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Does primary teaching take over your life?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Emrod, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. I am currently applying for primary PGCE. I have carried out extensive research to gain a greater understanding of the teaching profession and I am 100% sure i want to spend my career as a teacher. There is so much information available which says that teaching takes over your life, and many people don't have a social life.
    Could people explain to me how many hours they do actually work?
    If they manage to have a decent social life?
    Also, of course every day in the classroom is different, but what is an average day for you? i.e. a day in the life.
    One more thing...do you still think teaching is a good profession to enter? Would you ever advise people to look at a different career route?

    Thank You in advance for your reply's. I'm just trying to get an all rounded view!
    Apologies if paragraphs aren't correct, i am still getting used to the forum format!

    Thanks
    Em
     
  2. I am currently applying for primary PGCE. I have carried out extensive research to gain a greater understanding of the teaching profession and I am 100% sure i want to spend my career as a teacher. There is so much information available which says that teaching takes over your life, and many people don't have a social life.
    Could people explain to me how many hours they do actually work?
    If they manage to have a decent social life?
    Also, of course every day in the classroom is different, but what is an average day for you? i.e. a day in the life.
    One more thing...do you still think teaching is a good profession to enter? Would you ever advise people to look at a different career route?

    Thank You in advance for your reply's. I'm just trying to get an all rounded view!
    Apologies if paragraphs aren't correct, i am still getting used to the forum format!

    Thanks
    Em
     
  3. NoNoNoah

    NoNoNoah New commenter

    I think the answer depends on how much time you want to devote to it.
    I completed my PGCE in summer of 2010 after working for 10 years in the book industry. For me the PGCE course was fantastic but very hard work. For 9 months I had no life outside of school work.
    My NQT year was almost as gruelling, but this was not a fair comparison as my wife had our first child 5 weeks into the first term. I found the majority of my teaching time and effort was with planning and assessment. I am positive I could have spent a lot less time planning, but I spent my time researching ideas for lessons and then dismissing them until I found the right one for the class.
    So far this year has proved to be easier but I am still as picky with planning, just a little more aware of where to look.
    From my limited experience I would say teaching can absorb as much time as you want to commit, if you are on top of things there is always something else you could be doing. You just have to identify the important jobs from the ones that can wait.

     
  4. Does primary teaching take over your life? Only if you let it! Keep to your principles, stay professional but keep a good worklife balance it is far too easy to look busy and get very little done!
     
  5. Yes, it does. Only some years down the road does it get 'easier' - and by then you often have additional roles (co-ordinators, SMT etc) which take its place!
     
  6. Not necessarily! I think I've got the balance about right. I've been teaching for 16 years and have children of my own. I work full time and coordinate a minor subject. I can get all that done during the day and during PPA time and I try not to bring anything home at evenings or weekends except Numeracy planning and sorting out my timetable for the next week. I have no desire to be SMT as I would much rather enjoy my time at home and still have a pretty decent social life.
    The trouble with teaching is that it is really hard work, especially when you're starting out as there is just so much to learn and it's not until a few years down the line that you feel like you're really getting the hang of it, then you change jobs or year groups or some other new (stupid) idea comes in and you feel like you're starting all over again. Gotta love the holidays though!
     
  7. Thank You for all reply's! Its nice to get feedback from teachers as well as just reading comments through the papers etc. Im currently gaining experience in a primary school a couple of days a week and absolutely loving it, i just hope i dont get too stressed during PGCE year (stressed is my middle name.).
    I also still need to get used to the children calling me 'miss'!!
     
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Excellent, so why do you need us to tell you what it is like then?
    If you don't know these things, then your 'extensive research' has been a bit lacking. Also you have decided 100% that you want to spend the rest of your working life teaching, yet do not know what a day as a teacher involves? That is scary.

    I am worried that you have this total commitment to something you know so little about. And that you have researched it extensively, yet have found out so little. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but your post does worry me slightly.
     
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I'm still not used to this.
    Having said that, I am a tall, strapping man with a beard and a booming voice.
    Work-life balance will go out of the window during your NQT year and your first two years of teaching.
    But it gets easier as you become better at it and know how to save time. The frequently trotted-out notion that you'll have previous planning to use and as such won't have to do as much isn't true (I've never used the same planning twice in all my years of teaching) as different classes have different needs, but having a good idea how to tackle each thing you want to teach and a wealth of resources or ideas up your sleeve means that you can plan a lesson in minutes rather than hours. And so planning becomes far less arduous.
    You also get a good idea for what really needs to be done; what's vaguely important but will never get looked at and what is really just a load of irrelevant nonsense. This means just bin the nonsense (if it's that important, someone will always chase you with another copy anyway) and do a 2 minute hatchet job on the stuff that won't get looked at.
     
  10. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Oh, and...
    There isn't such a thing.
    And, I can't help myself but:
    You've written this twice now, so it's safe to assume it's not a typo. It's replies. You will need to get things like this right before you apply for any PGCE or subsequent job. A tad worrying.
     
  11. I was simply wanting more info from teachers, as often a lot of the press and websites say how teachers don't have social lives, they are constantly stressed etc etc.
    Taking all this information on board, i wanted the teachers view!
     
  12. nick909....thanks for your reply! Looks like i better invest in a dictionary!
     
  13. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    A simple answer would be yes primary teaching does take over your life.
    Some schools are better than others however.
    If I think back to last week (if I remember rightly).
    Monday
    7-6 in school. Came home, had tea and bath and worked 7ish -9, doing resources for Tuesday and updating APP.
    Tuesday
    7-6 in school. Came home, had tea and bath and worked 7ish -9.
    Weds
    7-6 in school. Came home, had tea and bath and worked 7ish -9.
    Thursday
    7-6 in school. Came home did about 1 hour making a powerpoint for parents evening.
    Friday
    7-5 in school. Came home, had tea and bath and did a job application which took nearly 2 hours.
    Saturday
    Did 2 job applications. Did planning and marking big writes from 12ish until 7pm when I finally got to sit down and watch x factor. About the only relaxation I had.
    Sunday
    Worked 10ish until 5pm finishing big write marking, planning and updating APP.
    Total hours = far too many to be healthy. About 86.
    This was a busy week but not unheard of. I would normally be doing about 70 hours per week.
    By Wednesday I have normally worked more than a full time job would be.
    I loved getting experience in schools, loved my PGCE but 6 years full time teaching later I am a changed person. My life is non existent and I wouldn't wish this career on anyone.
     
  14. I tend to agree and actively discouraged a member of my family from becoming a teacher. They chose a different career path, which, whilst it has been very successful for them, they regret and are looking to retrain as a teacher.
    Only you can make the right choice about whether this job is for you or not, and whether or not you will be able to maintain the social life you want.
    I will add though, that it's not just hours worked, this job can also have an emotional toll. I sometimes find it difficult to have patience and emotional energy for those closest to me (but perhaps that's just me and the children/parents I work with!)
    On the plus side- I love my job (most of the time) and the holidays are great!
     
  15. HiI'm an NQT and I'd just like to add that teaching has not taken over my life. If you give youself an unlimited time frame to get things done, then it will take forever. You've just got to learn to manage your time effectively. I know that I don't like taking work home with me so I set myself targets of getting work completed at school. Keeping up-to-date with marking is key - let it build up and thats when it starts to take over. I use my weekends to plan for the next week but only if I haven't managed to get everything done in my ppa time. Just be realistic with what needs to be done and you will be fine. It is possible to get the balance right . . . even as an NQT!
     
  16. At the risk of sounding harsh ... I don't think it matters what anyone says on here as you have made your mind up!
    You sound like a couple of students we have had in school recently, totally excited and very unprepared for the reality. The work load is huge, the accountability, pressure and pace is relentless. Your life is good in the holidays but term time is exhausting and I agree with previous posters- 7.30 am till 6pm with work to take home is the norm! I am efficient and organised but the job is huge!
    I would put off any family member or mate of mine, this would be easy to do... I would ask them to shadow me for a week!
    There are not lots of jobs out there, we will easily attract 50 applications for a short term contract, and this is in a big city.
    The student who asked me recently 'is it always like this?' was shocked to hear - yes!
    Everybody has been to school so thinks they know what it's like but schools have changed - it's tough!
     
  17. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    I completely disagree with this. This very much depends on the school as everything I do is something I HAVE to do. I don't hang around the staff room or waste time chatting. I work in an organised way with lists and I am realistic about what HAS to be done. Perhaps you work in a supportive school that recognises work life balance but they aren't all like that and you may find out too late what they are like. Might sound negative but hard to be positive when I am living a life of stress on a daily basis. So much stress in fact that I start supply in January without having anyone else to support me should I not get enough work.
     
  18. It may be that I am in a supportive school but I also try to plan my week so that I haven't got a lot of marking in one day. If the children are doing a big write for example that I know will take a while to mark, I plan for a mental maths session etc so it's not too much in one day. I in no way suggested that you spent your time chatting. I just know what works for me. If I set myself three hours to complete a task, I would take the three hours! If I said I had all Sunday to plan, I would be up late planning on Sunday night! This is what personally works for me. What exactly are you doing for all those hours per day? This is not an attack, I really am intrigued/concerned! It seems like an awful lot of time dedicated to teaching. Do you have any time for yourself at all?
     
  19. It certainly isn't an easy ride for sure as some of the other posters have stated.
    To fully implement high quality AfL in your classroom, it would suggest assessing (not formally, just to identify next steps) and planning on a daily basis in Literacy and Numeracy. Sounds daunting but is effective. So to have this to do around a family life is hard sometimes.
    Good luck with whatever you choose.
     
  20. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I think it should be pointed out to the OP that this is an absolute extreme. I haven't worked anything like as stated in this post since my PGCE and NQT years.
    Does your HT know how many hours you work? If they do and aren't concerned then you have a very poor HT.
    I wouldn't be able to sustain anything like this and would move schools. Obviously jobs are scarce so if this meant leaving the profession, then so be it. Life is too short to spend every waking hour working. When I lie on my deathbed and look back on my life, you can be sure I'll be thinking of time spent with loved ones; not wishing I'd collected more evidence for APP writing.
    I work 7-5 every week day, (10 minutes for lunch) and probably about 2-3 hours on either Saturday or Sunday. About 53 hours a week, then. I suspect that's pretty standard. I do have a supportive HT though, who doesn't have unrealistic expectations and isn't interested in reams of paperwork.

     

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