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Struggling to decide . . .

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by hillbilly198, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. hillbilly198

    hillbilly198 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I have the offer of a place on a SCITT course for Sept '17 (Geography) but i am finding myself increasingly concerned at what i'm reading about the profession, both on here and in the wider media.

    Of specific concern to me is the apparent shift from actual teaching to bureaucracy, along with huge workload. My current job is heavy on bureaucracy and i do struggle with it, but i do have time outside of work to pursue other interests, this is time which i value greatly - perhaps i over romanticised teaching?

    I'm finding the decision awfully hard to make, i think some input from those who actually teach now may help me, so i'm all ears.

    Kind Regards,
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. drvs

    drvs Lead commenter

    There is no shift from teaching to bureaucracy, there has just been continual addition of bureaucracy based workload to the pre-existing teaching workload. This is something which rather takes the fun out of life for a lot of teachers, particularly those in schools unwilling to even attempt to control workload.

    Even if you were lucky enough to find a school where your workload allowed you the evening hours to pursue other interests, you might well find yourself lacking the energy as teaching comes with its very own definition of "tired" which doesn't equate to many other lines of work. For most, being a new teacher means living somewhere on the split-life spectrum - relative abstinence and hard work in term time, over-indulgence of interests in holiday time.

    It's a risk, could be the best move you ever make if you can make it work, could be a nightmare.
     
  3. cb324

    cb324 Occasional commenter

    If you get into geography you certainly wont struggle to find a job. Schools up and down the country are begging for geography teachers and a half decent one can make a killing now. Just be aware that you will probably get asked to teach at least one but probably 2 more additional subjects. It's usually either R.E, History, PSHE or sometimes Citizenship. In geography you will also have more opportunities to do fun things like go on school trips. The introduction of the EBACC will mean you will have more GCSE aged pupils in geography lessons because they were forced to choose it between that or history. This can mean you end up with a bottom set class of kids who havent chosen geography because they wanted to and some wont see the point in it. This will probably depend on the school and their cohort though.

    My advice would be to pursue something else first and then if you don't like that give teaching a go. It's not a career I would recommend to people. Being at the mercy of the government (and a conservative one at that) can feel like your being shafted every year. If you have a geography degree, i'd use it for something else. I have a geography degree so feel free to pm me for more info as I am currently in the process of leaving the career for good.
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. hillbilly198

    hillbilly198 New commenter

    i do not seem to have the option to PM you - guessing it's because i'm a new member?
     
  5. drvs

    drvs Lead commenter

    Only every year at your school? Any jobs going?
     
  6. hillbilly198

    hillbilly198 New commenter

    @cb324 could you PM me? Still cannot fathom PMs on here . . .
     
  7. cb324

    cb324 Occasional commenter

    Oh it seems I have no idea how to pm either lol.

    Shoot any questions here and i'll answer em.
     
  8. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    PMs on this site are called "conversations". At the top right-hand corner of the page you should see your user name. Click on that, or hover your mouse over it, and you will see a drop-down menu from which you can choose "conversations".

    Take it from there .. .
     
  9. hillbilly198

    hillbilly198 New commenter

    I've highlighted a few snippets i'd like to expand on.

    Firstly, the monetary aspect of teaching. I thought there was a pay structure that would dictate what i could earn, albeit with some room for maneuver? Given i will be entitled to a bursary of £25k it seems perverse that i would then be asked to take home much less than this as an NQT, how does this work?

    Secondly, my first degree isn't in geography so i will need to take the SKE course and, i'm guessing, be expected to teach my degree topic alongside geography.

    Finally, i have spent some considerable time in another industry, whilst the work is relatively straight forward and i have time to pursue other interests in the evening, there is little in the way of challenge, this is one of the main reasons i am considering a change.
     
  10. cb324

    cb324 Occasional commenter


    1) That's how it works. You could theoretically be on a 30k bursary whilst training to then drop down to 22k on your M1 pay scale. The money is there to pull you in. Although doesn't really motivate people to stay! This is something which has been brought up by quite a few people. I suppose desperate schools may put you on a slightly higher payscale but most likely wont,

    2) Possibly/probably. Depends on what your degree is in. If it's in geology or earth science then you probably wont be asked to.

    3).You will most definitely be challenged in teaching. In fact it will be one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you'll ever do.
     
    hillbilly198 likes this.
  11. hillbilly198

    hillbilly198 New commenter

    Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out.

    What are your reasons for leaving, if you can disclose them of course?
     
  12. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Hillbiilly ... you've got the offer of ITT (which is more than I've managed so far ... ) which means that you have put a lot of effort into this already, and that you have managed to persuade others that you have what it takes and you have the potential to be a good teacher.

    If you take up the offer then you will get a bursary which means you'll be better off then in your early years of teaching. So be it. Work out what your starting salary will be and get used to living on that. Treat the surplus as treats money, or a rainy day fund, or use it to buy a nice car, or whatever ... just don't get accustomed to having it as part of your day-to-day budgets.

    You have industry experience, and if your worst fears are realised you have a bolt hole - something you can always go back to. It may not be terribly fulfilling, but it will pay the bills. And maybe you'll see it in a more positive light after seeing how green the grass on the other side REALLY is.

    BUT ... don't be a pessimist!

    Your worst fears may not be realised. They seldom are. You may find you really warm to teaching and can cope with the admin and it's everything you ever hope it will be.

    However, you'll never find out unless you suck it and see. So ... go for it, I say; but don't burn your bridges with your old industry just in case, having gone for it, you decide you want to beat a strategic retreat ...
     
    hillbilly198 likes this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi hillbilly

    What experience do you have of teaching/observing in a secondary school?

    40% of new teachers leave within 5 years of qualifying and two reasons they leave are the heavy workload which involves 50+ hours per week and in some schools many classes with next extreme behaviour.

    From what I read on these boards, some people qualify then go abroad to teach where working conditions are better.
     
  14. drvs

    drvs Lead commenter

    Some of us even go abroad to teach where working conditions turn out to be worse!
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Good point drvs
     
  16. drvs

    drvs Lead commenter

    Learned that one the hard way :mad:
     
  17. cb324

    cb324 Occasional commenter

    Lots of reasons but mainly

    1) Don't enjoy the long hours during term time (does die down in the holidays).
    2) As a geography teacher i'm often asked to teach other subjects I have no interest in. This year it's PSHE and English. Last year it was Citizenship, PSHE and R.E. This is all well and good but you tend to get shoved with the 'leftover' classes the subject specialist teachers dont want. I have a 3rd set English class for year 8 and they are an absolute nightmare.
    3) Paper work / pointless form filling for middle and senior leaders.
    4) Behaviour/culture of British children can get exhausting. I can live with the behaviour if the rest of my job is easier.
    5) The number of classes and pupils i have. I've been used to 10-15 classes. This year it is only 10 but it still feels too much.
    6) Lack of PPA in the day time. Can't stand days where i'm teaching all 5 lessons. If I have a meeting afterwards the thought of trying to do work at 4:30pm after teaching 5 lessons is just depressing.
    7) The constant stress and anxiety the job gives you. I'm not exactly a stressed or anxious person. I'd like to think i'm quite laidback and relaxed but this job can feel like your riding a rollercoaster. Some weeks your up and some weeks your down.
    8) Being observed. E.G. by SLT/middle leaders/ OFSTED etc. Can't stand being observed. It just makes me feel uncomfortable and pressured. I can live with it if it is once a year but that hasnt been the case at the schools ive worked at.
    9) Marking. Find it tedious and boring. Seriously cant be bothered reading through the books and having to make targeted comments in which they respond to. Then having to make sure they respond to it because if they don't then they aren't showing enough progress.
    10) As a child I couldn't STAND homework. I would ALWAYS be told off for not completing hoemwork. Now I got myself into a job where you sometimes have to end up doing work at home.
    11) As a geography teacher I didn't like the whole EBACC situation. I found myself with more classes of low ability pupils who have been funnelled into choosing geography but don't really want to do it. I always wanted to teach options subjects knowing the pupils there chose the subject and would be more up for it.
    12) Conservative government. It's looking like we're going to be under Conservative control for probably at least 5 more years. The thought of 5 more years at the mercy of the Conservatives doesn't sit well with me. Budget cuts, grammar schools, more MATS etc.
    13) The pressure to get results. I work hard for my classes but find the whole 'intervention' culture a bit annoying. I dont want to feel like a failure because a few lazy kids didnt revise for their exams.


    In the end I looked around and saw the giant iceberg UK education seems to be sailing towards and told myself to get off and look for a better ship. Got myself a graduate trainee job as a general practice surveyor for a commercial property company. In the end I wanted a job where I can switch off easily when I got home and holidays MEANT holidays.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
    hillbilly198 and drvs like this.
  18. amalcolm2

    amalcolm2 New commenter

    I am looking to do a pgce in Geography, my degree is not geography based, i need some tips please
     
  19. amalcolm2

    amalcolm2 New commenter

    whats your degree in? im looking to do the same as you, i may need some tips to secure my place as my degree is fashion .thanks
     
  20. MrMedia

    MrMedia Senior commenter

    That's what did for me. I get leave like regular people now and if I'm on leave I ain't at work! If I am working I ain't on leave. It's bliss. Sundays are mine and with the leave I reckon I'm quids in for an extended life.
     

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