to me. I absolutely admire teachers working under such conditions.
-Secure job - redundancies are happening just about everywhere
-good pension - not so good if you consider you'll have to work until your 68 (at least) in a job that suggests that working beyond 60 is not good for your future life span
-reasonably OK salary progression pretty much guaranteed each year - up in the air with Gove's latest reforms, pay progression down to individual heads, progression criteria vague and open to abuse
-clear and fair terms of employment nationally making it easy to move jobs/areas - see above, lowest bidder for a job a real worry when the latest "reforms" go through. "Why pay you for your 4 years at another school? You can start again here if you want the job"
-Set holidays that are pretty much consistent across the whole country - now a suggestion that individual heads set these. Welsh government has set a law to ensure this because local authorities couldn't agree!
- a long summer holiday - as above
Followed by - patrick_b
"She's putting aside one week of her summer holiday for work, leaving the other 7 weeks for holidays" at an independent school. Probably working 4 weeks less than a state school, but probably achieving higher(whatever that means) results. Longer holidays for all, following the independent sector is one experiment I would be happy to follow.
I think on balance my motivations are not the right ones and can now, cross teaching off my list.
Some really depressing reading, it makes me angry to think teachers are treated in some of the ways described.
> Followed by - patrick_b
> "She's putting aside one week of her summer holiday for work, leaving the other 7 weeks for holidays" at an independent school. Probably working 4 weeks less than a state school, but probably achieving higher(whatever that means) results. Longer holidays for all, following the independent sector is one experiment I would be happy to follow.
Smaller class sizes, parental support, money to support extra-curricular activities, kids who are really keen to do well and can see how relevant their learning is. I would be happy to see that in state schools.
Christ, terrifying reading! Why do we trust things like the NHS and the education system to politicos?
as is that statement.
What next then?
Given that you'd need to do a PGCE to be a teacher, why not go back to school and get qualified to do something more lucrative. Probably the funding situation is more favourable for teaching, but the banks must still be doing professional study loans?
I'd go for being a conveyancer; do f*ck all, don't answer your phone, communicate by messenger pigeon and other archaic means, don't answer your phone, charge stupid fees for doing f*ck all, take ages to do f*ck all, don't answer your phone. All safe in the knowledge that your entire profession is staffed by like-minded work-shy, phone ignoring c%$ts, so there's no chance that the customer will go elsewhere.
But then, my degree is Outdoor Leadership and Coaching, so lectures are about training people in sports such as climbing and practical sessions are us being trained/getting experience for our qualifications. It's awesome.
> What next then?
> Given that you'd need to do a PGCE to be a teacher, why not go back to school and get qualified to do something more lucrative. Probably the funding situation is more favourable for teaching, but the banks must still be doing professional study loans?
> I'd go for being a conveyancer; do f*ck all, don't answer your phone, communicate by messenger pigeon and other archaic means, don't answer your phone, charge stupid fees for doing f*ck all, take ages to do f*ck all, don't answer your phone. All safe in the knowledge that your entire profession is staffed by like-minded work-shy, phone ignoring c%$ts, so there's no chance that the customer will go elsewhere.
Not all conveyancers are workshy. Ours were very efficient and thorough. then again, it was my mother!
I exchanged contracts last week. I feel your pain. Come the revolution, last smoke, against the wall...
19 years in.
If it's for you....you'll love it. If not you'll know soon enough.
Only advice i'd give is don't teach in England.....Gove is taking education back to the dark ages. Teaching can be brilliant, if you let it.
After 15 years of it I would say that I've not found the work load as excessive as some here are. However that said it is more than it looks on paper, 'holiday time' isn't all holiday etc. I can also think of many good experiences in the job but sadly my advice would be to make sure you are very, very sure. If truth be told if I could get out easily, i.e had qualifications to get a job that would cover my costs and wotnot, then I would without hesitation.
> I think on balance my motivations are not the right ones and can now, cross teaching off my list.
Interesting; I'm a School Governor, and have a lot of contact with teacher's outside of that role as well. A lot of the views above don't always match with what I've seen.
> Interesting; I'm a School Governor, and have a lot of contact with teacher's outside of that role as well. A lot of the views above don't always match with what I've seen.
Out of interest, what kind of school are you a School Governor in?
> Out of interest, what kind of school are you a School Governor in?
Primary. And most of my external relationships are Primary too (worryingly in the more disturbed end of education).
Interesting. Some more questions. What kind of area is the school in? When was your last Ofsted? What grade did you get? Are you a parent of a child at the school? What was your motivation for joining the board?
> Interesting; I'm a School Governor, and have a lot of contact with teacher's
Presumably not English teachers?
> Presumably not English teachers?
> Interesting. Some more questions. What kind of area is the school in? When was your last Ofsted? What grade did you get? Are you a parent of a child at the school? What was your motivation for joining the board?
Parent - or I was until today. Pretty mixed area; over 50% pupil premium, about 20 different home first languages and a fair number of transient families.
Ofsted turned up 2 months ago - went from 'requires improvement' to 'good'. The school had been struggling to attract governors, and as my wife claimed I knew it all (she's a Head) I thought I'd give it a go :-)
The problem is compounded by the fact they all think they're experts because they went to school.
Jon Stewart's comment was fairly accurate. For me, the stress doesn't come from inside the classroom, and I consistently enjoy teaching itself. I have the benefit of a school with 'nice' kids and therefore that should be taken into account. This will depend on the school, but also whether you like teenagers. If you don't find them funny then this probably not the job for you - humour is essential, and finding it in most situations is a strength.
The interminable bullshit sprayed on staff by government, and then swallowed and regurgitated by management, is a serious headache, and as a new teacher, increasingly hard to work around. If you come into the profession with a clear aim (ie. English - teach kids to speak, read and write English to the best of your ability) then through a sense creative subversiveness it is possible to keep the job a satisfying and enjoyable one, but without that you are at the mercy of a management who are governed by OFSTED criteria and league tables, which gives the kind of target driven mentality and lack of foresight that has been working such wonders in the NHS. Unfortunately, with targets as the teacher's focus, it is easy to lose the human side of teaching.
An additional negative point would be the current government's focus on removing the teachings' pay and cxonditions structure. Holidays and pay are currently competitive, but they are quite possibly no longer guaranteed.
However, if you enjoy the classroom, can cut through the shite, manage the pointless paperwork, keep mid-management Himmlers sweet and manage the marking work load then it can't be worse than anything else, can it? I think finding the right school can make all the difference.
1) Don't know if Business Studies is an in demand subject so you could be looking at £9000 for your PGCE. Business Studies teachers can often be sidelined into IT which in some schools can be a nightmare with poor resources and a range of mind-numbingly dull quaslifications.
2) Holidays are good, but friends who are self-employed have more flexibility, and the option to travel in off-peak times is helpful. However, obvious downsides to being self-employed (not to be discussed here).
3) Did teacher training as a single-ish guy and although now married, do not have children. To manage that would be a serious undertaking.
I've been teaching for 8 years and I'm generally positive about it these days. In the past I'd have told you to run far away from the idea of teaching.
The good bits: Working with the kids is never dull, I rarely come in during holidays. I figure I can get most of what I need to be done by working 7:45 until 5pm (some days more, some less).
The bad bits: If you're in a school with bad management, you're screwed. If Micheal Gove keeps on breathing academic standards will decline, employment conditions will decline, morale will decline.
I think the subject you mentioned would mean you'd need a second subject to fill a timetable or it'll be harder to find a job. Business studies is a KS4/5 subject. (Years 10-13). It'll all be exam groups and coursework.
Spend some time in a school to see if you still like it!
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