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Am I doing the right thing?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Flumptious, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Flumptious

    Flumptious New commenter

    I am currently a university lecturer, but my department is being closed. I have decided to do a PGCE, and I have 2 interviews in a fortnight - at both a uni, and a SCITT. (I have already had one interview at a SCITT, but they clearly disliked me, although thinking about it, since, I suspect that the fact that it was a catholic school, while I am a screaming atheist, had something to do with it!)

    I am quite used to preparing teaching, standing up in front of a class (although it will be a very different class, so I have a lot to learn, of course), and having lots of preparation, marking and/or admin etc. to do in the evening.

    When I first posted about this, back in January, the general feedback was "Yes - go for it!", but recent stuff has been much more negative. So, do you think it is sensible to go into teaching, now, or do you recommend that I run, screaming?

  2. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    Teaching is VERY different from being a University lecturer. How much experience in school have you had? Have you spent time in lessons observing classroom management and teaching and learning? Have you talked to actual teachers? if the answer is 'not a lot' or 'a little' or 'not really' then that getting into school would be a sensible next step. Find out, as far as you can, what it is really like as a teacher in school. Academia is not a particularly enjoyable place to be at the moment, but be wary of 'grass is greener' phenomenon. In academia your students are there because they want to be - so behaviour management issues are different. Academics generally have some flexibility in their working patterns that teachers in school simply don't have. Academics don't do playground or detention duty. Yes, there's a lot of different **** in academia but there's **** in every job.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Flumptious

    Flumptious New commenter

    Thanks, Mandala.
    I have done 7 days of observation, so thankfully I have seen the 'real life' side. I must admit, I didn't really see any behaviour issues, so I do worry about that part.
  4. doubledong

    doubledong New commenter

    Teaching is hell on Earth (whether you are a Catholic or atheist) in many state schools. Behaviour especially is out of control and unmanageable in many schools and you will very quickly hit what is known as the "exhaustion-recovery cycle" - constant tiredness, unable to have a life doing anything else. Be aware that salaries are very poor now, too. If you can do something else, anything, do it. If not, aim for Grammar or Independent schools or better still, teaching abroad. This is my last year in the UK. After just a handful of years, I've got a job in sunnier places starting in September and will NEVER teach in a UK state school again.
  5. Flumptious

    Flumptious New commenter

    I'm afraid I don't have to option of going off to another country, as I have a husband and kids here.
  6. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    Oh wow...doom and goom...doom and gloom... :p

    Teaching can be one of the most rewarding job in the world. I don't need to tell you this as you've obviously had lots of 'lightbulb' moments having worked as a lecturer. Yes working in Education is stressful and especially at the moment, with schools making budget cuts.

    @doubledong - Salaries have not changed in teaching. It may be harder to move up the pay scale due to budget cuts, but the base rate is actually pretty good compared to other jobs.

    Behaviour management is key wherever you end up. Fundamentally nearly all children want to do well. As long as you focus on this, you'll find that even some of the most difficult children will fall into line if they perceive themselves as doing well in your lessons (even if they aren't :p).

    Good luck!
    willcott likes this.
  7. Flumptious

    Flumptious New commenter

    Thanks, pcsmush. Do you often smush computers?
    pcsmush likes this.
  8. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Sadly for a lot of people these things you are passing off as doom and gloom are for from doommongering.

    I did reply in some detail in one of the other threads started by the OP, as have others. With teaching as it is currently there are many people that are wanting out and warning others in case they have a similar experience.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi flump

    Are you in a position to work in a school for a year as a TA? That experience would give you some time to observe what working in a secondary school is like and give you a chance to watch other teachers deal with a whole host of situations you are likely to encounter. I would strongly urge you to consider this.

    As you realise working in a school is completely different to that of a university. Managing behaviour will be a major skill you will have to learn.

    40% of newly qualified teachers leave the profession within 5 years.

    It is an exhausting job which will leave you little time for your own family and will be one of the hardest jobs you will ever undertake. If you can find something education related outside of teaching, I would say go for that. If your subject is English it is even harder because of the heavy marking and preparation work load.
  10. willcott

    willcott New commenter

    Have you considered teaching in the independent sector? I career-changed into teaching (now in the independent sector) and have never looked back.

    What others have said about spending time in schools and talking with teachers is all good advice.

    That said, if you feel that it is right for you then go for it and do not be put off by negative experiences elsewhere that you will inevitably hear (this is true in any line of work...).
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    Yes. Yes I do. :p
    That is why I'm head of Computing at my school. :p
  12. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    Describing teaching as 'Hell on Earth' is not doom and gloom? :p
    I like the word doomongering though. I'm going to use that from now on. :p
  13. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    So because you've got an ok job and are not feeling the pressure the people that are struggling and finding it 'Hell on Earth' should just keep quiet? Are you saying that I shouldn't want to warn prospective/trainee/new teachers about the pitfalls of being in a school where your face doesn't fit and the consequences of that? From my experiences where my face doesn't fit I've been left in a position that means working long term in a school is no longer viable for me as it will make me ill.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure why you've taken the "Hell on Earth" comment so personally, you're not the person that originally said it. Describing teaching using such negative terminology isn't particularly helpful. Of course you can say your point of view, but I also have a different point of view that you shouldn't automatically sneer at.

    I'm not sure how you can make the conclusion that I've got an 'ok' job. You do not know how hard I work and the stresses I'm under in my job. I try to see things from both points of view and I like to think my comments reflect this. For me at the moment the good points are worth it. Maybe this will change in 10 years time.
    drvs likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Working in a school as a teacher will require working long hours, but some teachers are able to manage their hours go a sensible level; so if you are one of those people who can do tasks quickly and still produce quality work then that is one obstacle you can see around.

    The other big issue in some schools is the behaviour and in order to cope, you have to be mentally prepared for it and have strategies for dealing with it. That is why I would suggest the OP works in a school for one year as a TA or cover supervisor to see what working with students is like. The experience will of course vary enormously between schools from schools where there is hardly any problem with behaviour to schools where the behaviour is so bad that schools can't find teachers to work there. There are several such schools in almost any county.

    It still remains that many teachers leave soon after qualifying and there are many who are affected mentally because of the pressures they work under of which some are because of the constant scrutiny and push for results.

    Teachers have far too many students to look after, but class sizes remain big with mixed ability classes and teachers having to plan for different needs; so it isn't one lesson, but several.

    The population is increasing, class sizes are growing, but provision is not keeping up and the pressure on teachers is mounting.

    As others have said,however, some teachers qualify then work abroad where conditions are sometimes better, but not always. Others work in independent schools but those can have problems too.

    It is wisdom to think carefully about training as a teacher, but I would say try to get work in a school first.
  16. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Do I need to take something personally to object to a blasé attitude? I think you'll find I don't, and wasn't.

    I'm in my 10th year, and I've spent most of that on supply and going in and out of a variety of schools. Yes there are a number of good schools out there still, but there is also a growing number of schools in which the phrase 'Hell on Earth' is quite apt. To deny that when talking to prospective teachers is to allow them to walk into danger without a heads up.
  17. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    Well you've obviously taken something personally in this thread as you've gone out of your way to hammer your points home. I thought we had strayed into banter territory when you first quoted me, but it is what it is and we had a debate instead (woooo). :D

    Who is denying that being a teacher is in some schools is very difficult? No one...lot's of assuming is going on here.
    "Hell on Earth" is what I object to, overly negative and let's be honest, there are other places in this world which I believe qualify to be described as hellish more than working in a UK school.
  18. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Replying to someone's comments is so not the same as taking something personally. And you don't get to place a value judgement on how 'bad' someone's experiences are before hey can be classed as hellish/hell on Earth.
  19. pcsmush

    pcsmush Occasional commenter

    Why can't I?
    It's the same as you generalising what it's like to work in a school.

    Besides it's a common fact, so yes I can make that judgement. :)

    I've had enough now, you seem to be just arguing against specific turn of phrases now instead of the general ideas of my posts, so I'm signing off and you can have the last word. :)
    TheGentleman likes this.
  20. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Moony likes this.

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