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Honest Advice - Is Teaching A Difficult Profession?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Teacher_Jen, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Hi Primary Teachers,
    I am looking to start a career in early years/primary teaching and I am applying for a 2012 pgce start.
    I just want some honest opinions from those who are actually in the profession currently. I have some voluntary work in place and start that on Tuesday in a tough, challenging and diverse primary school.
    Do you have any time to yourself? For your partner? Especially while studying of course because I have heard you have no life then.
    Thanking you in advance
  2. Hi Primary Teachers,
    I am looking to start a career in early years/primary teaching and I am applying for a 2012 pgce start.
    I just want some honest opinions from those who are actually in the profession currently. I have some voluntary work in place and start that on Tuesday in a tough, challenging and diverse primary school.
    Do you have any time to yourself? For your partner? Especially while studying of course because I have heard you have no life then.
    Thanking you in advance
  3. Hi Jen
    Teaching is a great profession but one that is very demanding physically and emotionally. The rewards are great and it can be a very interesting and challenging job-no two days are the same.
  4. gergil4

    gergil4 New commenter

    Definitely hard to begin with, but you do live and learn. If you stay in the same class in the same school, life can be a lot easier, but if you move/are moved than you have to plan/find resources again. It's the sort of job you need to want to do, it's not just a 9 - 5 job. We spent last weekend in school because of OFSTED.
    Lots will depend on your headteacher and what they expect. Some will depend on you and what you expect of yourself. If you work hard in term time, you should get a reasonable break in the holidays.
    I make time for me and in the past when family and school time have allowed, I've scheduled my work in particualr ways (eg working at school until 8pm on Thursdays to get all work out of the way for the weekend). Life in any situation is what you make of it.
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I left full time teaching 2 years ago but maintained a foothold in the classroom doing tutoring, supply and now work as a specialist maths tutor / teacher in a primary school. I'm looking to return back to full time teaching.
    Why - well quite honestly I love teaching children. I love the interaction, seeing them learn, develop new ideas, show creativity and develop. I love the opportunity to be creative in the classroom and to be responsible for their learning. It's a great job but...
    It is hardwork. Time consuming. Lots of paperwork. Lots of unnecessary paperwork. Initiatives come and go. Excessive demands for planning and assessment. Teaching children in 1 class with a wide range of abilities. Observations. OFSTED. Constant scrutiny and advice on how to make your lessons outstanding. Never feeling you're good enough.
    Oh - and you can say goodbye to evenings and a part of the weekend. I always tried to stop by nine so I could spend time with my (ex) partner. It would not be a lie to say teaching had an effect on our relationship. I became a different person in the holidays.
    Time management and not getting to "obsessed" by it is key. Something you will learn. It's a great job and the memories of the children linger with you for ages. For good reasons and not so good reasons. You will also be remembered by the children.
  6. I always had a good work life balance. Not any more.
    Too many changes are being implemented too quickly and education is not what it used to be. I have nothing that resembles a life any more and am sick of the constant criticism that nothing is ever good enough.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Yes it is hard work for the 39 weeks a year you are in school, but this is balanced by the THIRTEEN weeks holiday you get. Yes you do need to do some work in the holidays, but you should still be able to get yourself a good 10 weeks work free at least.

    I have a life and enjoy it. Would have more of a life if I didn't spend so much time here....

    But after 15 years (a mix of secondary, middle, supply and now primary teaching) I would still say that teaching is the very best job in the world and I'd not swap it for all the tea in China!
  8. takethatno1fan

    takethatno1fan New commenter

    The 3 p's make it difficult:
    parents (some!)
    But the kids more than make up for it. It is very hard work but extremely rewarding.
  9. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Pay is quite good.
    13 weeks paid holiday is brilliant! You can go away for 6 whole weeks in the summer, you could go to Barbados for 6 weeks and lie on the beach and be paid for EVERY day you spend there.
    If you have a human headteacher the job can be tolerable. if you have a bully (which seems more and more common) it can be the worst Hell on Earth.
    Sometimes the kids can be fun. Mostly they are clockwatching till school is over and they can get back to their computer games.
    You will have to produce mountains and mountains of paperwork, but you can download a lot and always beg people on here for copies of their planning for Mrs Cole/Scarab's Secret.
  10. Joanne2009

    Joanne2009 New commenter

    I am applying for a Sept 12 start too. I am older (37) and this is a career change for me. When I was at Uni I had always wanted to go into teaching but I ended up working for the NHS (long story). I have always wanted to change back to a teaching career but I got married, got a mortgage and 2 lovely children etc......
    I have started 2 school placements so will see how it goes.
    Good luck!
  11. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    School placements are completely different from the reality. You aren't in charge of behaviour, paperwork, moving the children's learning forward, Ofsted, performance management, 3 sublevels progress, parents, staff meetings, assemblies, your subject area etc. I loved volunteering and felt teaching was definitely for me. What a load of rubbish. The bit I enjoyed there (working with the kids) is so completely overwhelmed by 1000 other things that must be done yesterday. I wish I had listened to the dozens of people who told me not to do it because I hate everything I have become because of teaching. Someone told me on Friday that my personality had completely changed. They are right!
    Some people love it, some people hate it. It's a sad fact of life though that if you hate it it still sucks you in because the children need you (and there are few other jobs that pay the same unless you are in the private sector). I am trying to 'get out' right now and I can't for the life of me find anything resembling the same pay. At the end of the day I still need to pay the bills.

  12. I agree that school placements (and even the GTP year, which I did) are completely different to the reality.
    I'm just starting my second year of teaching, and I always feel that I am in a rush to do something: photocopy something, complete an IEP, organise homework, plan an assembly, organise things for my after school club, meet with a parent, fill in tracking grid information...... there is a never ending list of things to do which seem to have little or no bearing on actual teaching and learning in the classroom.
    It's an all-consuming job, which expands to fill the time you give it. I'm not as disciplined as I should be about stopping school work and enjoying family life, but I'm working on it.
    I also can't think of another job where you need to do so much other stuff just to do your main job. My husband is an engineer: he doesn't have to make his tools the weekend or night before, he doesn't have to constantly assess what he's doing or have other people assess your paper trail. Again, this expands to fill the time you give it.
    BUT, I love the actual teaching: the interaction with children, the facilitating of learning (hate the expression, but that's what it is - guiding the children on their own discovery learning journeys), the fact that every day is different, that you build up relationships with your class and that, actually, most of the time in the classroom is pretty much good fun!
    I'm a mature entrant too and I've earned more in previous jobs, quite a lot more actually, but despite the stress that comes with teaching and the never-ending to-do list, I've never had this much job satisfaction before...
    ........ or such lovely long holidays! [​IMG]

  13. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Expect very long hours during your course 70+ and first year or 2. It will then settle down to a 50-60 hour week after this during term time, made up for by the holidays. If you can go in early ie 7:30-8:00 and get a lot done then. A lot will depend on the school you end up in. A PGCE is a very steep learning curve especially for EYs.
  14. A lot of very fair points! Teaching HAS to be a vocation, you have to want to do it.....

    *** This job has made me cry - from being shouted at by my head, tension with colleagues, parents giving you a headache, overwhelmed with 'do lists...' but crying when my class moves on to high school and they write you letters about the impact you have made to them, kind words from parents who let you know you have made a real difference to their child, watching that football team you have coached for 2 years finally score their first goal, seeing the shy child who would not speak in September standing on the stage singing a solo -----

    *** This job has made me laugh until my sides hurt some of the things children say really make me giggle, staff room banter that has you in stiches, the nursery play where the donkey goes the wrong way and the head falls off the baby Jesus, that naughty boy who is so quick with come backs that you just have to laugh and admire them (even though they are doing your head in)

    *** I have made friends for life and know more about myself year by year - we get good money, a above average pension and decent holidays which will fit perfectly when I start a family.

    *** Things do change rapidly and most of it pointless - people at the top have lost touch with us pawns on the front line -- but that is the same in every industry from what other friends say!

    Yes it can be hard there is no question about that, my Sundays are my planning day while hubby watches the footie, you to have to learn to balance & be well organised if you do not want it to consume your life! Im into my 8th year, not a newbie but maybe still a little wet behind the ears. Just be honest with yourself...if you are prepared for the good and the bad...teaching can be the best job in the world.... x (PS this will have no paragrpahs (I THINK) as Tes has problems supporting Mac/Safari so apologies)
  15. Some interesting points from everyone. Thank you. I love the idea of teaching and hoping that the idea and experience in schools will fulfil my expectations. Some of what people have said has scared me. I dont want to have no personal life at all but at the same time I dont want to be stuck where I am now for the rest of my life (retail) which also means weekend and evening work and 7am starts! I have worked hard to gain a degree and I want to do something productive with it not just retail. I'm 22 now and will be 24 when i graduate as a teacher or should I say if lol. If I wanted to apply to secondary and primary on gttr could I do so? I'm very passionate about literacy and reading and want to pass this on to children. I do have a backup plan, HLTA as i guess it wouldn't be as hectic, TA or if teaching doesn't work out at all then I will have to find a 'normal' job in the city. When I say normal I mwan boring. I keep worrying I won't be any good at teaching. Hope I'm wrong!
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I still worry I'm no good at it and there is this huge amount of work that I'm not doing that would cause me the untold stress I keep hearing about.

    I've been teaching fro 15 years and no-one has said I'm no good at it, quite the opposite, but I still wonder.

    I've never felt I have no life, just a work orientated one. I still go to the gym or swim most days, theatre about once a month, out for dinner a couple of times a month, catch up with friends most holidays, go away for a few days or more in most holidays, spend to much time on here most days....
  17. Some things that have been said, especially that link are making me want to change my mind. I only want to work 40-50 hours a week. Not 70! I'm already quite an anxious person and stressed easily but this is all I want to do. Otherwise its a boring job in an office or staying in retail.
  18. I am three years in and do about 60 hours in termtime. It averages out at about 50 hours a week when the hols are taken into account.
    You need to remember that although the job is stressful at times, and has long hours, we do get fab holidays, job satisfaction (sometimes) and flexible working in the sense that I can choose when I put a lot of those hours in. I do much ofmy work in the evenings during the week, when my kids have gone to bed. I can work things around so that I do manage to have a life.
    PGCE year and NQT are a massive learning curve, and require very long hours (usually) as everything is new. It gets easier though - especially the longer you stay with one year group and things become more familiar.
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Teaching for those of us who love it, is THE BEST JOB in the world, but it does often involve putting in long hours, lots of worrying 'Am I doing right by xxxx etc.?' and I personally believe the day you feel you've 'got it sussed' is probably the day you should hand in your notice. It's the constant edge of trying to get a handle on teaching which keeps us ever learning ever fresh and therefore better teachers.

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