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I need some career advice! :/

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by ONNAGE, May 30, 2016.


    ONNAGE New commenter

    Hi guys! First post here!

    I've just finished my second year studying Maths at a top ten university (I believe I am on course for a 1:1) and I feel incredibly anxious at the moment. Ever since I was in secondary school, I always felt that teaching was the profession I was going to go into. The majority of people in my course are going into finance and with the reputation of teaching at an all time low, I'm totally confused. Here are some of the key factors:

    1) I have experience teaching a full class, creating lesson plans etc due to summer tutoring. I also have experience of working within a classroom. I've loved every moment of it however I know this does not equate to experience in the teaching profession due to the bureaucracy, the unattainable targets, ofsted etc.

    2) Finances - Looking into the future, I would like to earn a wage where it would be possible for me to buy a house (West Midlands). I guess my apprehension is due to everything I hear in the news and just the complete economic instability that surrounds my generation. If I was to pick finance, I could begin with a graduate salary of £30,000 per annum. Teaching on the other hand is something I would do for free if I didn't have any financial responsibilities.

    3) Work-Life Balance - One of the biggest appeals of teaching was because it represented an excellent work-life balance, with excellent holidays, allowing me to both have a well-paid job where am I making a difference but to also be able to spend time with the people I care about the most.

    Thank you for reading this extremely long post. There are times where the future feels so suffocating and there are so many things to consider!! Argh!


    “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Onnage

    You have been blessed with a good mind and are in a good position at the moment - at least you have choices. You don't have to be anxious as you have plenty of time to decide what you might do after you graduate, but you are wise to consider very carefully your options.

    Teaching involves VERY long hours. It is not uncommon for some teachers to work 50+ hours each week. Many teachers work in the evenings after they arrive home and at least part of the weekend. Excessive workload is one of the reasons teachers are leaving the profession. Look up some of the statistics on how many teachers leave the profession within five years and I think you may be surprised.

    For a lot of teachers the six week summer holiday is usually about three weeks actual holiday and the rest planning and getting ready for the new academic year. Having excellent holidays is a myth since a lot of the holiday is used for work.

    Unless you get in a very good school, the behaviour in schools can be one of your biggest concerns.

    If you were to go into another field besides teaching, you could gain some experience and work for a few years and save some money and buy your house. Later on, you could always change and teach a bit later when you are older and have some other experience behind you. It is always a good idea to be able to have as many skills as possible.
  3. lmnop

    lmnop Occasional commenter

    I would be thinking very carefully if you have the option of earning £30000 outside of teaching. The truth is, if most teachers could get a job in a different field with such a salary, the teaching workforce would be decimated.

    If finance doesn't appeal, there must be many other options for a good maths graduate. And as said above, do not be overly swayed by the holidays. I can honestly say I preferred previous jobs where I only had 4 weeks BUT all evenings and weekends were free. This makes a huge difference.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. Alldone

    Alldone Senior commenter

    Pepper's advice is spot on. My advice is to get a high paid job first and buy the house. Then think about teaching. With a Maths First, schools will snap you up. I did this - worked in Chemical industry in Middle East and bought large house in North of England for cash. Then worked almost 30 years teaching in private schools. No mortgage means you can invest what you would have spent on it. Retired last year, good pension and financially secure. With a Maths degree you won't have to move abroad to get a high paying job. Don't waste it.
    Also if you then go in to teaching and want more of a work/life balance, Independent schools are something to consider - they do value work experience outside of teaching.
    agathamorse, 4m4xx and pepper5 like this.
  5. amchugh

    amchugh New commenter

    Hi everyone. I'm looking to start a website, designed for teachers looking for ways to make a living outside of teaching, either as a side hustle or for a complete career change. If this is something that would interest you, then please email me at therealteacherpreneur@gmail.com

    Also, if you have any suggestions about anything that would be of value to you on such a website then I would love to hear your ideas.

  6. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    It's great to go into teaching for the love of it, but you need to identify what will keep you there after the honeymoon period.

    This is a very concerning motivator which is going to let you down very quickly. For me, teaching gives you almost the polar opposite of a balanced life - you live one existence during term time and an entirely different one in the holidays.

    You may also find as a first class maths graduate from a top university that a career in education can be somewhat limiting in terms of intellectual freedom and challenge. Think carefully beyond the first two years.
    agathamorse, lmnop and DYNAMO67 like this.
  7. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    You'll be working a long time.

    Avoid teaching for now.
    wanet, Alldone, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  8. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    For god's sake don't do it.
    Alldone and pepper5 like this.
  9. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    I agree with @drvs. Maintaining any kind of work/life balance in teaching is a challenge! You use the holidays to recover from the frenetic pace of term-time, catch up on admin and prepare for the next term. Email is becoming an increasingly intrusive form of communication. I don't know about anyone else, but I have emails pinging through during the evening from both staff and parents. I try not to look at them after 9-10pm, but the temptation to do so in order to 'keep up' with it all is pretty constant. A chunk of the weekend is always spent on schoolwork, too. I do wonder what it must be like in a job where, when you get home, that's it until you arrive the next morning, and where you can have a coffee when you choose!
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    I have one of those jobs now and I have too much time. I leave work and feel like I have a whole other day before I go to bed. It's very strange. I've been here 3 months and I'm still not used to it.

    It is nice every Sunday when I spend the whole day doing things I want to do instead of having a near nervous breakdown from stressing over the endless list of jobs that need doing to an impossibly high standard!
    ViolaClef, wanet and pepper5 like this.
  11. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Agree with the others, most of what you want you will not find in teaching, unless you are very lucky, perhaps private sector.

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