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Is teaching some subjects more stressful than others?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by wiemaranerlover, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. keithguilder

    keithguilder New commenter

    The previous person also forgot the other stressful factor of ICT; the reliance on technology that often has mind of its own and won't work (for no apparent reason) from one day to the next. Also that every 'upgrade' (eg Microsoft Office) often requires re-learning how to do the simplest of tasks as some 'boffin' has decided that icons should be re-located in the strangest of places
  2. I'm biased, but I'd say English is far more stressful than either of the other 'core' topics; in Maths and Science, the answers are either right or wrong, and so marking's just a tick/cross affair. English marking is just evil. A set of GCSE Controlled Assessments, combined with KS3 exams can cause some serious problems. My Christmas marking was obscene - 5 days

    I don't know about other English teachers herein, but in what is laughingly called our PPA time, I generally only get time for one of the three. Marking my class' books properly - checking spelling, punctuation etc - takes solid hours. That's annoying when I've seen maths colleagues marking books in about 2 minutes flat with an answer sheet in one hand and a cuppa in the other!!

    Add to this my standard litany of complaints about stupidly high targets set by out-of-touch heads who've never set foot in an English classroom before, and we have the most stressful job in the world.
  3. Good points
    I say to my adult learners that with technology comes breakdown. Nothing lasts forever. By choosing to learn ICT you choose to try and learn what to do when things go wrong. Also the soft and hardware is always on the move with Windows 8 and Office 2013 (?) on the way and move away from laptop/desktop to touch screen/tablet.
    But that's what makes it exciting! If it worked 100% of the time and never got updated what a boring life we would lead. Word for DOS? No Thanks!
  4. SAM1CH

    SAM1CH New commenter

    Yup, Spar... The national shop of Wales.
  5. Sci-Guy

    Sci-Guy New commenter

    I would love to be a PE or Art teacher. I don't imagine there is as much planning or preparation of resources as there is in other subjects plus when demonstrating how to work should be done (or just joining in, not sure if that happens) sports and art can be very stress relieving.
    In addition to all the target setting, marking, planning and teaching etc. In science we have to book practicals days in advance and stress over all the equipment staying unbroken and hoping no students lose their skin somehow.

    I'm not sure how well this answer refers to the original pos but yes I think some subjects do get a lot more stress than others.
  6. I agree with the TrevPCaughie in terms of work-load - and its even worse if you also teach at 'A' level, but I think in terms of stress relating to getting results, Maths Departments, as the other subject that the school is judged on, must also have high levels of stress. Certainly as far as my school is concerned, the stress is largely caused by the unrealistic FFT targets. We are expected to turn D (CAT predicted pupils) into A's, C's into A* - an enormous task in classes of 28+ with no additional help and with no consideration taken of SEN.

  7. Spot on, hermione. Eek indeed.Just add in the comments like ' are you a proper teacher?' (child) and 'I suppose you could go into catering' (fellow teacher) and your day will be complete!!
  8. tan_ickle

    tan_ickle New commenter

    Hi - I am a year 6 teacher in junior school - we get as much stress to get chn to level 5 in maths and english!

  9. lighthouse_keeper

    lighthouse_keeper New commenter

    I teach English and MFL. The marking in English is HORRIFIC. The pressure for results equally so. I would not wish to devalue MFL teaching in any way, but having taught both, I have found English much more heavy on the marking.
    That said, classroom is sometimes easier as they can see the "point" in English where MFL they couldn't, but if you work somewhere where MFL is an option, you can reduce that slightly.
    I must stress again that I don't wish to annoy any MFLers by saying this! It's only my personal experience!
  10. I’ve been teaching for 35 years and have jumped about a lot, mainly in KS2 and KS3. Periods of supply, Head of Department, Manager of a PRU, always avoiding being pushed into senior management. I now have an advisory role and have the great privilege of observing a couple of lessons a day on average, mostly in High Schools
    I reckon that by far the most stressful job is in the Primary classroom. Most Secondary teachers would not believe the level of planning, preparation and differentiation that teachers do in KS1 and KS2. After 7 years of working 70-80 hours a week in KS2 I burnt out and had to take a year off.
    The key to low-stress teaching is behaviour management. Most primary teachers are masters at it. Secondary teachers don’t have enough opportunity to learn from skilful colleagues. When I hear teachers ask those stupid ‘Why? Questions, my heart sinks. (Why are you late? Why haven’t you done your homework?) And when I see a teacher raise their voice as the noise level rises I want to slit my throat.
    I’m happiest teaching Science which I regard as pure fun. English? MFL? – No Thanks

  11. Teaching English is always stressfull! For a start most people forget we teach two GCSE's:English and Literature. Secondly the marking is horrendously time consuming. Thirdly we get the blame if pupils' Literacy is not great in all other subject areas and last of all (but not least) the extra pressure of 5 A*-C's including English and Maths!
    Where I teach, the English dept have the best GCSE results in school, even though 90% of pupils are EAL and yet we have been accused of 'taking it easy'! Ridiculous! We add a few percent every year to our A*-C's yet we are still being hounded. We can't do right for doing wrong!
  12. I don't know about some subjects being more stressful than others. I work in school with a small sixthform and and teach lead two A levels and do 3/4 of the teaching. That means I have to teach 3 A different level lessons most days of the week - that is exhausting!
  13. Now, I'm sure most PE and Art teachers are just not taking the bait, but, after the day I've had, I'm going to bite.

    As a PE teacher in a school that completely disregards the subject from an academic perspective (and yes, there are many arguments either way, that's not my point tonight) and then takes away our 'classroom', the school hall for an average of 37% of our lessons over the past 5 years (yes, I'm sad and worked it out), run us on a timetable where the whole department are 2 or 3 (each) lessons over allocation, expect us to run recreational and competitive squads and then criticise us when we only come 3rd with 4 teams in the second round of county finals and don't make it through to National Schools.

    Today I taught (not sitting back and watching, 90% hands on/ demonstrating/activeness etc) from 7:45 until 6:30pm. The last kid was picked up at 6:45pm. I had break duty and then an hour off. In this PPA time, I prepared for the xc race that it was requested I organise against some local schools so that all kids in the year group are ensured an experience of competing against others. I also tended to medical and social concerns about the upcoming ski trip and phoned a parent I ran a club all lunch hour, scoffing back a sandwich in the 10 mins 'free time'.

    In a gym lesson today, a kid landed on their neck and we had a serious scare. Nothing any risk assessment or change in teaching could have prevented. Just a pure accident. And how am I so confident of this - well, I was being observed of course - and 3 prospective parents where looking around the school, so they witnessed the whole thing too!

    So there is another enormous load of paper work to cover all the RIDDOR procedures etc. Thankfully, my lesson planning and schemes of work, as well as the thorough knowledge of the kids and proof of their current skill ability thanks to the digital recording/editing IT work we do means I know my but is covered. I am yet to find out if there is any bony damage as the parent hasn't emailed me yet.

    So the planning that I have for tomorrow isn't too complex, just 6 lessons worth. Thankfully, 2 of those are the same and thankfully, we have a reasonably detailed SoW to fall back on for when days become like this.

    Tomorrow I teach 7:45am until 2:30pm. Bonus! I even have 40 mins for lunch. But I have a match with 2 teams playing away from 4-7pm. Then to catch up on whatever emails etc need dealing with and also ensuring the equipment/paperwork etc is set in place and good to take to the XC race with over 150 kids running in a public park.

    Sometimes, I think I would prefer to sit down to a glass of wine in a warm house at a desk and mark 90 books!

    Phew! Thanks for letting me get that rant off my chest!
  14. I hate doing PE cover


  15. Interesting that you start your post by slagging off other professionals rather than saying what stresses you about your subject.
    I teach 3 different subjects, one core subject and two arts, in all honesty the arts are often more time consuming and stressful than the core subject despite the pressure on that core subject.
    I saw this thread when it first came out and didn't reply because I think all subjects are stressful in different ways when you do your job well.
  16. Haha! Thanks for getting it off your chest! It saved the job for me!
    I teach dance and PE...I don't sit down, I don't stop. When I get home (mostly between 6-7pm) I have to plan for the next day. This is not just 'let's play a game of rounders' planning, these are lessons which follow a scheme of work, are objective led, have differentiated outcomes, have a range of peer and self assessment, build on prior knowledge, develop independent and critical thinkers, develop social skills, problem-solving skills, literacy and numeracy, are formatively and summatively assessed, have starters and plenaries, are differentiated and designed to meet the needs of every individual in the class. The subject content may change between subjects, but the teaching and learning remains the same. That is why a teaching qualification means that technically you can teach any subject.
    And try writing cover for dance or PE....or getting 30 year 9 boys that tower above you, who haven't really done much dance before to dance in an enclosed space....then do all the assessments (PE is moving to the APP style seen in science and other subjects), then perhaps go in during the holidays for rehearsals before practical exams, whilst marking a class load of essays and preparing for the next round of theory lessons...because contrary to popular opinion, PE, dance and drama do have theory and even a written exam. But if that wasn't stressful enough in comparison, perhaps you'd like to run around finding PE equipment, stress if it's broken and wonder how you're going to deal with the kid on the rugby pitch who has just lost their skin....
    Each subject has it's stresses and strains. Dependent on the subject this will be balanced out in different ways. We are all teachers, we all teach. Same stress, different contexts.
  17. I teach Media BTEC and Film A level but I used to teach SEN English and Media GCSE at a high school. Keeping students who struggle interested in a subject where it was compulsory to teach Shakespeare was ridiculous, I once asked the question 'can anybody name any plays which Shakespeare wrote other than Macbeth?' one eager students hand shot up and shouted out 'Midsomer Murders!' - I'm sure John Nettles will be happy... I started out straight out of Uni as a teaching assistant though and I think a lot more credit needs to go to them, with criminally low pay, working across all subject areas in many cases and dealing with some of the most challenging students in a school most of the time. Anybody willing to do that for £700 a month?!
  18. That's a good question, I'll let you know in about 18 months when it's been running for a year! There is of course the issue that the school is being given almost no support with the process, and have been told they have until 1st September this year to get the Academy organised, so it can change over by then (no pressure!!)
  19. The stress depends on whether you care or not. Also on the resources you have or don't have. I am a HOD for ICT in a secondary school. I do not have any full time ICT teachers, I have to borrow all the staff from other departments. we have 3 ICT suites but need 6. In a room of 30 computers generally about 20 might work if you are lucky. On average we have 28 pupils in a class. That maens on average 16 pupils sharing a PC every lesson. Pupils have 1 lesson a week in KS4 and pupils are expected to complete either a GCSE or Full BTEC diploma. My budget for repairs, upgrades and replacement equipment is 20p.
    In all other subjects pupils get 3 lessons a week in KS4, they have first option to use the only ICT suite in the school that works and ICT is taught in the oldest suite.I have been given 2 teachers for KS4 who don't even know how to turn a PC on and when a computer is turned on, they run for cover.
    No other department would be expected to be able to survive, but then anyone can teach ICT and KS4 ICT is so simple if the pupils can copy and paste then they will pass the exam. You then got Mr Gove saying you are rubbish, your subject is rubbish and you need to improve.
    I should be suffering from stress, but basically my first statement answers the question.
  20. ****. Please educate yourself. I would, but that would be dignifying your stupid, stupid comments.
    Unless of course you're just trolling, in which case, blah blah... blah.

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