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Am I having a confidence crisis or just being realistic?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by CurrantBunn, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Thanks for the responses. The more I think about it, the more I feel I'm not suited to the job, even part time. In order to be able to handle it I need a lot of down time and rest, and these are two things you don't get much of during the term. Without this I become exhausted, weary, teary etc. and I'm not much use to anyone like that!
    I also feel I have to force myself to be/pretend to be a super confident and resilient person to teach, and that's just not me. I like interacting with children and adults but perhaps not as much as is required of the class teacher as I'm quite a quiet, gentle natured and pensive character at heart, not a big full-of-life and full-of-beans type. I thought my quiet, caring nature would be welcomed by schools as a lot of children have difficult home lives and need an understanding teacher, but like I said before maybe I should go into 1-1 work in some capacity as then I wouldn't have to do all the loud croud control super confident and energetic teacher type stuff!
    If I didn't have to do an NQT year in order to work as a teacher in schools I'd apply straight to EAL/ reading recovery type jobs. But since I can't do those without my NQT year done it looks like I need to look for work outside of schools?
  2. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Hi CurrantBunn,
    You sound just like me 30 years ago! I bet you are determind too?
    I forced myself through my 2 year probationary (NQT) period and then stopped teaching to have my babies. I fully intended NOT to return to teaching and tutored privately for about 7 years. Then, gradually, I gained confidence from having a settled life, ridding myself of what made me most unhappy, chose friends carefully, got some self-respect and now I'm in a job (in a small school) where I hope to see out what's left of my teaching career.
    With experience I now see the all-singing/all-dancing lot as being a lot of wind! YOU are responsible for making YOU happy and that's not being selfish. Never mind the full-of-life crew - they will have had more off-days than we've had hot dinners, they just put up a front, and if their classroom control is good, then they have found what works for them. Quiet kids appreciate our calmer personalities and will benefit from this. Please take time to consider your good points CB, spray a hanky with your favourite perfume/fragrance and inhale deeply when stressed!
    You sound a caring person and with time, your pupils will discover that for themselves. Prepare your lessons well and things will fall into place. Keep in touch about how things work out.
  3. You sound like the kind of person I'd much rather work with!
    Have you considered HLTA or TA work instead? You wont have the level of pressure outside school hours or quite so much of your time taken up, but (in the case of an HLTA anyway) you would be doing much the same day to day stuff.
  4. Thanks for the kind replies. I felt pretty out of place on my course as most of the students seemed very happy go lucky and carefree (a bit younger than me) and super confident about everything which I found really alien. I was a lot more carefree when I was doing my first degree but a few years of learning to deal with depression combined with working in pretty depressing jobs sobered me up! I felt very positive about doing the course, but found two of my placement schools cold, hard and unforgiving places. They seemed like such contradictions as they contrasted starkly with their function - to provide a happy and safe learning environment for children. How the children can get a good education if staff are made to feel terrible about themselves I don't know...
    Anyway, I guess I could do my NQT year part time IF I found a nice supportive school. I do feel sad about not working with children any more and always wanted to get my own room to decorate and make fab and be a really good teacher (idealistic I know, but true). I think I would have been better suited to old school, pre-national curriculum teaching when everything seemed much cosier with lots of time for art and singing and stories and less time for app and targets and meetings and endless paperwork and stress!
    Maybe I'd be better running an after school art club or something! I used to work as a TA before training to teach. I just felt frustrated with it like it wasn't challenging enough and hated all the carer type stuff like cutting up gravy dinners and spending half the day outside in the playground. I applied for a HLTA role this year but didn't get it. It might be more my thing, but I wouldn't like to have to cover lots of different classes at short notice especially for the upper primary classes, being treated like a supply teacher and having to deal with really bad behaviour.
    Just not sure if my issues with the job mean its worth me persuing it as a career anymore. It's the kind of thing to which you have to be really committed. I have been committed and so determined for the past two years, and worked extremely hard, giving up a lot of my social life and hobbies to concentrate on teaching. I need to get those things back to feel good about myself but don't see how I can teach properly and manage that huge workload whilst having a life and maintain my health. Plus I'm also worried I'd just be rubbish at it and the school would regret employing me if I did get a job....Sorry about all the dilemmas, thanks for the suggestions and advice! :)

  5. Firstly Currantbun, I thing you are being very honest about your feelings and your lack of confidence and I applaud you for it. If you are not naturally a confident person it IS a hard job. If you take things personally it can also be very hard if you ens up in a difficult school with very critical and unsupportive management. This could destroy the remains of your confidence and self-esteem (You only need to read the many threads on this issue for proof!)
    Just a couple of thoughts:
    I applied for a HLTA role this year but didn't get it. It might be more my thing, but I wouldn't like to have to cover lots of different classes at short notice especially for the upper primary classes, being treated like a supply teacher and having to deal with really bad behaviour.
    For what its worth - keep applying! If you can teach a class of your own, you can cover others, and its not like being a supply teacher because you are in school all the time and the children know you, and you know them. As for older classes, I can honestly say Its not as scary as you think! I moved into older classes with no previous experience (I had a lot of teaching experience with young children) and actually found I preferred it in the end! The behaviour will obviously depend on the schools, and if you can afford to be picky only go for 'nice' schools (apologies for such an un-pc BLOCKED EXPRESSION
    Plus I'm also worried I'd just be rubbish at it and the school would regret employing me if I did get a job.
    All good teachers worry about that unless they are supremely confident (read: arrogant!)
    However, if you really do lack the confidence, I think taking on a job where criticism can be embedded in the ethos of the profession, whether it be by teachers or managers, may be too damaging for your self esteem in the long run :(
    Good luck with whatever choice you make, though x

  6. Whats all that about? I only said 'word' !!!!!!!
  7. Sorry dont know what was blocked out, I only said 'word' !!
  8. Haha flowerpot your reaction to the 'blocked word' thing was funny! I wondered what the blocked word was lol, it is so random that they blocked it! Don't worry about it I'm sure it's just an admin error!
    Thanks for your advice and views on my situation. I agree with what you're saying about criticism being a bit part of the job. At the moment I'm about 85% sure I don't want to teach in schools. Not at the moment anyway. I just keep replaying all the 'teaching's not for everyone' and other negative comments teachers said to me on one of my teaching practices. They were totally unsupportive and couldn't be bothered to help me improve, but to be fair to them I know I struggle with certain aspects of it and am not a 'natural. I challenged those comments and kept going until I passed, but I can't ignore the fact that I still struggle with aspects of it and don't feel very good at it, plus the anxiety of constantly having to perform, have tonnes of energy etc. causes me.
    On the other hand I know I'm not completely hopeless at it though either, as I did retake that practice in a different school and pass, had a good rapport with the class, plus my three different uni mentors all seemed to think I had the makings of a good teacher. Not sure who to believe at the moment but maybe some time out from it all will help me decide. Maybe I could do something else for a while and return to teaching in 5 - 10 years if I decide I'm ready to do it again, since I have QTS? I remember reading they'd scrapped the 'you must start induction within five years of qualifying' rule which means it's not now or never is it?
    I'm looking into other areas now such as adult education, steiner education, library work etc. The thought of doing these right now makes me feel happier than school teaching so I should probably follow that gut instinct.
  9. For what it's worth, I think you're doing the right thing :)

    Hope it all works out for you - I'm looking for work outside of teaching too, so if you see anything good, let me know! ;)
  10. Hi, for what it's worth, as someone who only went into teaching as a lone parent in my late thirties (had children in my early 20's so wasn't combining this with childcare pressure), I firmly believe that teaching these days is far better suited as a later life second or even third career, rather than an early first career when you have so much more to do with your life. I certainly discouraged my daughters to go into teaching-although when
    they saw how much work I put into my job, they hadn't even considered it.
    The only exception is if you are very ambitious and want to climb the education career ladder-older teachers are often passed by for promotion as their (often younger) management and colleagues may consider them 'past their sell by date as if life skills and experience of life outside school/college environments count for nothing. I never had great ambitions as I always preferred to 'choose life' especially since meeting second husband and really find my part time SEN job rewarding. And even though it's my second career, if I keep on working until I can draw my state pension [[​IMG]] that will mean that I will have been a teacher for nearly 30 years!
    Your other options like steiner schools sound great-although the friends I know who did that were a couple who had 3 children under 5 who wanted a more holistic kind of life (they already both worked part time and had an allotment etc) and moved up to a steiner school and community in scotland (He was a fellow DoE youth worker and I got the impression that they seemed to be moving to what seemed in effect like a commune with its own school)
    Teaching is far more rewarding when seeing the world, paying off student debt or earning shedloads of money to buy your first home is not your main priority. My advice would be to go away, do something else, build yourself up-you can always come back to teaching in the future. My carpet fitter's partner who is a woman of 44 is at teacher who is going to night school to learn to be a hairdresser so she can get out of teaching. One of the stylists from my hairdressers (in his early 20's is working his way round the world with his two hairdressing mates-they are in Thailand at the moment and moving on to Australia where they have working visas. The possibilities are endless!
    There are also much nicer places to teach-how about checking them out. My husband's cousin works in a private primary school and seems to have a very nice life (longer holidays, small/tiny classes, amazing school trips, no national curriculum until recently and some amazing Xmas presents from parents etc). I had another friend who spent the first part of her career teaching primary on a military base in Germany-she wasn't in the forces, but enjoyed life as part of the base. She only gave it up because of a bloke who gave her ultimatum to come back to UK or split up; she came back and then he dumped her following year. 30 years later she still regrets that choice and all the missed opportunities that followed.
    You could even join the military-they have teaching jobs too. If you're not sure about that you could keep your options open by working part time and joining a TA unit. you could check out all the different military options (at Forces careers info offices) to see what appeals-engineers, logistices, naval reserve etc. -you get things to do with your life, paid weekends away, and supportive colleagues. I think the reserves have a paid 2 week summer camp each year and if you have to take time off work for TA committments your employers have to support you (and keep your job open) You could even learn another skill and find another direction with your life.
    My daugher went to Sandhurst as a TA officer and one of her group that we met at her passing out parade and spoke to over lunch was a secondary economics teacher. My daughter is a medic and has now joined the RAF and even gets paid for playing rugby for the forces-and loves the support and structure of the military life-whatsmore no OFSTED, no AFL and APP, no spurious Performance Management Targets and hoop jumping. In fact I've convinced myself-if I was much younger and single, that's what I would do.
    Good luck whatever you decide to do [​IMG]
  11. Congratulations on your new job CB - really pleased for you! Sadly for me it looks like finances may dictate that I have to remain in teaching a little longer than I wanted, but I'm not giving up trying!! Your story gives me some hope :)

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