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Honest Advice - Is Teaching A Difficult Profession?

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

  1. Agree with a lot of this. Got timed out of a PGCE as getting placements took to long. Wondering whether to start all over again...
  2. Hi there, like you I worked for a number of years in retailing and felt unfulfilled and in need of a change of direction and a new working life. I did the PGCE course at the age of 31 and then taught full time for four years. Four years was enough for me to realise that I no longer actually had a life! I gave up and did supply for a couple of years. I was lucky enough to be taken on on a part-time basis by one of my supply schools and have been there for 7 years working 2 1/2 days a week. I love my job now but would NEVER go back to full time unless I was completely destitute. If you are lucky enough to get a part-time job then it is a fab career to have. I now earn around £20, 000 for working half the week which is very good I think. One of the things I found the hardest to adjust to was that life in education is so different to the normal working world. Gone are the days of the 15 minute tea break am and pm, the one hour lunchbreak meeting chums for lunch or wandering around the shops. Gone is the 'outside world'. Strangely enough I felt I had more support and more training during my years in retailing than I have ever had in teaching. It's very much a 'get on with it' career, well I think so anyway. But as mentioned in so many of the previous posts, the kids make it worth while. They are your raison d'être. My life policy has always been 'have a go and if it doesn't work out then at least you have tried!' Better to do it and not spend your life wondering 'what if??'. If you do go for it, just make sure you know when enough is enough, switch off your pc and go to the pub!
  3. That's a good point rogerjob. However, in my area there are a ridiculous amount of primary schools. And secondary fpr that matter. So hoping il be alright there
  4. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    Working part-time can be much better workload wise - or you can end up doing just as much as someone who works full time, depends on your nature I think. And Jen, don't bank on there being lots of jobs just because there are lots of schools! We have an abundance of schools - but absolutely no jobs as no-one moves on or away! The situation with the pension has only served to compound this problem - everyone is having to work longer now, so no-one retires either. Go into schools and ask about the realities of getting a job - and don't rely on TT colleges to tell you the truth! The one I trained at assured us that the job situation wasn't as dire as rumours suggested.....erm....that's why half of the people I trained with are out of work, doing bits of supply or out of teaching altogether! And that is just one cohort - we had 6 different training methods qualify at the same time as us, in the same area. Not trying to put you off - if you read my earlier replies, I love it, but you must go in with your eyes wide open.
  5. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Some sound advice from Rach.
    If possible ask the headteacher at your placement school a few questions.
    1) How many teachers have they appointed in the last 3 years? (it'll give you an idea of of how much transience there is, but only in that school)
    2) How many applications they average for a job?

    In my school the last few vacancies have averaged over 100 applications, and one went over 200.
    There are almost 500 primaries in my LA and I'm clase to 4 other large LAs too. We had applications from all over the world!
  6. I am going to have a go and see what happens. I think I will only regret it otherwise. Jobs are sparse in every sector at the moment so Il be lucky to find a job anywhere. Going to look into a TA role first off or LSA however apart from a degree and some experience I don't have the qualifications they ask for. Is it worth getting those first?
  7. Hi Teacher_Jen, it's a good idea to try and get a TA job, that'll give you a good idea of what's to come on the PGCE.
    I've just qualified from a PGCE and I'm now jobhunting. I was hopeful that some supply would pick up, but nothings come through yet.
    It was a fantastic year, a bloody hard one, but I really enjoyed it. If you don't mind hard work then getting to know the children is well worth it. Time management does come into it, I didn't have any evenings as they were spent planning for the next day/marking.etc til about 9pm. I usually managed to have one day off at the weekend, my partner was very supportive during this and still is financially fortunately.
    It's so furstrating not to be able to work now, and it's not just me - there's a lot of us NQT's going round the local schools on visits. And your comment about lots of schools being near you - (I live in a city) dosn't mean that they have as many jobs as there are applicants. Sorry to put a downer on it, just be prepared for the employment afterwards. School budgets are tight and most are offering temporary positions until they are more secure. Aside from that, go for it!
  8. Many people are saying get a TA role first but does that mean getting those qualifications then a few years later getting a pgce? I would love to but it all costs money :(
  9. rach1968

    rach1968 New commenter

    I didn't do a TA role first - just volunteered for a few weeks then applied. Worked fine.
  10. Hi everyone,
    Thank you for all your helpful comments, negative and positive.
    I just thought I would let you all know that my placement went very well yesterday. I was thrown in pretty much at the deep end. The teacher was lovely and kept thanking me for being there. When I arrived she introduced me to the children and I came outside with her to bring them in after their lunchtime.
    I was placed on a table with children who usually struggled with the basics, including a deaf boy who couldn't speak much english. I helped each child with their handwriting and also had quiet reading time with two pupils - listening to them reading and even writing notes on their progression record for the teacher! It was very exciting and enjoyable.
    I can't wait for next week and I may also be getting some more work in my old primary school too! Voluntary again of course but still helpful towards my application.
    Even being in the classroom for one day made me realise this is what I want to do - whether I need to start as an LSA/TA or not. Just listening to the children read was a joy and comments and banter between teacher and pupils.
    Equally, it does look like hard work but the day went very quickly indeed and it beats standing around in retail for 6 hours behind a till hands down. The most interesting thing I say there is: "would you like a carrier bag?" not at all taxing! And as to the work load, I'm actually looking forward to it!
    I think every training programme/placement is difficult. I think myself lucky I won't be working full-time. Currently somebody I know is completing a master's degree in Maths and also holds down a full time finance admin job. Another friend who has been a qualified nurse for two years now spent her student nurse years writing essays, doing observations, shadowing and partaking in placements - one of the worst being in a&e when a group of young people came in after crashing a car into a wall (she had nightmares for months afterwards). Everything is difficult but everything is also what you make it in my opinion. I think myself lucky I don't have to do night shifts and will finish the day at around 4pm and then can hopefully carry on my work and planning at home or in the classroom.
  11. Firerose

    Firerose New commenter

    Just wanted to add my 2p worth! I have been teaching for six years now in an inner city primary school (it's also the place where I did my final PGCE placement). I have had to come to terms with the fact that I really am another parent to most of my children and that's the hardest part of all. I feel like I do make a difference every day because if I don't fight for my children, I know their families won;t and most of them don't give a fig about homework, sub level improvements, reading at home or even whether they are in most of the time. We feel the axe of OFSTED over us always telling us we are failing and yet we all work so hard as a team to better our kids.
    Teaching is an uphill struggle and it feels daily like I am paddling upstream. If you're the type of person who like to check things off and feel satisfioed by a day's work, I wouldn't say teach. It's a never ending list of paperwork and silly fiddly jobs. You cross off something and replace it with three more! I am extremely organised and even I find it exhausting to cope with the papertrail and endless tasks.
    The saddest thing for me is having to say to my children I haven't 'got time.' How many times have I said "No we can't talk about that now we have guided reading/ISP Maths/Big Write now!" and they're only trying to tell me their news. :(
  12. I can see how thats a struggle. I seriously want to do this since I've volunteered and its definatley what I want to do.
    The main reason I am doing it now while I am 23/24 is so that if I do decide to have a family in later years I won't be training and in my NQT year which seems to be the hardest. At the moment I don't have any strings, ties and I even live with my parents so I can put as much effort in as I like. IF things go pear shaped and I change my mind then at least I have a degree to fall back on I guess!
  13. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Glad you are enjoying the work experience. It you like being in a classroom with children no other job will give you the same satisfaction. It sounds as though it is the right thing for you.
  14. Honest advice?
    Run far far far away.
    I ruined my health, ruined my physical and mental wellbeing as a consequence of what the stress of the job did to me. I can't have children because my body's so ruined (miscarrying my latest again at present) - because I gave so much of myself to class after class of kids and parents... who still just bashed me, complained, assaulted me, griped about everything and anything. Gave everything to schools who chewed me up and spat me out like a piece of rubbish and the remnants... only fit for supply where EVERYTHING bashes you - if teachers are low status... supply teachers are the officially designated whipping boy for stressed teachers to take it all out on.
    If you have options - take them up. This job destroys people - literally. I've come incredibly close to taking my own life because of what teaching's done to me. Shame, since, to outward appearances - I'm still a superb classroom teacher, one of the best supplies doing the rounds and the kids love me - but the price for that - I wouldn't wish on anyone.
  15. Volunteering in a school is always wonderful. You get to talk to the children, smile with them, support them and then walk out of the door back to your home life at the end of the day.
    Teaching itself is an entirely different kettle of fish.
  16. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    Absolutely correct.
  17. Hello

    I've recently finished my PGCE in Secondary Dance. Honestly it is a hard year, and you will find it hard to find the time to socialise (your laptop will be your best/worst friend!) And I can relate to the people who say placements are not like the reality. In my first placement I found it very hard to take over the classes and take full control, I felt like I was just 'having a go'. In my second placement it got better with confidence and support from the department.

    It's easy to say this now I'm out on the other side, but if you can manage your time to the best you can it will definitely help. Weekdays are hell, I found myself getting back from school, dinner, shower, lesson planning, bed. And it was like that for the whole year. Thankfully my University were incredibly supportive and planned our written assignments to be tied in with half terms, so we had two weeks to write essays separately from school planning. As for your partner, they'll have to try to understand as best they can the work load and pressure you'll be under, and know that this is your future career and you need to put that first. (Red wine Friday's helped myself and my flatmate through our PGCE!)

    I don't know how primary teachers do it, I only have one subject to think about, resources I could use with various year groups, whereas you have so many subjects to prepare for! A friend of mine has just secured her first Primary teaching job to start after half term and she couldn't be happier.

    I didn't think I would get a job this year as the vacancies were scarce, but I secured one after 6 applications and 2 interviews, even though it's a part time position I took it. Some people hate their school, but some people love it, I can't wait to go back to school and hopefully get more hours next year. You'll get your kids you can't stand but more than likely you'll find the special kids who'll make your day. I know someone who hates her school, yet she's sticking at it, getting the NQT year done and may move on next year if possible. Some people here may have fallen out of love with their job, and that's a shame. Take the experience you get from this placement of yours and use it for the PGCE. This year has taught me life is what you make of it, (having a good school bloody helps though.) All you can do is your best. You might have to remind yourself you like kids and teaching!!

    All the luck in the world for next year = )
  18. It is a hard job, no two days are the same and while the press and parents keep on about the holidays I can say that you will need them.
    I am always exhausted. You will have to do some work in the holidays and I would say every week end of term term. How much WILL soley depend on your head which is the unfairness of the job. I've worked for heads where I can do all my planning on Friday evening (by 9p) and have all my weekends free and most evenings with just an hour or so of work.
    I currently get to school by 7.30, work through lunch, stay until 5, do at least 2 hours each evening and several hours on Sunday.
    I was in work for some of the Summer break too and half looks like I may be in a few days.
    It is a great job but beware of the affect on your family which can be harsh.
  19. 8-5pm and every weekend off - Where do you work ???????????

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