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 education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

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

    Dismiss Notice

Enjoying teaching?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Simonesd, May 16, 2011.

  1. I am about to leave a well paid, secure but rather dull management post to do a secondary PGCE. I feel that you only have one life and I can't stay where I am just for the money and security. Most days I am literally counting down the hours until I can go home, sitting in tedious meetings, but I earn enough to help provide my family with a nice standard of living. I have been interested in teaching for a while now though, because I think it would suit my strengths and I want to help children learn and pass on my enthusiasm for my subject (English). Finally I decided to follow where I thought my heart was leading me, and I took the plunge to apply for a PGCE. Now though, I am fast approaching the point when i have to hand in my notice ready to start the PGCE in September, and reading some of the many posts in the forums from exhausted, stressed and disillusioned teachers makes me wonder if I am about to make a huge mistake? I want to be a teacher because I want to do something I think I would find fulfilling and challenging, and I am not afraid of hard work. However, i don't want to be constantly stressed and worn down by behaviour issues and having to work every evening and all day Sunday.... Is this most people's reality, or are plenty of teachers out there still really enjoying what they do?
    I know that every job has its bad days, but I would love to hear from those who generally love their job, to reassure myself that I don't have a totally idealistic view of what a teaching career could be, and to give me the positive perspective as well as the negative. Thanks in advance!
  2. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    You will be lucky if you can get a job at all at the end of your PGCE, regardless of the other issues.

    If you have a job currently it doesn't seem wise to give it up to train where unemployment is already a real problem. Too many NQTs and not enough jobs.

    Oh, and the reality is that you will have a heavy markload and all too probably meet poor behaviour as well.

    (ilovesooty who left English teaching and has no desire to go back)
  3. Yes, one of my concerns has been my future employability. I have a place on a local schools based SCITT course, and was told at interview that there is a real shortage of teachers in my subject locally, and that in recent years all trainees have been snapped up by one of the partner schools. So that doesn't seem to be an issue for me.

    What worries me though is what seems to be the sheer number of over stressed, disillusioned teachers posting on these forums. I just want to get the other perspective, I feel surely there must be teachers out there who really enjoy their job- I would love to hear from them and hear why teaching could be a good career choice!
  4. Happiness and work/life balance depends almost entirely on the school you work in and, to a lesser degree, the subject that you do. Marking is intense for subjects such as English and colleagues tell me that it's pretty full on for history, which adds a considerable number of hours to the average month of work compared to teachers of other subjects. Some teachers do virtually no marking (e.g PE), but give up most nights and weekends for fixtures, which is probably worse! Some teachers boast of never having to take work home, but they must either start and finish work earlier/later and do it then, be a bit slack, or teach a subject with very little marking load. There is no way I could do my marking and planning in the 10% of allocated free time!
    My first three years of teaching (Secondary English) were at a school I loved. I never dreaded a single day, I liked my colleagues, the students were great, and I can remember thinking at half term that I could have gone for another week or two without a break. If I got asked if I ejoyed my job, I would always say, with conviction, that I loved it. After that job seemed to get a bit routine - no other reason - I moved schools, and in the nine years or so that I've been teaching, I've never been as happy since. I'd like to think that it has been the schools, rather than the job itself that has made me feel that way. At times, teaching has been awful, as the pressure and stress can be relentless.
    In short, I don't think there is an easy answer to your question...
  5. san38

    san38 New commenter

    As you say above no easy answers. I left industry 10 years ago to become a teacher - glad? Sometimes! There are great sides to it - kids can be lovely, you have a degree of autonomy, you will rarely be bored and the day will fly by. Bad behaviour - often inescapable and yes draining, although it rarely keeps me awake as it did in the early years.
    The things I have found most difficult has been the isolation. From working in a busy office with a social life to match I found myself alone in a classroom and people are so busy you can go days without speaking to another adult. Also, although the holidays are great I find the lack of flexibility wearing - e.g no entitlement to time off for taking children to medical appointments - I can of course see why but if there is no-one else to take them you;re stuck and the NHS is less than willing to just give you holiday appointments! Workload - I probably only work one weekend a month for 4/5 hours but I arrive at work at 7am and leave at 5pm every day.
    As above I would also check out carefully that job situation - don't just take the word of people trying to sell you a course. I am now the induction tutor for ITT in my school and our English Trainees have yet to even secure an interview and they are not alone! Budgets have been cut big time around the country and the job market is much worse than just a few years ago.
  6. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    They're not going to tell you anything different - they want people to join their course so they won't tell you if lots of them don't get jobs. There is a surplus of teachers - it doesn't mean you won't get a job but prepapre for stiff competition.
    I absolutely love my job now but I hated my last school so much that I was scared to go to work in the end and left without a job to go to. It really depends on who you work for. A well led school with an SMT that have respect for staff and authority over the children will be fine - problem is you don't find out til you start the job.
    I can't imagine doing any other job though and do feel very fulfilled at work - I'm primary BTW. You can make a positive difference to children's lives and it can be very rewarding.
    Ask John Howson on the Career Clinic what the jobs situation is like in your area or just do a search in the jobs section to get an idea - if there aren't many jobs being advertised now then it doesn't bode well. Good luck.
  7. Thanks, that seems very sage advice to not just believe what I am told by the trainng provider. I checked on the TDA summary report of ITT performance, and the SCITT scheme in question had 100 per cent gaining QTS, and of those also 100 per cent in employment for last year. Of this year's two English trainees, they told me both were offered jobs in one of the partner schools ( there are half a dozen schools in the partnership) either before the Christmas break of the PGCE year, or shortly afterwards. Is there anything further I could do to double check? I suppose there is no way of knowing what the situation will be next year though...
    I know I probably sound very trusting and naive, and also very idealistic about teaching. I imagine being able to make a real difference to young people, to enthusing them with the subject... My partner teaches at a PRU and the idea of us both having the school holidays with our kids is very appealing, but I don't want to gain long holidays in exchange for losing my sanity in the periods in between. You still have to teach for three quarters of the year even with long holidays.... And then there's that lack of flexibility. My daughter was really upset when I had to miss a school performance last term due to work commitments, but as a teacher I suppose I would never be able to go to those events...
    Thank you all for your comments and advice... So helpful.
  8. lizgaskell

    lizgaskell Occasional commenter

    Depends who you talk to really.
    I am an English teacher (5 years) and retrained too. Still moslty live the job but find the workload (i have all GCSE classes) and pressure (ditto) quite tiring. The paperwork seems to be endless at time.
    Whatever you do don't moan to friends/people outside of teaching as most/some think that;
    a) You get too many hols
    b) You are paid too much
    c) You have never had a 'real' job
    To be fair, there are times when I think that it's pants, quite frankly, but I do really like the kids (a good job really as, like San38, I barely see an adult all day) and genuinely want to do the best for them, not the management.
    Can't see myself doing it til I retire though.
    BTW, round my way there are not enough English specialists (Yorshire)

  9. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    I love my job! However, if you have small children, I would wait until they are at secondary school as teaching will take you away from your family due to the long work hours. I do work at least half a day at weekends but as for evenings, that depends on the time of year eg, report writing, assessments, inspection etc.
    Go for it if you feel you have enough time to spare for the 'homework'. Good luck
  10. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    My mum ( who was also a teacher) told me when I started when it goes well it is the best job in the world and when it goes badly it is the worst. The proportion of good days to bad days is the key and that depends very significantly on the school and your colleagues. It can be very long hours, more so in some schools than others but what is the worst that could happen - you don't like it and you go back to your old job or something similar.
    Good Luck

  11. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    When you read these forums, you have to realise that you are getting a rather biassed sample. On the whole, people don't come on here to say "I've just had a really great day, and I got a real buzz from my year 9 lesson", or "I've managed to get all my books marked this week, and I probably only need to spend an hour or two planning this weekend", or "SLT were so supportive when a year 10 misbehaved today". People are much more likely to post on an anonymous forum when they're fed up, need to let off steam, or feel they can't talk openly to colleagues.
    I've just returned after 4.5 years as a stay-at-home mum, and I'm enjoying it. I do have to admit to being part-time though, and in fact I went part-time before kids, to get a better work-life balance: full-time is hard work.
  12. You are. First of all please reflect on the fact that enjoying your job is the exception. Sorry to say so but it is like that. If you consider the whole of the working population (i.e. those who clean tube stations at night and public toilets, etc. included) your situation (= a dull but bearable job that provides) is already a good place to be. People who enjoy their jobs all day every day are mostly only artists (writers, painters etc.) and usually only when they are rich enough to stop if they want. More likely than not going into teaching you'll lose all your free time, a lot of your sanity and nerve cells. That is, if you manage to get a job. Go over to the unemployed board to see how things are.
    Raise your kids. And if that is not fulfilling and challenging enough, do some volunteering in your free time. Something you can walk away from if you are not treated well without jeopardising your livelihood.
  13. As someone coming to the end of an English PGCE course I can tell you it's hard work, and has an insane amount of ups and downs! Teaching a class that respond well to you, are engaged and actually learn is an amazing feeling. Then there are the days where you teach a class who don't care, don't respond etc.. and you feel like the scum of the earth. That's my experience of it anyway! Sometimes when I make mistakes (usually keeping up the pace or something similar) I don't sleep at all that night, or I have nightmares about the lesson - reliving it and whatnot. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old too, who in all honesty haven't had their usual happy Mummy for some time now. Last week I worked out that I had spent around 76 hours on school related work - marking homeworks and exams, planning, preparing resources etc.. and my blood pressure was up so high to Doctor nearly fell of her chair. But I strongly believe the 'bad' days/lessons will start to lower as time goes on. I *hope* I eventually stop only dreaming of school/lessons going wrong and my God I hope I eventually feel confident enough in marking exam papers that I don't need to go over them five times!!! It's frustrating that my Husband earns more than me for a 9-5 job, and my Brother In Law earns nearly double what I will earn for insurance telephone based work - but that's why I'm doing this - I don't want that sort of job. I am fortunate enough to have a job to go to in September, and am nervous but excited about it. If it isn't for me, I will work the year then do something else - no one is making me do this. It is exhausting, but it's ultimately rewarding. Only you know if that's worth the risk.
    Good Luck, whatever you decide!
  14. Teaching English to teenagers, you will not be inspiring them with your love of the subject. You will be trying to get a too large class of badly behaved (really, incredibly badly behaved, beyond what you could imagine) and uninterested students to pass their exams. You will be criticised constantly for not achieving this impossible task.
    There will be the occasional student or class who enjoy English but most of them will despise you for finding it interesting. They will also despise the students who do find it interesting and bully them.
    Really, seriously, don't do it.
  15. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Unfortunately, many teachers feel like this, in my experience.
    Do you think that you won't be doing this as a teacher?
    That is a noble ambition - and I say that without sarcasm. The reality is that most of them won't want to know, or they'll want to know how to get a good grade in the exam.
    It is a job you take home with you. The marking workload for English can be overwhelming and you will probably find you have to develop strategies to reduce the amount the students produce so that you have time to do it all.I normally spend most of the Easter holidays marking, for example.It is also a stressful job.
    The pension is not what it used to be now, with extra contributions coming and the change to cpi uprating, but that may not be a consideration for you.You'll have a pension age of 65 I think.

  16. At least he has a job. How many English teachers can't say the same? And s/he has a job s/he does not hate. Many teachers woud give an arm for a "boring" job that lets you have a life.
    Very true. And you will be very lucky if you can fare through your career without allegations of verbally or physically abusing children, discriminationg racially or behaving sexually inappropriately. If you read the TES (the paper) and these boards, you'll find plenty of stories like that.
    Again, very true. They will despise you for finding literature interesting.
    OP, are you still around?
  17. I would think very carefully before giving up a boring non teaching job. A recent survey by the NASUWT suggests nearly a half of teachers are considering leaving the profession.
    I would strongly urge you to visit several local schools and shadow a variety of staff.
  18. And your evidence for this is?
  19. That's a rather sweeping generalisation about the entire TES online community being bitter and dissatisfied all of the time! The unhappy ones are obviously going to be disproportionately represented on this 'workplace dilemmas' forum; as you would expect, they are having some sort of problem at work. A cursory sweep of the other forums shows that there are lots and lots and lots of very happy, content and good humoured teachers posting about all manner of topics, including their excitement about promotions and new teaching jobs.

Share This Page