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Headteachers' Viewpoints requested

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Muttley_in_the_Midlands, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    I have a provisional place to start initial teacher training in September on a GTP. Unfortunately I have recently come across the TES forums and am now questioning my decision to make a career change into teaching.
    There are MANY posters who are disillusioned, bullied, angry, vitriolic, show no respect for others, or are unsupported in the workplace (or all of the above!) There seem to be legions of unemployed teachers. There are those who cannot spell and have little grasp of grammar. There are the militant "union rules" types. I read tales of lack of support by SLT and mentors; a lack of focus during NQT years; and even constructive dismissal!
    I am 42 and many posters say that career changers of my advanced age will not get on. I will be disadvantaged in many ways. My age means that I am comparable to SLT and they (amongst others) will feel threatened, especially when added to my 20 years in the non-education sector workplace. Their lack of confidence will mean that they bully me. Finally, given my advanced years, I will not even get any job offers.
    How unutterably depressed I am now. I had some grand ideas that my 20 years previous experience (I won't go into details of what it was) would stand me in fine stead and I could see myself being an asset to a school.
    Given that SLT have more clout in actually making job offers rather than the rude, vocal disaffected teachers I seem to have read so far on these pages, would anyone care to reassure me? Do I have a chance of a career? Would you feel threatened by a confident, older teacher who lacks experience in the teaching profession but has oodles of life experience?
    I am currently volunteering in a secondary school in order to maximise my classroom experience, working to a HoD who must be 10 years my junior. If she feels threatened by me, it isn't obvious yet.
    I would very much appreciate a positive voice. Thanks
     
  2. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    I have a provisional place to start initial teacher training in September on a GTP. Unfortunately I have recently come across the TES forums and am now questioning my decision to make a career change into teaching.
    There are MANY posters who are disillusioned, bullied, angry, vitriolic, show no respect for others, or are unsupported in the workplace (or all of the above!) There seem to be legions of unemployed teachers. There are those who cannot spell and have little grasp of grammar. There are the militant "union rules" types. I read tales of lack of support by SLT and mentors; a lack of focus during NQT years; and even constructive dismissal!
    I am 42 and many posters say that career changers of my advanced age will not get on. I will be disadvantaged in many ways. My age means that I am comparable to SLT and they (amongst others) will feel threatened, especially when added to my 20 years in the non-education sector workplace. Their lack of confidence will mean that they bully me. Finally, given my advanced years, I will not even get any job offers.
    How unutterably depressed I am now. I had some grand ideas that my 20 years previous experience (I won't go into details of what it was) would stand me in fine stead and I could see myself being an asset to a school.
    Given that SLT have more clout in actually making job offers rather than the rude, vocal disaffected teachers I seem to have read so far on these pages, would anyone care to reassure me? Do I have a chance of a career? Would you feel threatened by a confident, older teacher who lacks experience in the teaching profession but has oodles of life experience?
    I am currently volunteering in a secondary school in order to maximise my classroom experience, working to a HoD who must be 10 years my junior. If she feels threatened by me, it isn't obvious yet.
    I would very much appreciate a positive voice. Thanks
     
  3. R13

    R13 New commenter

    Firstly I'd rely more on your experience than on what you read from anonymous contributors. I recognise the irony here BUT you are volunteering in a school and this is apparently encouraging your interest in teaching - trust your instincts on this.
    Secondly as a Head who has taken on a number of GTP teachers near your age they have often provided my school with a terrific balance. The best young teachers have some wonderful enthusiasm schools benefot from. The best middle aged teachers have a wealth of life experience that can be applied to their roles. In my recent experience mature GTP applicants at their best combine the best of both worlds in my school.
    Good luck - teaching is really hard work if you put in the effort it deserves and I'm very sure |I could have earnt much more elsewhere, but on a good day it's a great job
     
  4. I would echo the comments of my HT colleague. Online forums and message boards are often dominated by the negative few. Notice how many are quick to point out the innadequacies of SLT, the HT etc whilst they themselves are beyond reproach? Many of the negatives (not all of course) are excuses made by the weak who kid themselves that the only reason that they have failed in teaching is because a succession of senior colleagues let them down.
    This is the finest and most noble profession and I personally regard it as a calling.
    And 42 is no age! You are in your prime and any fool who tells you that your maturity will threaten SLT members is in gaga land. The idea that you will be bullied because of your age...well I don't know where to start with that one.
    As my colleague says, trust your instincts and go for it. As you are a volunteer in a school, make your own decision. Do you like a challenge? Do you want a rewarding job?
    Good luck and I hope you feel that you can join us.
     
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    As a head who has appointed a fair number of '40-something' new teachers in my time, I'd say the paragraph I've copied is alarmist nonsense*. I can't imagine why anyone's told you that SLT, being a 'similar age' (actually, I think you'll find many are somewhat younger!) would 'bully you', nor why they're deemed to 'lack confidence'. I'm not sure why your 20 years external experience makes you more bullyable, either.
    *I asterisked this part because it's the only part which may have some veracity - apart from anything else, you may have experience of the kind which you'd want to be paid on a higher scale point for and given school budgets these days, you might find yourself too expensive.

     
  6. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    Thank you both for the encouragement, it is much appreciated. I am hoping it is the case that
    I hope these sorts don't dominate the staffroom too!
    I think the point about bullying was because an older person usually has a lot of inner confidence as well as the life experiences out of school then weaker colleagues feel threatened and hence start with the attacking. This is my understanding of the points being made by others anyway. I don't think the idea was that you are the butt of age related jokes. I have sadly been in the position of being "bullied" by a weaker colleague and it was appalling.
    I am concerned about my prosepcts of employment though. Would you employ someone of my age? Or would you rather have the unbounded enthusiasm of youth?!
     
  7. I am an HT in a an independent SEN small school...many of my staff are past retirement age. As a fairly young HT (40) myself I value the insight and wisdom of my grey bearded colleagues. I wouldn't worry about age. Unbounded enthusiasm can quickly be tempered by the lack of foresight that youth is also prone to! Many disillusioned teachers are quite young and have discovered just how hard and stressful the role can be. Many of us who are career changers (me too) have already come from very high stress environments. Teaching is unusual in that from the moment you hit the classroom the expectations imposed by the role are high and the workload heavy. There is little easing into it. For that reason your age is a distinct advantage. This is not to say that all young teachers are disillusioned and incapable, its just that its a big job for someone in their early twenties and it is a heck of a shock for some. Those of us who discover a vocation later in life are at an advantage in many ways. The playing field is at least level for those of more advancing years.
    You have approached your decisions in an informed way and are suitably cautious. Don't be put off by the nay sayers, web forums have more than their fair share in every walk of life.
    One tip, if you are in a position to do so pick your subject with care. There are a lot of unemployed English and Humanities teachers out there.
    I salute your bravery and wish you the best of luck.
     
  8. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    Oh dear, just wrote a long reply and lost it.
    I am encouraged by what you have all said and I thank you for your time. I am particularly encouraged by
    As for being too expensive for some schools, well I wasn't expecting anything other than starting at the bottom of the pay scale. Yes I could earn far more in industry but I couldn't get the same holidays!
     
  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    It is easy to forget that those who have experienced bullying and come here for support, however horrific and real their experience, still represent just a tiny number of the 400,000+ teachers who work in this country.
    Your life experience makes you a positive asset to teaching. Should you be one of the unfortunate minority who does encounter bullying, you are already informed and know the steps that can be taken to challenge it.
    If you worry about everything that might go wrong, you'll never do anything. Sometimes it's worth taking a punt and making the jump.
     
  10. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    Well said Gardening Leaves. I am definitely going to do it and I am glad I asked opinions on this part of the forum, which has given me a far more balanced view. Perhaps that's part the reason why you are Heads!
    Many thanks and I hope I do not encounter you again whilst ranting about being unemployed in 2 years time! In the meantime, anyone in the Midlands and would like a GTP in Bus Ed next year?!
     
  11. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I'm not a Head! God forbid - I have too much sense! The closest I got was doing NPQH!
     
  12. rofl! If only I had known what I was taking on.....still love it..but crikey...I think I used to have a life [​IMG]
     
  13. I can't tell you all how happy I am to have found this thread. Muttley I think your original post really hits the mark on the feedback prospective teachers, especially career changers like us, receive. I too have been put off changing careers since reading the forums....everyone seems so negative and makes out it would be the worst thing we could ever do!!
    Knowing that I have a wealth of life/work experience that I would love to bring into the classroom, and then being told "don't do it", really does put the doubts in your mind. I will be giving up a very successful and well paid career.
    I have constantly tried to tell myself that this is likely to represent the dis-engaged minority of workers (all careers have them) and like someone has suggested, the younger workers getting a shock at the pace and volume of work.
    I'm trusting my instincts that I will love teaching and I have lots to offer schools. I'm trying to take the forums with a pinch of salt, and this thread has restored my faith that I'm thinking about things in the right way!!
     

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