1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Does Primary Teaching Consume Your Life

Discussion in 'Primary' started by JimJackJones, May 28, 2011.

  1. I am comsidering doing a PGCE next year however I am concenred about the amount of hours I've been told one has to work. Is it true that primary teacher work 60 hours a week+ or is this exagerated? I have been told by a few primary teachers that it consumes your life where as I have friends teacing ICT secondary who work 8-4 and finish all their lesson plans in their free periods.

  2. I am comsidering doing a PGCE next year however I am concenred about the amount of hours I've been told one has to work. Is it true that primary teacher work 60 hours a week+ or is this exagerated? I have been told by a few primary teachers that it consumes your life where as I have friends teacing ICT secondary who work 8-4 and finish all their lesson plans in their free periods.

  3. Nope, it's true! I do work a hell of a lot of hours in term time... though it does get easier to manage your time the longer you teach.

    As someone who has taught in primary and secondary, I definitely had more free time when teaching secondary as I was only teaching maths and could re-use some of my planning/resources when teaching parallel sets. I don't envy secondary English teachers though... marking must be horrific!
  4. I am in school at least 50 hours a week. I try to avoid taking work home and only spend a little while on a Sunday looking at Plans. Depends onthe school and the head. In my first school I was putting in much more than 60 hours a week.
  5. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    James, don't do it. Go and find a nice graduate trainee job with M&S or a lovely bank or Ikea.
  6. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    Forget it if you're not sure/would let it put you off... Stick to your 9-5 job, 60hrs is not uncommon.
  7. Thanks I'm finding it difficult to get a job in IT becuase I didn't do a placement year and only go a 2:2. I just completed a CETLA course and there are plently of jobs abroad but I can't move for a few years due to family commitments.
    Thanks again for the replies.
  8. ditwee

    ditwee New commenter

    Some teachers manage to get by doing the bare minimum, which would certainly be a lot less than 60 hours a week. It depends on whether you would be satisfied doing just enough to keep going, or whether you would want to do the best for the children in your care. I used to do a job in an office 8.30 till 6pm, and thought that was hard going. On a school day I do 7:30 till 6pm, and still have a bucket load of planning, assessment, report writing, other stuff over the weekend. The longer you teach, the fewer hours you need to spend on it because your planning and assessment becomes more efficient and you can re-use materials and ideas. After about 7-8 years the hours spent should reduce a fair bit. It is very time heavy for the first few years. But you cannot guarantee that it will become easier because every couple of years the government rewrites the curriculum, or you may get shunted to teach a different year group, so you have to rewrite all your planning and remake all your materials. If you are considering teaching just because nothing else is available, I'd suggest secondary rather than primary. Sadly for you, IT may be about to disappear off the curriculum - possibly. Also, there are very few jobs out there in Primary - there are often hundreds of applicants for a job. It depends on your area and if you are flexible enough to move. Some teacher training colleges (eg York St John) don't usually accept a 2:2 but plenty do.
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    If you are thinking about being a teacher just because you are finding it hard to get a job elsewhere then don't bother. There is a massive surplus of primary trained teachers who cannot get jobs already, and they are often people who have wanted to be a primary teacher since they were 7 years old!

    Yes I probably work about 60 hours a week for much of term time, but then hey I get 13 weeks holiday a year. My friends who work 40 hours a week in a nice clean air-conditioned office only get 4-5 weeks holiday.
  10. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    Mostly yes. I've been better this year but my life pretty much is my job and has been for the last 5 years!! But I do love it!
  11. PGCE course is very intense, don't envy anyone doing it!
    Im much much better at time management these days, took me a while to get everything balanced but since I got
    married my priorities have changed, I still work hard and some nights are consumed BUT I now know when to stop, what is urgent and what can wait x
  12. A PGCE is hard work and it will pretty much take up ALL of your time, evenings, weekends, holidays, the lot, while you are doing your PGC. However the plus side of this is because it is so full on the year flies past in no time.
    After your PGCE you will work very hard as a primary school teacher. You'll work about 10 hours a day (sometimes more) during term time, and a little bit on the weekend as well. After 10 years of teaching this hasn't reduced for me, because while you do become a lot more efficient, all that tends to happen is that you take on more responsibilitiesand end up doing more in those 10 or more hours a day than you did when you started.
    It is an incredibly satisfying and rewarding job if you don't mind hard work. Its the best job in the world, in my opinion, and the holidays are great.
    However, as someone else has said, if you're not fully committed and passionate about it, you'll either not stick the pace, or you'll end up as one of those embittered 'Grantly Budgen' type teachers who cut corners, do the children a disservice, and eventually get found out.
  13. Freeze!

    Freeze! New commenter

    As everyone else has said (bar one person!) yes it does consume your life. It's a vocation not just a job and if you are not comitted it will be a nightmare for you and you will resent it. In my previous school I worked 7 to 6 or 7:30 to 5:30 most nights and then planned and caught up with any marking or prep at the weekend (4hrs ish) At my school now I work 8 to 5 and and still the same at the weekend but now I have a tlr role... time management skills do get better but don't make a huge difference to the amount you work in my experience as the better your time management skills the further up the ladder your progress and the more responsibility you take on. Plus, there are always new and exciting things you want to do for the children that take up your time.
    It is what you put in to it though as others have said. Our old Nursery teacher (who has returned 'helping' in Y1 after an operation waiting to retire) used to be in at 8:!5 and leave 10 mins after the children. The new teacher is in normal hours (about 8 till 4 at least I'd say were normal hours)
    and you should see the massive difference in provision and experience for the kids. It's a lovely unit now and feels and looks really inviting and stimulating and the team and the chn in there seem really inspired.
    It is what you make it.
  14. Freeze!

    Freeze! New commenter

    Apologies for the typos (before anyone points them out!)
  15. Something clearly needs to change in the profession if even highly skilled, experienced teachers have to work 60 hours and burn themselves out. What if you have a life and a family too? I guess you just have to work part-time, and, if you're like me, spend your days off planning.
  16. Its the same in many other jobs these days. At least most of us are relatively secure compared to many people in other occupations.
  17. ditwee

    ditwee New commenter

    That's what I do...
  18. Yes it's true that it's incredibly hard work, but find a job worth it's weight that is not hard with long hours!! I reckon you'd be hard pushed!

    I am a Reception teacher - if I average up my term time hours it is definitely 60-70, but 13 weeks holiday a year make up for it! This half term I will work every single day, mostly all day, but that is only because I didn't touch an ounce of work during the Easter hols - for the whole 2 weeks! Swings and roundabouts!

    My best mate is a secondary PE teacher - and she once said, in room with me and 4 of my teacher friends, that she had had a really hard day as she had to teach all day and didn't leave school until 5!!!!

    But it is sooooo worth it!
  19. alabaster

    alabaster New commenter

    I don't think it is true that Primary teachers have a greater load than secondary - I am secondary and don't count up how many hours I work, but I work most evenings and at weekends and during holidays. Yes, resources can be reused, but always need to be tweaked to suit the class in front of you. Being a maths teacher there is tremendous pressure for results, and at this time of year I do after school and lunch time revision classes most days. However, this is my choice, it isn't imposed on me, I do it because I want to help the kids to achieve. Teaching is a hard job that requires a lot of effort and time if you want to do it well. However, there is never a dull moment and the days fly past.
    Choose teaching as a career if you think you will enjoy it, but be prepared to put in a lot of time. As others have said, try to go into schools to get some idea of what it is really like before making a decision. The decision between primary and secondary should be based more on whether you would like to work with the particular age group not on a possibly incorrect perception of how much effort goes into the job.
  20. lotka

    lotka New commenter

    I've spent most of my career teching KS1, and it is incredibly hard work, with long hours! But, I do find it comes in fits and starts. In term time, I often work from 7.45am to 5pm, and maybe do another hour at home in the evening. I also do a couple of hours at the weekend. But, in the holidays, I do try to get a break, & tend to go away for a few days. The summer holiday is wonderful, because you can actually relax and forget school for a couple of weeks! Having said all this, I would not want to do any other job! I am never bored, and the children make life fun and interesting. I often have something amusing to tell my family when I get home, and it is very rewarding to see children grow and develop over the year. I do feel it is a real calling, though - don't do it unless you really want to!


Share This Page