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Is the grass greener?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by SJC_Drama, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. SJC_Drama

    SJC_Drama New commenter

    Hi all, currently working in an RI school which is desperately trying to reach good and beyond in the next OFSTED inspection.

    As you can imagine, it is currently a very stressful place to work currently, and while I am not adverse to hard work, it's starting to bring me down.

    Some examples: regular book scrutinies to check that the demanding marking policy is followed correctly, lessons must be planned following a pro-forma and emailed to SLT before the following week starts, data regarding student progeess to be inputted on target tracker every few days, lots of after school meetings each week, head is often moody, SLT quite disorganised, generally quite a stressful atmosphere which feels more critical than supportive.

    I know none of this sounds probably sounds uncommon, but my question is, are there actually schools out there that are actually nice and enjoyable to work in or is this kind of just how teaching is at the moment?

    Could the grass be a bit greener somewhere else?!
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    My current place is great. Staff are lovely, students are pleasant, SLT are ok. I consider myself very lucky.
    thekillers1, yasf, sabrinakat and 4 others like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter


    Possibly nowhere is beautiful Wimbledon Tennis Court standard of green, but certainly there are plenty of places which are more green than dried out brown.
  4. roydenkeith

    roydenkeith New commenter

    The thing I most notice in a lot of these posts is that children’s education is rarely mentioned As a profession we have let our judgement or professiolism be ignored As an individual I understand you cannot fight against it But do the things which benefit the students you teach and let others go with the bare minimum of attention
  5. oceanroc7

    oceanroc7 New commenter

    MY school is well run with supportive SLT and (mostly) kind and well-behaved children. the Headteacher is fantastic and I entirely trust and respect him to care about staff welfare.

    But even so - learning walks, marking 14 sets of books a week, increasing numbers of lunchtime and break duties.... It just gets harder and harder to do the job.
    I just feel that we are being squeezed tighter and tighter every year.
    drek, Alice K, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Teaching is not a 'profession' - it is a job, no more and no less. The hourly pay is less than that in nursing or the police and there is no Overtime pay or bonus pay ( or even mobility pay in places),.no voice , and little respect given to it by some in UK society who sadly see it as child minding. Indeed the word 'professionalism' in teaching means unpaid extra voluntary work, usually over dinnertime, after school and/or over the halfterm breaks.

    You have bills to pay and you want to enjoy what you do - in a stress free, safe environment. Yes OP, there are nicer schools out there :):):)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    drek, henrypm0, roman_eagle and 2 others like this.
  7. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    RI schools are hard work - because there isn't the support mechanisms that might be in place if you were in SW or SM.
    I've been leading a school that is RI for 6 years - climbing out of that seems impossible because I refuse to cram children for SATS tests. And yes, I try and manage the worked of staff, have provided access to counselling services etc - and we actually have a good team ethos - but I cannot deny the cost to them, myself and governors. I know that several teachers have moved on to jobs in good or outstanding schools because of the pressures we have faced - and I don't blame them one tiny bit. All of their new schools have remarked upon their leadership abilities, and they have quickly been given promotion as a result. So, the CPD I provided has had impact on them and the children they teach - the problem for me, is that the impact isn't in my school. So we are still RI.

    You need to be kind to yourself and put in some boundaries. Have some time when you absolutely do no work.
    But make no mistake - RI is tough.
  8. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    It could be a lot greener. I was in a similar school, then left. My new school was a longer commute, but there was:

    - a paired down marking policy (highlight/tick, occasional comment)
    - no written planning monitored, instead you uploaded your resources / flip charts to the computer, where possible
    - once termly book monitoring
    - a supportive SLT who sent you home if they caught you still in school after 5.30pm (and the school closed at 6pm), earlier on a Friday. One SLT member even helped me with my marking one night!
    - tracking was once in the autumn term and once in the summer term
    - staff meeting once a week and then a joint planning meeting for English once a week

    And suddenly... I had my life back! My advice? Make a switch.
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Wisdom passed on by my father, "The grass is never greener, just the weeds are better hidden'.
  10. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    I personally don't even think Teaching is just a job nowadays. I think that it is closer to being a "sweatshop environment" with a soul-destroying regime of Targets, non-stop scrutiny and overly-critical analysis.
    It is warped and twisted around to match the latest Government Agenda / Fad to the detriment of Teacher Professionalism and Pupil enjoyment.
    drek, agathamorse, Sinnamon and 2 others like this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    I agree on some level. The amount of unpaid Overtime, and the lack of Union recognition- as well.as the amount of monitoring - makes it less than a job in some places. But there are 'nice' teaching jobs out there still :cool:
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    I've worked in literally every category of Ofsted rated school. The monitoring etc is the same in all of them.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. install

    install Star commenter

    My experience has been very different. I have found RI and Outstanding schs the worse for stressful monitoring and low morale :cool:
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    RI is hard going. Cornflake tells it how it is. Look around at other schools but check their OFSTED reports as well.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    I've worked in a school that was 'good' when I started but the Ofsted we had when I was there put us into RI. It was absolutely justified. The place was a toxic environment from top down. The SLT team and Head were bullies. Ridiculous marking policy (had to take 95 books once to a scrutiny) awful behaviour from the pupils that was denied by SLT who said 'we very rarely have bad behaviour here' and absolutely no organisation or logic to any decisions being made.

    Moved then to an 'outstanding' school. My first year there was far better than the first school. SLT and Head seemed genuinely supportive. Behaviour was still a challenge but systems were in place and mostly logical. Better marking policy...but then slowly it all started to unravel. Results dipped so SLT began to finger point. Behaviour of the kids started to get worse and worse and if you used the systems you then got called in for a little chat and it was intimated that it was your lesson or a lack of rigorous marking that led to the poor behaviour.

    So I am leaving in January to the private sector and hoping it's a lot better. I don't mind working hard and maybe even longer if I can actually teach my lessons and be trusted as a professional and supported.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Outstanding schools are tough - the whole onus is on maintaining Outstanding, and anyone who is seen falling short will be under scrutiny.

    You will get support in a private school - but be wary. Parents in private schools can be more exacting than parents in state schools - they are directly paying for their child's education, and therefore some will see you as their servant. For example, emailing the Head to complain that essays that were handed in on Tuesday are not marked by Wednesday. Never mind there are 24 in the class and each essay takes about 10 minutes to mark. Before this is dismissed as scaremongering, I've worked in two private schools, and can state this is from my own observations. Plus, Independents have their own standards, and because of the pressure of money, will hold teachers to account. Standards slip, rolls fall, money drops...yep. There is pressure, and there are politics. Nowhere is a bed of roses.
  17. GirlGremlin

    GirlGremlin Occasional commenter

    I think every school has its stresses. I worked in an outstanding school for 3 years and the scrutiny was insane. As was the denial about behaviour problems - they sided with the kids and undermined you every time. If there were behavioural problems, YOU were seen as an issue, and didn't the kids know it.

    I'm in a good school now - much better for support with behaviour, and the scrutiny is much more manageable. BUT the school is much smaller - and am now teaching 3 subjects at A2 level, a random lesson of PE, have no repeat lessons and feel like I am barely staying afloat. Again. But for completely different reasons.
    drek likes this.
  18. drek

    drek Star commenter

    That is precisely how I feel. Good school in terms of generally leaving you to plan and teach your 42 to 46 teaching hours per fortnight. The amount of hours and the groups you teach can make a huge difference in terms of admin hours per group. So some are squeezing all the hours in a day possible already.
    But then come CPD sessions and inset days and suddenly new data/policy systems are introduced without considering the effect on teachers whose subjects have completely different academic and planning hours requirements.
    Then the nightmares for those with the least free hours, the highest numbers of the worst behaved and SEND students a week begins...........
    And in a school such as you have described this can mean complete exhaustion, weakened immune systems and prone to illness both mental and physical.
    In all honesty having slogged in one such thankless environment.....I left for other pastures. Greener maybe not but I did get my sanity back!

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