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lack of ambition in teaching

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by BGSG9, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. BGSG9

    BGSG9 New commenter

    Hi all, I've been in secondary teaching for some years now and, as a non-british national, it didnt take me long to realise how ambitious people are in this country when it comes to career progression. I've taught in different schools, for short periods of time in all of them, and ive seen real ambition and competition to get a promotion. I simply come from a culture where we're not that career driven I guess. Im happy with my pay and my responsibilities and I dont want any more. Is that a bad thing? I like what i do but I dont want to be HoD, HoY or have any extra responsibilities other than my regular teaching timetable. How acceptable is that long term? I'm scared that, if I end up settling down in a school and they see no ambition to get a promotion or get more involved with the school over time, they might ask me to stand down from my job? I've seen colleagues and heads of faculty apply for HoD positions they did not want to get just to show the head they're 'on the game' and deserving of their current positions, which I found shocking. Any thoughts welcome. thank you in advance.
    christubbs likes this.
  2. colacao17

    colacao17 Lead commenter

    It's not a bad thing. I am not ambitious either in the sense of climbing the ladder - my ambition is to be the best teacher I can and to continue enjoying my time in the classroom. **
    At interview, present it as such. Climbing the ladder often means losing touch with the classroom. Focussing on what you do with the students, in the classroom, will only be a problem for those who have lost sight of why we become teachers.

    ** Not enjoying it at all in current covid climate, but hopefully that's temporary.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    To reassure you, a head cannot ask you to leave because you aren't wanting promotions. It simply isn't going to happen. If you are a great teacher, who wants to carry on teaching, any head would be glad of the stability.

    Getting involved with school life is a bit different. Many heads will want you to run after school clubs (once covid is under control) or help out with the summer fete. And in a more teaching way, they may ask you to have a trainee in your class or mentor an NQT in your department. But none of these are onerous or time consuming and are part of being an experienced teaching making a contribution to school life.

    Find a school you love and then settle down, relax and enjoy teaching.

    I've had various department and key stage responsibilities in my time, middle leader stage, but currently have none at all...and that's after 24 years of teaching. No one bats an eyelid.
    steely1 and BGSG9 like this.
  4. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Lead commenter

    its quite normal, I think. A lot of promotions go to NQT locally, as the more experienced teachers don't want them. I've done the promotion thing, didn't like it, won't bother again
    agathamorse and BGSG9 like this.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I was once acting HOD and I realized very quickly that it wasn't for me.
    agathamorse and BGSG9 like this.
  6. BGSG9

    BGSG9 New commenter

    @peakster funny to see how different schools react to this. I had a colleague in the same position in my current school; she was HoD and was fed up after 2 years. Couldnt / didnt want to step down until she got pregnant, which she used as the excuse to get away from it...so what she did was return part time after maternity leave so that she wouldnt have to be HoD anymore, claiming she wanted more quality time with her kids. She struggled until she could get away from the situation
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Sadly - many people who achieve promoted positions are precisely the sort of people who shouldn't.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Teaching is an incredibly ageist job. It may be that pressure - through Performance Management or due to lack of a good salary - makes some young people feel that it is normal to aim high.

    We have teachers now who paid approx £36,000 to get their degree and Teacher qualification. They also see the nice life that some senior managers have in some schools. And then they experience maybe incompetence from those above and think there is no harm in constantly securing a higher post.

    It is the UK way in schools, but let it all pass over you. There are more important things in life like health and happiness and a good work/life balance.
    Bungie, Jolly_Roger15 and christubbs like this.
  9. christubbs

    christubbs New commenter

    Stay on the lower rungs of the ladder...You'll still be teaching in decades to come, some of them may not be. Someone I worked with would have sold their grandmother for a promotion...they are now SLT but widely ridiculed!
    Bungie likes this.
  10. Bungie

    Bungie Occasional commenter

    So many ambitious teachers introduce pointless initiatives that produce stress and extra work for their colleagues, and do nothing to help pupils. These ambitious folk then move schools every couple of years, leaving chaos and destruction behind them, only to reproduce the same ghastly mess elsewhere. It is time that schools recognised that dedicated classroom teachers are the bedrock on which the success of every pupil rests, and that such teachers must be rewarded and retained. There was a time that moving schools every couple of years was looked at askance - an indication that the person had no staying power or strength of character!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Each to their own. Many teachers are not anxious for promotion; I reached the dizzy heights of 2nd in Maths, and continued in that role quite happily until I retired. Several of my colleagues also had no interest in promotion. So it is a bit of a generalisation to say that people in this country are all ambitious. I have worked for a couple of foreign banks, and the desire for promotion in the US one was particularly strong for quite a few people.

    If I were you, I would ignore those colleagues who are anxious to climb the ladder, and just focus on being a good teacher. Any management that knows what it is doing will appreciate an effective staff member who is happy to stay where they are.
    Bungie, Jolly_Roger15 and steely1 like this.
  12. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Purely as I was 'the last man standing', I became Head of Chemistry for a year, when Our schools were amalgamating, in the early Eighties. The experience confirmed to me that I was not suited to any sort of administration! Thirty years ago, with the advent of things like the UPS, teachers were encouraged and mildly rewarded for staying in the classroom.

    By the time my last school became an academy, things had changed completely. We were all 'invited' in for 'let's get acquainted' chats with the new management, in which it was implied that those of us who had chosen in stay as classroom teachers had only done so as we were rubbish at our jobs!

    As @Bungie said, untold damage and misery is caused by the job-hopping greasy pole climbers, who go from school to school, creating havoc by implementing 'whole school initiatives' to look good on their CVs, and moving on, leaving those remaining to live with the consequences, and try and repair the damage'
    Bungie likes this.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I was asked to do an SLT role for a year, while someone took a sabbatical. I think I did a good job, but it convinced me that I didn't want to move any higher. Too many meetings with people trying to impress rather than doing anything constructive. The upside was that I bought myself a couple of nice things with part of the extra pay.
    phlogiston, Jolly_Roger15 and Bungie like this.
  14. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Those dreadfully pointless, boring 'meetings' in which everyone is on 'transmit' and nobody on 'receive'. :(
    Piranha and Bungie like this.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The last one I went to, an off site day, was the worst. We all had to give a five minute presentation about what we had done during the year and priorities for next year. Strictly five minutes, they said, and I came in at just under that. Nobody else managed less that ten minutes, not including the time taken to set up their PowerPoints. I just talked. Not surprisingly, I was very late getting home.
    phlogiston, Jolly_Roger15 and Bungie like this.
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @Piranha: Meeting room theatre, with props. :(
    Piranha likes this.
  17. Newidentity

    Newidentity Occasional commenter

    I have no ambition to take on an extra role, TLR, whatever. I like teaching, and I want to do the best job I can. I went into teaching after a few different jobs, where I satisfied my need to progress and found that the view from the top wasn't what I thought it would be when I was at the bottom.
    enyliram likes this.
  18. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Nothing wrong with it at all.

    I've seen people promoted beyond their abilities have nervous breakdowns and leave schools crying.

    I've seen people avoid promotion, gain excellent results, and retire happily and in good health.

    You cannot be sacked for not wanting promotion. In fact, in some schools, it's a wide decision.
    Piranha likes this.

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