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Strong feeling of not wanting to be a teacher

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Notwithstanding, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    should I leave the PGCE I'm on?
    The general morale of teaching has me hugely second guessing whether I have made the right decision to career switch.
    I do enjoy being in the classroom a lot, but I am an awful procrastinator when it comes to academic work. I just feel like an irony on the course, someone who has to advocate being organised, and not falling behind, to children, when in fact I am a hypocrite. I did ok in my first placement and the assignments up to now, but Ive left every one of them till the last minute as with lesson plans/resources too, often pulling all nighters.
    The lack of time with friends and family has been hard too, and had a relationship end due to always having work to do (then I would sit there, resenting not being with them that evening, and still doing no work anyway). Knowing a fair few teacher now, I can see that there just doesnt seem chance to ever switch off from the job, and its fall in public standing, coupled with Gove's unrelenting goal of deprofessionalising teaching beginning to work (why doesn't teaching have royal charter like other professionals?)
    Anyway, apologies for this being pretty negative, but I can't be imagining it all, the HSE deem teaching to be the most stressful job and that is not to be taken lightly.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/aug/31/teaching.teachersworkload
    I can see the value in getting the qualification but it is 6 months of what feels like the hardest, lowest time of my life, with little to no time to even seek the family/friend/partner support I could really do with.
    Why is the martyrdom so widespread, with every teacher telling me that the job takes so much from you, whether you love it or not, it shouldn't be the case.
    I feel this article sums it up quite well, and the former solicitor is spot on
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/03/teacher-survey-professionals-bullying-parents
     
  2. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    should I leave the PGCE I'm on?
    The general morale of teaching has me hugely second guessing whether I have made the right decision to career switch.
    I do enjoy being in the classroom a lot, but I am an awful procrastinator when it comes to academic work. I just feel like an irony on the course, someone who has to advocate being organised, and not falling behind, to children, when in fact I am a hypocrite. I did ok in my first placement and the assignments up to now, but Ive left every one of them till the last minute as with lesson plans/resources too, often pulling all nighters.
    The lack of time with friends and family has been hard too, and had a relationship end due to always having work to do (then I would sit there, resenting not being with them that evening, and still doing no work anyway). Knowing a fair few teacher now, I can see that there just doesnt seem chance to ever switch off from the job, and its fall in public standing, coupled with Gove's unrelenting goal of deprofessionalising teaching beginning to work (why doesn't teaching have royal charter like other professionals?)
    Anyway, apologies for this being pretty negative, but I can't be imagining it all, the HSE deem teaching to be the most stressful job and that is not to be taken lightly.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/aug/31/teaching.teachersworkload
    I can see the value in getting the qualification but it is 6 months of what feels like the hardest, lowest time of my life, with little to no time to even seek the family/friend/partner support I could really do with.
    Why is the martyrdom so widespread, with every teacher telling me that the job takes so much from you, whether you love it or not, it shouldn't be the case.
    I feel this article sums it up quite well, and the former solicitor is spot on
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/03/teacher-survey-professionals-bullying-parents
     
  3. I am feeling like I'm drowning under a sea of paperwork at the moment, with so much to do on top of creating decent lesson plans. Yesterday (Sunday) I spent four hours working solid, only stopping to grab a cup of tea and nip to the loo quick yet I STILL don't seem to have made a dent.
    Everyone else was out and about and I longed to be out riding the horses, but alas...it had to be done. Quite often I think 'Meh, it can wait tonight........'...then regret it in the morning!
    I'm pretty on track at the moment I think, but a comment from my husband caused me to go nuclear the other day about '....when are you going to get that done? You've been doing school work all day...'..
    We had had the discussion before I even applied for GTP, that the paperwork load is heavy, and I'll have to lock myself away in the computer room so the TV doesn't drag my attention away....
    This morning, I've had two hours free, as had a lesson first period, and all I've done is file stuff away, put stuff in for photocopying and organise a few things here and there...
    I hate to think this bu my husband is away on business all week so I'm relishing the fact I can dash home, grab the dog, rush to the field to sort the horses (somone does the main jobs in the day, paid!) then come home, lock the door and after a pot-noodle I'll sit at the comp for about 4 hours, trying to get on top of the mountain!
    I'm starting to get a bit depressed too about where the hell will I get a job at the end of all this....I just don't think there are many about, and have I made the right choice in doing this?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    It gets easier. Once you're doing the job, you're confronted with a lot less "evidencing" that you experiencing while studying. You'll do lesson plans through powerpoint, and that's about it except when you're being observed. Similarly, you won't have all the incessant reading and reviewing tasks to do.
    It won't be easy, of course. You have to have the mental resilience of a tank and accept that whatever you deliver probably is only "good enough" most of the time - this is not a game for obsessive-compulsive perfectionists.
    You have to find a system that works for you - my somewhat chaotic approach, particularly to paperwork is completely opposite to my head of department's ruthless level of organisation in every aspect of what he does.
    I'd say finish the course, maybe try the job properly for a year, then move on if you can't stand it. The real job is different to studying to do the job, although that does have its own pressures that being a student doesn't prepare you for.
     
  5. I totally agree with the above. The real job is nothing like the gtp/pgce. I'm not particularly organised either. I am with physical organisation e.g. keeping classroom desk tidy/folders organised. But when it came to pgce assignments, I ended up having to do 5 2000 word essays in the space of 7 days because I'd left them to the last minute haha. Now, I'm halfway through my first term as an NQT and it's just fine. Yeah, sometimes its stressful, but on my PGCE I was expected to write a detailed plan and evaluation for every lesson I taught. Now, I plan and evaluate for literacy and numeracy, but the other lessons I barely have to plan for. The plans are there, and I tweak them, or I pull them off the net and adapt them to my class. Everyone at my school says how well I'm doing and how pleased they are with me, but it's not like I'm working all nighters. I work maybe 3/4 hours on a sunday, but then I hardly work in the evenings at all because I arrive at school early (7.45am) giving myself an hour to do work then, and I stay for 2 hours after doing work. I do think I'm one of the lucky ones though. My school don't ask us to APP every child, and don't require evidence in APP for maths, plus we rotate classes on certain topics, so I teach PSHE to every class in my year group, but someone else teaches French, Music and Handwriting, which saves a lot of time on planning!
     
  6. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    Thank you for your input everyone, it is appreciated.
    I have made the decision to stay for as long as it is bearable (now that the second loan installment has been paid) and if I happen to leave mid course, I take the hit of the fee's and loan up to that point, but should I make it to the end, then I'll have got something for the money.
    One thing though, I will absolutely NOT go into teaching after this. Ive been told I have a natural flair and rapport with classes I teach, in a unique way that, as I've been told, children seem to warm to me easier than most. Hopefully this is a sign of my having good interpersonal skills which I can take into my next career.
    It is a hard pill to swallow, as I really love it in the class but have far more self respect than to be treat as teachers are, not by the children necessarily, but by parents, politicians, policy makers, and the general public. The more I hear what new teacher bashing policy comes out, week on week, the more I realise I should never have left my last career only to now have to dig my way back in the knowledge that I do actually love the teaching part. Like loving and losing, I think I would have preferred to stay ignorant to just how amazing it can be in the classroom.
    And for those saying it gets easier, I imagine it is more about 'adapting' to ever increasing workload, but things like the innate feeling of being an undervalued member of society is not workload in terms of tangible hours, its just a constant feeling of being inadequate, and no matter how much you do, its not enough, not satisfactory (even if it is satisfactory, it requires improvement)
    Its a shame, but unsurprisingly, teacher who I have told are quite happy for me, as they themselves are looking for a way out as state education implodes.
    I had thoughts of my previous career being boring, but I would take a 'boring but bearable day at work followed by an evening and weekend almost entirely of my choosing' any time vs. teaching.
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    To be frank, with the attitude you have, you really should leave as soon as you can. Don't bother with the qualification, you'll not have any use for it.

    What is really appalling is that, presumably, you do actually think this is true. Open your eyes to the real picture before you post such utter nonsense.

    Go and do a boring naff job, but go now. Don't wait until you have irritated the hell out of your next placement mentor before you do.
     
  8. Whilst you are learning it is hard..I am in year 3 of my Bahons in Primary ed. I had a dreadful placement last year and almost quit...my parents convinced me to stay and I'm glad I did. My current placement is brilliant.
    Yes it is hard work and it can be a pain in the bum having no life....but whilst you are a student that is what happend. I don't see my fella for the 6 weeks or so I am on my placement and he resepcts that. You don't have to teach in a mainstream school..you can be a private tutor, support staff etc.
    I love teaching even though I hate the late nights and early mornings..I sometimes wonder if it is worth all of the stress and hassle..but it will be once I graduate.
    We are student teachers after all...we're not going to find it a doddle straight away.
     
  9. Hi, am interested to find out if you have stuck it out or withdrawn from the course. I ask, as I am experiencing all that you describe and feel the most unhealthiest I have ever been. Your post shocked me as it articulated everything I have been thinking/feeling. Hope you are well.
     
  10. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    I think you are right, which is why I will be withdrawing as soon as I tie up loose ends and let the placement mentor and course tutor know. Better sooner than later, as I'm clearly not the right kind of person for teaching.

    I was initially very bothered about letting people down but when I think about it more, I would be letting them down far worse if I actually properly start my second placement and then crash in a big way. Plus I'm actually paying for this privilege, which is amazing to some, and I applaud them, they will make excellent teachers, but has unfortunately made me ill.

    I'm not sure what part you are saying I appallingly think it true? The bit about satisfactory was sarcasm, referring to another recent announcement that satisfactory is gone, in place of required to improve.

    I have the utmost respect for teachers, the job you do is astounding, and the sacrifices you make are highly admirable. Its a great social injustice that you are not nearly as appreciated as you should be. I have loved my time in the classroom but the effect on friend/family/relationships being lost is a sacrifice too far. Thank you for the input and helping me hopefully will now not cause problems for the placement mentor in irritation.
     
  11. happydavid

    happydavid New commenter

    Dear Notwithstanding,

    Good luck. I do hope that all goes well for you.

    The comments by minnieminx were unhelpful and rude. I came across these type of people (completely lacking in empathy/sensitivity) in my placements throughout my PGCE, but thankfully many others who were helpful and kind.

    I know exactly how you are feeling, because I also struggled to keep up with all the paperwork/planning and soul-destroying "reflection". The PGCE course provided me with nothing that was of any practical use in the classroom. I too almost gave up, but hung on and got through the course.

    If it is making you ill, then of course you must consider your health first before anything else. But, there are many very good and caring teachers out there who also went through what you are feeling now. When one thing is bad, everything seems bad and even small things that go wrong can make us feel terrible. I used to remember a quote from Churchill, who said "If you're going through hell, keep on going".

    In conclusion, if you can stick it out, please do. The time will pass quickly and you will be in a better frame of mind to know what is best to do if you can complete the course. If you do leave, please take it from someone who went through exactly what you are now that it is not in any way a personal failure. Don't reflect upon it!

    Whatever you decide, don't be too hard on yourself and take care.

    Best wishes,

    David
     
  12. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    Thank you David, I know that my mental health has suffered, which has then led to my physical health falling to pieces. This is not the life I want, not even for 5 months.

    As much as I can see the value in the qualification, I know I don't have what is required to be a teacher. Its not to do with subject knowledge, but my outright lack of resilience.

    I'm clearly going to continue to face much more difficult decisions in life than whether or not to leave a PGCE, so need to address that lack of esteem as life will get harder than this. If that means leaving and doing menial work while I get better through a professional (no more self help, self medicating or deluded 'think positive and everything is ok'). Self reflection on my teaching has revealed a lot more about what I need to address fundamentally first, and it has not been easy.
     
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Someone who clearly feels inadequate because they are a teacher and feels the rest of the world looks down on them because they are a teacher, is not at all right for the profession. Actually it is kinder to say 'get out now' than leave them to keep going and get worse and worse.

    There was another thread started at about the same time as this from someone else also thinking about leaving. However it was for very different reasons and they demonstrated a very different attitude to the profession as a whole. I gave totally different advice to them. Sometimes bluntness is the most helpful way,even if not the most palatable.

    However, I do accept that sometimes I am slightly less than tactful and sensitive (though not generally totally lacking) and I do apologise if offence was caused here.
     
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You last post convinces me I was right to suggest you find a different career path.

    I don't see the situation the same way you do at all and don't know anyone, in my life/social circle, who does. It is the sort of thing unions spout in front of TV cameras at conferences and some on here express that view as well, so there must be 'real' teachers who do think that. I just don't know any.

    Good Luck in what you do.
     
  15. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    Thanks, and I'm glad you don't share the negative perception of the conditions of the profession, because I know how much of a toll it's took on me, and taken energy away from things I could have been doing for the kids.
    To leave now feels like the right thing to do.
     
  16. " It is the sort of thing unions spout in front of TV cameras at conferences and some on here express that view as well,"
    Regardless of what anyone else has to say on this subject, the fact is you didn't reply to any of the individual points the op made in that post you replied to...is that because you can't answer them?


     
  17. AlwaysAdaptable

    AlwaysAdaptable New commenter

    Notwithstanding, you are such a polite person. You appear to be kind and considerate. From your posts you also come across as being very articulate and highly intelligent. You will be a loss to the teaching profession. On the other hand the teaching profession only wants 'yes people'. I know I work with a few. IMO teaching has got hard and it is no longer about the children.
    I am not sure if you have made the right decision as to me you come across as someone I would definitely want to work with. It make a refreshing change that there are people who understand what is going on around them and are not locked in a cocoon.

     
  18. I have read this thread and can see that you have made the deciscion to end your PGCE but I am grateful for you originally posting this as I am in that predicament at the moment. I have just finished a second school placement on my GTP. I spent the 5 weeks I was there completely out of my comfort zone, wishing I was not there and wondering why? After recieving quite good observations at my usual school I have had awful observations the only common positive feed back was that I had a 'lovely way with the children'. I have lost all confidence in my abilities. I now have to apply for jobs with that feeling.
    I will continue with my course as I have worked very hard to get to where I am. I hope that when I get back to my base school-my comfort zone- my confidence will grow again.
    I have thought that perhaps I needed this knock to my confidence to stop becoming complacent.
    Good luck to you with whatever you choose to do.
     

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