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Adult teaching, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by scottie237, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. I recently started teaching adults at local colleges.

    This is interesting work but I am surprised by the amount of work that is required. The pay is usually £20 an hour so many might think that is a good amount, though none of these colleges give you a day's work, so it is just a few hours work here and there.

    My point is this; - For every hour I get paid, I have to do loads of additional work preparing lessons, obtaining, shaping and producing resources, filling in loads of paperwork, lesson plans,etc, and always being asked to do more and newer ones all the time, going on online training, meeting with managers, emailing staff, accepting emails from students, basic marking of their work, so for one hours pay I am doing many more hours of unpaid work.

    There are also additional costs involved, I work on my computer at home, (electricity) I have to print out stuff (ink jet cartridges £15 each), I pay for travel to these colleges, none of these things are ever paid as expenses. Then there is no real pension as you are not working enough hours over a long enough period of time, and there is no pay rise, or promotion even if you become more experienced than others.

    I think that even if you obtain a teaching qualification they only pay you 0.75p more an hour.

    So, my point is that it is not £20 an hour. It is more like lower than the minimum wage, which is illegal. I know school teachers work full time, have pay scales, full time wages, pensions, i.e. it is a proper job.

    Please someone tell me why would anyone do this? I am starting to regret the amount of time I have put into this and am totally astounded by the increasing expecations put upon me by many of the colleges which are now starting to take up huge amounts of my time.
    tinalouisegriffiths likes this.
  2. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Hi! I did it because I found it very rewarding and was in a position where I didn’t have to worry about my pay.

    If you’re not in my position, you’d be better off finding an additional part time job with a better rate of pay or leaving adult Ed altogether. I’d go back to adult Ed but unfortunately I can’t build a long term career out of it. That said, I do have some older level 3 students now which makes up for missing out on the experience to a certain extent.

    What the government has done to adult Ed is not only disgraceful but shortsighted!
  3. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I always found it hugely rewarding. More so than teenagers.
    However, I was a qualified teacher and on significantly more money.
    I used to prepare lessons at home. Which I enjoyed. To be honest I would think most teachers have to do a certain amount at home.
    I would often prepare worksheets etc at home and then photocopy at college which wasn't exactly expensive.
    I was paid to attend meetings. You should not attend if you are not being paid to do so. I was paid to do CPD.
    I think most people have to pay to travel to work. I have never really head of anyone being paid to travel to work. I was paid travel allowances if I was going to somewhere other than my regular place of work. It depends upon your contract.
    But hey ho, as with any job, if you're not happy - leave.
    ATfan likes this.
  4. ap1997

    ap1997 New commenter

    I don't know which subject you are teaching. I teach ESOL and there are often plenty of good resources I find online to use. I slightly adapt them for my classes. I make some of my own resources too. I hardly ever do printing at home. I always do it at the college and the staff know me well so they are happy to let me use the photocopying facilities.

    Why do I do this? Because I enjoy it. I love working with adults because they all have interesting life experiences that they bring into the classroom. You just don't get that wide diversity in a primary/secondary school. This brings me on to my next point, which is that they actually want to learn and be there. Whenever my adult learners finish the task, they immediately ask for an extension. Having a motivation to learn really does make a difference in how your students behave with you.

    I've recently been to interviews at secondary schools because I was considering leaving FE due to the low pay. Those interviews have now made me want to stay in FE. I've been in interviews where the students treated me with utter contempt and were completely disrespectful. When I gave them an easy starter activity to do, they whined about how they didn't want to do it and then they started insulting my appearance, saying how I look like a business person rather than a teacher. The headteacher sat by and didn't do anything, even when a student threatened to stab me.

    In a college, if that happened, I would just tell them to leave the class. My college's department is so good that they have actually excluded students for bad behaviour. They don't have to be there. They choose to be there so we don't have to put up with their bad behaviour. I've read a lot of posts by secondary teachers on the Tes forums about how they aren't supported/backed by management in regards to bad behaviour.

    Is the pay **** in FE? Oh, definitely. FE receives less government funding than schools and has experienced more cuts than schools. It's a really dire situation. The government has recently decided to get rid of the teacher training bursary for FE which is ridiculous and is going to make the shortage of teachers in FE even worse. You are under a lot of pressure from management to retain students, especially in subjects like English and Maths because those subjects get the most amount of funding from the government.

    Despite all this, I would rather take the **** pay over getting better pay in a school but having to deal with awful behaviour from students.
    ATfan likes this.
  5. deborah25

    deborah25 New commenter

    I agree with app1997. I have recently moved to FE after working in secondary schools for almost 15years. I now teach GCSE English and functional skills to 19+ and am actually enjoying teaching again! The pay is a LOT less than I was earning before as I was on ups2 and I don’t get the same holidays. But Would I go back? No definitely not at the moment! Maybe, maybe in the future if I find a good school?

    The way I look at it is, I most likely would have quit teaching if it hadn’t have been for teaching adults. After leaving my last school because of the utterly horrendous behaviour and lack of support from SLT, I ‘fell’ into this job when I started doing supply. Now I teach some lovely people, who most importantly WANT TO LEARN! What a novelty! Sometimes it’s just not about the money....

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