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PGCE and a young family?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by ClareAMc83, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. ClareAMc83

    ClareAMc83 New commenter

    Hi, I’m in the process of applying to do a PGCE in primary ( 3-7).
    I really want some advice/opinions from people who’ve recently completed the course and in particular those with young children. ( Mine will be 1 and 3 when I start).
    Am I mad starting my PGCE with them being so young? Should I wait? I honestly don’t know what to do for the best. Is the workload as hideous as I’ve heard?
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Think carefully about your reasons for wanting to start a career in teaching at this point of your life. Make sure that you are aware of the realities of the job and that it fits with your vision for your children's childhood.

    Teaching is hard work, especially when you are starting out. During your PGCE and first few years in the job, you can expect to work long hours and still rarely feel as if you're on top of everything. For me, the most difficult part was the relentlessness, the fact that the children were there every day, needing to be taught - if I got behind on anything, it was almost impossible to catch up again because there was always stuff to prepare for the next day. That wasn't so bad on the PGCE because your time in schools was split into placements so there was an end in sight, but during my NQT year I found it hard.
    VickyCat, ClareAMc83 and agathamorse like this.
  3. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    It is not a family friendly job. You will need to be in school for 8.25 and stay until, who knows when. At some primaries it's 5, others earlier or later and there's always work to do at home in the evenings and weekends. You won't be allowed to go to see nativity plays or sports days either, unless you've got a very understanding Head.
    VickyCat, ClareAMc83 and install like this.
  4. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    Is it possible? Yes but go in with eyes completely open--Expect long hours, expect working once your children are in bed, expect long days when you have parents evening and open evening.

    Expect that you'll work every Sunday in term time. I remember waving my family out of the door and firing up the laptop every Sunday afternoon and it was grim.

    I did a PGCE with a 22 month old. I was lucky to have an incredible support network which helped. It would be twice as tough with another very young baby. I lasted 18 months after qualifying and I wouldn't go back, it's really not a family friendly profession.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    My advice is 'Don't do it.' It's a thankless job. The hours, the low pay per hour (less than nursing or police),no overtime pay, poor pay scales, lack of Union acceptance in places, the endless hoops to jump through, bullying in places and endless scrutiny to name a few.

    Find a better career with more flexibility. It beats leaving or burning out .
  6. ClareAMc83

    ClareAMc83 New commenter

    Thanks for your replies. I’m ex police so been there, done that...
    Any suggestions of a better career?! I hate office work...and ( corny as it sounds) I do want to make a difference somewhere/somehow!
    VickyCat and Shedman like this.
  7. ClareAMc83

    ClareAMc83 New commenter

    Right....thanks for your reply! Can I ask what you’re doing now?? Just out of interest...
    I’m scared of making the wrong decision..
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Nursing is better paid. You get overtime too.
    VickyCat and agathamorse like this.
  9. slavetotherhythm91

    slavetotherhythm91 New commenter

    So nice to hear someone with the same outlook. I have hated office jobs for years and never understand how people hack it. I realised like you I wanted to make a difference, but since receiving an offer for a PGCE and getting experience as a TA I am having second thoughts. I would strongly suggest applying for TA jobs first before jumping on the PGCE. As like other replies have said, it is a massive commitment, and with kids it would be an astronomical burden to complete. A TA job is perfect for work life balance, plus you can get a small insight in to teachers day to day work to see if it is what you would like to do.

    I love what I do as a TA, it gives me so much variety, and no one day is the same. It gives me all the joys of a teacher without all the baggage. And if I can continue it, alongside private tutoring to bump up my income, and reap all of the rewards similar to a teacher without the heaps of paperwork and pressure piling up on me, I will never feel like I have regretted staying in my position. There are way too many negatives now to not consider when entering teaching, from the diabolical workload, to the pay, to the paperwork, to the data, to the exams pressure, it is just not a manageable job and unfortunately is now losing sight of what we are there for - the kids.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    VickyCat, agathamorse and install like this.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Good point. Although some schools are getting rid of their TAs - blaming a shortage of funds. And remember some CEOs and some hts will see their own pay packets rise whilst funds are in short supply.
    VickyCat likes this.
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As others have said teaching is no longer a 'family-friendly' job. Note I do not say career, as I think most teacher need to realise a max of 10 -12 years is a realistic target these days before either getting burnt out, or if older, being 'eased out' because of costs to the school.

    I know when my family was young and I was a trained teacher at the time, I took on a long-term supply job. When that job ended and I told my little 4 year old, he flung his arms round my neck and said, "I've got my mummy back!" That convinced me to review my priorities and I decided my family must come first in those early years.
    VeronicAmb, VickyCat and agathamorse like this.
  12. BrandonO82

    BrandonO82 New commenter

    Go ahead and try, nothing is impossible if you set your mind on it and are ambitious enough. No one is to blame if they fail or give up, but it's your duty to at least try and achieve your goals even if you have other responsibilities too. Life is too short, try to do everything you want so that you won't have regrets later.
  13. KEC72

    KEC72 New commenter

    I did a secondary PGCE with 2 young kids. I was the only one with children that didn't drop out. I stuck it to the end but never did my NQT. It is not a family friendly job at all. My kids ended up with a miserable burnt out parent doing a 70 hr week - I just had no time for them. School hols are great but I feel it didn't make up for the misery of term time. We now do lots at the weekend and I use a good kids club in the hols and my kids and I are far happier. Sorry to be negative. That said, I had a husband who worked away a lot and no family near. If you have a good support network then you might fair better. I’m glad I did it as I would have always wondered but I have to be honest.
    VickyCat, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    I work in school governance now, on a MAT central team. It's great because I'm still passionate about education and get to work in the sector. It is office based but it turns out I'm happy working in an office environment!

    Before I started in governance I did some day to day supply and A Level marking to tide me over (was also pregnant with my second) then I became a Local Authority clerk to governors and went from there. I've no regrets and am glad I can always say I'm a qualified teacher.
  15. lozt83

    lozt83 New commenter

    I'm currently half-way through my Schools Direct QTS training - I have 3 children; a 10yr old and twin 3 yr olds, and whilst it is hard work juggling childcare, a full-time job and uni, I am finding it manageable. I am lucky that my husband is supportive and hands-on, and we do have close family nearby who help out when needed. I tend to leave school around 4.30/5pm most evenings, and by the time I've picked up the girls, settled them to bed it's usually around 7pm and I then crack on with lesson planning and any other work that needs doing. I try not to work past 9.30pm and always give myself Fri and Sat evenings off, but otherwise, it is pretty full-on, but manageable.

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