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Is the joy of teaching still worth it?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Long hours, excessive workload, the constant pressure to produce results and being judged on data can often lead to a stressful and toxic work environment, but is there still room for job satisfaction and is it enough to remain in the profession? One teacher asks if the joy of teaching is worth it?

    ‘…All teachers will have spent long hours in the classroom writing reports, preparing lessons, marking coursework, satisfying the ongoing and persistent demands for data drops and providing intervention and one-to-one support for weaker students; and this is on top of actually teaching the students. Added to this are those dreaded after-school meetings that can take up to two evenings a week, the Ofsted visits that make us shudder and tremble and the sleepless nights and long evenings that precede them – all resulting in one toxic cocktail.

    Then, to top all that, there's the pressure on teachers to get the best possible results no matter what. Other factors are simply not taken into account and all blame, predictably, falls on the teacher. Children have a way of making life as difficult as they can in the classroom. Unruly behaviour is often the cause of poor performance and unsatisfactory outcomes. This, in turn, affects other students in the class, which then creates a stressful environment for the teacher…’
    The writer is a teacher in the UK

    What do you think? Do you still find teaching a fulfilling job? If yes/no, why? Is all the stress and sacrifice worth it?

  2. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    The original writer doesn't mention the morale-sapping effects of poor leadership. Maybe (despite all the other pressures) they're fortunate enough to work in a well-led school, which still happens.

    I stopped finding teaching fulfilling because I no longer had any faith in or respect for my senior managers. I'm finding classroom teaching fulfilling once more, but only because I'm a self-employed temporary visitor, not a permanent employee subject to somebody else's careerist agenda. There are plenty of dedicated teachers out there still doing a fine job, and it's been my privilege to work alongside many of them, but how they put up with all the bad stuff is beyond me.
  3. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Four years ago today (I remember because it's my birthday) was the deadline I had set myself to resign and leave teaching at the end of the Christmas term after 25 years or just knuckle down and stop thinking about leaving.

    I did my sums and made plans and decided to leave. It wasn't any one thing that made me go but a slow and continuous reloading of the see-saw, away from the "reasons to teach" end and onto the "reasons not to teach" end. I realised I didn't enjoy it much any more, that it wasn't going to get better any time soon and that I had a viable alternative that seemed far more attractive, so I jumped. The fact that in real terms my income had declined in recent years and was continuing to do so helped too.

    I haven't regretted it for a moment. Far from getting better, from what I read on here, hear in the news and from friends who are still teaching, things have continued to get worse. If I was the age I was when I entered teaching again I wouldn't consider it as a career the way it is now.

    The thing that surprised me most when I told colleagues I was leaving was how may of them were envious and said they wish they had an alternative but were trapped by family and/or financial circumstances. For most of my teaching career, it was almost unheard of for a teacher to leave in their early 50's to do something else, the reaction would have been puzzlement and not the absolute understanding I received.
  4. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    smoothnewt, Jamvic, bevdex and 2 others like this.
  5. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Likewise. :)
  7. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    If you can get the work-life balance right, and can weather the intrusions of the SLT and all their negativity, and avoid the back-stabbing of colleagues, and you have a class of kind children with reasonable parents who support and appreciate your efforts, then the job’s pleasant enough.

    I don’t have a problem with teaching - if people will just leave me to get on with it. It’s all the other stuff that gets in the way.
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Happy birthday MW!
    In answer to OP....................No.
    Not any more.
    Not for some years.
    The craft of teaching has been lost among repeated new curriculums and inept greasy pole climbers employed to sit in offices and tick boxes.
    The sheer volume of 'waste of time' activites is frightening, and the level of observations, appraisals and learning walks leaves one feeling under constant fear of being told how cR-@p you are.
    So no is the answer.
  9. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Sadly all true
    woollani and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Yes the joy is worth it. When they leave me alone.

    And happy birthday @Mangleworzle
  11. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    In the vast majority of schools - NO.

    If you find the right school, then YES.

    My Dad was a PE teacher in the 50s - 70s. I saw vast changes take place during these times and then from the 80s when I went into the fray. It is a very very different world out there now. It is horrible.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Sometimes - even in these dark days - yes.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Please Sir! was on the telly when I was a schoolkid. Although it was a sitcom, it would have needed a degree of realism of school life to make the comedy work. Perhaps it's worth revisiting a few episodes on YouTube to see whether they bring back memories of the golden age of teaching to compare with now.
    red_observer likes this.
  14. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Yes! I have been very fortunate in my career. I have only had one head that wasn't nice to work for, so I left hte school . I have had the good fortune to work with some lovely people -staff and children. I have thoroughly enjoyed my teaching. Just knowing that you have helped one child is reward enough. When it works well, it is the best job in the world.
  15. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    I agree with that. It’s a pity we’ve had our professionalism torn out of our hearts as teachers.
    sparklepig2002 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Therein lies the key. being allowed to use one's professional expertise. Dependent on

    I agree it can be the best job in the world - and on some days the worst.
  17. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

  18. silkywave

    silkywave Lead commenter

    Teaching is rewarding but very exhausting. The goal posts have been taken to another planet....
    henrypm0 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. A_Million_Posts

    A_Million_Posts Star commenter

    I'd not do it if I didn't enjoy it.
  20. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I still love actually teaching - those moments when you see a lightbulb literally turn on in a mind. When you read an essay/answer to a question and think "I taught them that"
    It's all the bull**** I can't stand. The endless questions about "the data" The fact that if you added up all the time it takes to deliver "new" initiatives (there's nothing new in teaching) we would realise that the total is probably nearly double the directed time limit.

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