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How do you feel about teaching?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lilyflynn, Feb 4, 2016.

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  1. lilyflynn

    lilyflynn New commenter

    I feel sad. Here's why.

    I'm three years into the profession. I moved away from five years of third sector work because of horrendous bullying from co-workers. Three years in one school, I do my best to keep my head down, contribute as much as possible, and above all, focus on the students. I get caught in a web of horrendous politics. By trying to keep my head down and keep out of it I am accused of being "Secretive" and "impersonal." One member of staff goes so far as to say I tell "tall stories." I don't remember telling anyone any stories, about anything. My life outside of school is my own. Am I not supposed to have a life?

    A friend has been forced to resign half way through his NQT year. Why? A child claimed to have burnt her hand in a science lesson - she didn't. There's no evidence of any injury to her, or parental complaint. The school still asks the teacher to leave.

    Every time I open the paper I feel like I see a news story about "teacher sues school for xyz" or "teacher accused of rape and abuse tries to get self reinstated unsuccessfully" or "parents make complaint about teaching..." Is there some kind of PR coming from the DofE to counteract the truthful media coverage on workload, pay and strikes? Are we being demonised by the media, as well as students, parents, leadership? Are leaders being pressured to silence teachers who are actually in desperate need of support?

    I read one story about teachers suffering with PTSD - Having regularly woken up having nightmares about work, my initial reaction: yeah.

    TeachFirst - A wonderful principle, a hideous, risky, career squashing practice.

    There are people leading our schools who have never been teachers.

    No-one I know seems to understand how tired you are when you teach all day, but how lost you are when you stop teaching.

    So I feel sad. Is being left on the front line in such a way true of any other profession? Is being mistreated, misjudged, undermined, overloaded, attacked and strung up just something you have to lump in day to day work?

    Having been a "top-graduate," and committed teacher, I now feel I never, ever want to go back into a school, no matter how much I liked it. I feel like my life is worth nothing.
  2. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Every job has it's stresses and strains but having been in the profession for 8 years I have found it getting worse, especially recently. My personal opinion is that the problem with education at the moment is that there is no responsibility being put on children and parents. The media portrays it all as being the job of the teacher and the parents attitude has very much become that it is our job to teach their child and not theirs. It almost appears to me that school is treated as a service which they have paid for. Time has been taken away from direct teaching of subjects to now having to: teach children how to work together, teach children how to deal with falling out with each other, teach children how to use the toilet, knife and fork etc etc the list goes on. There's also no longer responsibility put on the child for poor behaviour but it is the teachers fault which again is ludicrous.

    The other issue is the way the media portrays statistics. It is always done negatively. For example, if 10% of schools are deemed to be less than good this makes the headline when what it should read is that 90% of schools are good. On top of this is this crazy attitude that every minute of every lesson of every single day there needs to be rapid progress. This has crept in in the last few years and is ludicrous. I taught a maths lesson on Tuesday which went horrendously wrong, I pitched it too high and the children couldn't grasp it. However, I corrected it the next day and they made fantastic progress but if you'd walked into my class on the Tuesday I would have been judged to have been inadequate, which is a joke.

    Finally, the constant drive for "even better if" or EBI, something I will never use. Every piece of work children produce could be better. Every piece of work a teacher produces, every lesson, every moment of every day gets an EBI. It is ridiculous. Sometimes consolidation is needed and sometimes it needs to be acknowledged that children and teachers are human and, for the most part, are doing a really good job.
    TEA2111, lardylady and JRiley1 like this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I'm retired. Thank God.

    But partner works and so do daughters. I think everyone is under the cosh at the moment. None of them is in teaching.

    All different sectors. I would say everyone is overworked and all workplaces are understaffed. Everyone is worried about being outsourced.

    BUT teaching seems infinitely worse. For the reasons you stated @lilyflynn

    Bullying by management
    Constant observation
    Lack of time
    Too much paperwork
    Etc etc etc

    Your life is worth plenty. You are articulate and I bet you're good at your job (you know, the dealing with people bit). Not your fault you've come into teaching at a bad time. So very sorry you feel like this.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Maybe try another school (certainly none of those I worked in had internal politics such as you describe, for example). Or, if you can, think of working in a school abroad?

    Otherwise I would guess from what you say you are young enough to make a new start in another profession - but, be aware, as GDW says (post #3), the grass isn't always greener!
  5. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    The OP says it all about the way teaching is these days. I find it quite sad. Up until about 10 years ago it was great but the rot started to set in and it's got a lot worse in the last 5.

    As for other jobs I would say that in the public sector things have got really bad in the last 5 years and moral is very low. Seems if you work in the public sector then it is OK to be a punch bag (especially so if you are a teacher). I think this is also true in some large private businesses.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have got out of teaching and now work for a small private company. I feel appreciated and frequently get thanked for the work I am doing (something alien in teaching these days). The thing is, in teaching it was once like that. You got thanked for the work you were doing, you felt appreciated where did it all go wrong.

    My son had a parents evening the other night and both my wife and I made a point of thanking the teachers for their time. Just little gestures like that make all the difference.
    ricjamclick and RedQuilt like this.
  6. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    How do I feel about teaching? I've come to the conclusion that unless you're one of the lucky ones in a decent place with good leadership then it's potentially toxic, injurious to health and soul-destroying.
    I've escaped the 'profession' now but I do worry about the people left having to deal with it.
    diane1987 and indusant like this.
  7. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    After another day on the front line in which I have been verbally abused and made to feel s**t by 11 and 12 year olds ALL DAY LONG there really are no words to describe how I feel about teaching right now.

    Ok, here's one:battered. I feel battered.
    TEA2111 and JRiley1 like this.
  8. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I had a hard time at my last school [it was a one-year fixed term], but happily have moved onto (and back into) a lovely girls' independent - there are many pastoral issues, but my paperwork is a lot less. Instead of marking 320 exercise books across KS3, I have about 50 - very doable. I enjoy teaching again, but I know the other side of it and it was awful.
  9. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    I honestly think that there should be signs up in schools like you see in hospitals about abusing staff. If they start abusing staff they don't get education they get sent home. Zero tolerance.
  10. nomorenails

    nomorenails New commenter

    Also sad. It's the only thing I've ever been good at and I'm leaving this year. Breaking my heart, but it's better than breaking my health any further than it already has.
  11. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    This situation is bad enough but knowing that school management will put all the blame on you instead of your abusers makes it many times worse. You have my sympathy @JessicaRabbit1. I left to work in an Independent school. The days are longer, the marking load is heavier but being in the classroom with the kids is a pleasure instead of a battle.
  12. Ray Higgins

    Ray Higgins New commenter

  13. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    On the topic of private education, it is my suspicion that a post academy apocalypse will then root out those academies and free schools that were opening in a hybristic flurry of self-righteousness in place of knowledge and experience. Having thus emptied the budget entirely, those that are left will be at liberty to charge.
    People value what they pay for. A friend of mine is a psychologist in family counselling working with adolescents who suffer from eating disorders and other neuroses. She offers the same programme of therapy to both private and NHS referrals.
    The patients who get treated for free are far more likely to complain and claim it has made no difference but those who paid, on top of the fee at the end of the course, give her cards, gifts, flowers and wine to show gratitude.
    I'm not a proponent of private education; I'm just observing that there appears to be a strange contradiction in people's attitude to public services.
    I have worked in both sectors and it has to be said that a GCSE course is a GCSE course. A teacher is a teacher and a school is a school. In a different context, I am still the same person doing the same job.
    A generation of anti teacher propaganda has led people to believe otherwise which leads so many parents to distrust us.
    The obvious flaw in the argument that private is better is clear for most teachers to see. Most of us trained in state schools and learned our skills in non-fee paying schools.
  14. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    Left December. Just into my 5th year and it has changed much in the last 18 months. I too am sad. I was ill from WRS and depression. Then I was angry and now I have decided I need to concentrate on my own children and support them and their teachers.

    Another experienced, qualified maths teacher decides to put health and family first..
    cazzmusic1 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  15. burntoutteacher

    burntoutteacher Occasional commenter

    Depressed and miserable. In fact, I'd say my feelings towards my job at the moment are bordering on hatred. I loathe going in every day. Morale at my school is at an all time low. Whispers of people breaking down into tears this week. A handful of staff off on long term stess related illness. I'm leaving in July THANK GOD. Don't care what I do next to be perfectly honest. State education is a complete and utter pantomime.
    old_dobbin and grumpydogwoman like this.
  16. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Grumpydogwoman makes a good point about everyone being under the cosh these days. The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer and the inequality in society is getting wider (having reached a peak of relative equality in the 1960s/70s) Thus we are effectively returning to the days of the Victorian mill owners and the factory workers only these days the instruments of torture are not the spinning jenny but the Excel spreadsheet and its data!
  17. burntoutteacher

    burntoutteacher Occasional commenter

    I suppose the difference is that in a profession such as nursing, when you have had a long stressful 10 hour shift at a hospital, you're then not expected to take a pile of patient notes home with you to write up for 5 hours every night. Us teachers are complete and utter mugs.
  18. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Done EFL overseas for a few years and been doing alternative provision style stuff for a few years now. Both incredibly good with lots of great people.

    Inbetween that was a long spell in mainstream. Ok when I started, but the nonsense in it now is incredible to see. It has gone from a respectable profession to an almost totally non-evidence based job mired in mumbo jumbo, people running schools who do not have the first idea about what the data they love actually means and the limitations inherent in it, an insane protocol surrounding capability and observations and a complete loss of the purpose and meaning of education. A godawful situation that won't be remedied by the continued loss of good people and the rise of underqualified new teachers, completely unqualified teachers, managers and heads lacking the experience and wisdom to do the right thing by pupils, parents and staff. I don't think I'd last a week now.
  19. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I'm experienced and still enjoy teaching on a day-to-day, working with the children kind-of-way. However, all the paperwork and bureaucracy is wearing me down. I feel I can only last another year or so (and with any luck it'll be mostly on maternity leave). Sad, but it's how a lot of people are feeling, I know.

    The thought of leaving really excites me. And to think, I'm relatively new enough that I can still remember the thrilling feeling I had of starting out my NQT year.
  20. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Indeed BOT! We are all under the cosh, (unless you're in the 'ruling elite') but some more than others!
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
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