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Switching from secondary to primary teaching

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by teacher1200, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. teacher1200

    teacher1200 New commenter

    I am currently a music teacher at a secondary school and teach years 7-12. This is my second year of teaching and second year at this particular school. The long and short of it is that I don't think secondary education is for me. The main reason is because of my subject and the attitudes a lot of the students- and some teachers have towards it.

    I am told that I am doing well, and there are some days when I feel great. These days are usually the days when I run my key stage three choir and year 7 ukulele club. I also really love seeing my year 8 form in the morning and often feel that the 20 minutes are too short! The truth is I love being in the classroom, but I am keen to see if I would be better suited to primary education.

    I have been thinking that I would like to maybe spend a year as a teaching assistant to see which year group I would like to teach, but that is about as far as I have got.

    Does anybody have any experience of this? Please can you share any advice or tips you have, as I feel quite unsure of what to do!

    Thank you :)
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Although independent schools will have a Music teacher at this age, it is less common in maintained schools, so fewer jobs around.

    And general Primary teaching involves the full range of subjects.

    Moving from secondary to primary

    As for being a TA, this will give you an idea of what could be involved:

    Should I become a TA?

    Best wishes

  3. teacher1200

    teacher1200 New commenter

    Thank you for these links.

    I didn't explain in the above post, but I would be prepared and would want to teach all subjects.

    I now worry about how I would afford to live on such little money as a TA but really think it would be the experience I need for a year or so...
  4. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Have you any experience teaching a range of subjects? You would be in competition with Primary trained candidates for any job. Music is a good subject to have as a strength though!

    Have you considered working in a Middle School? There are a few left - but they are a dying breed unfortunately. You would be able to keep your specialist subject - but have the opportunity to teach other subjects too. It depends if you are able to relocate to seek out those that remain.

    Be aware though that moving from a Middle can be tricky and with the decline of Middle schools there must be uncertainty as to how long it will be before they have all disappeared. Secondary schools don't like that you lack experience above KS3 and Primary schools don't like that you lack experience in KS1! At this stage in your career you may think this is a bad idea - but could be better than working as a TA.

    I was fortunate to spend 20 very happy years in a Middle school with Music as my specialist subject, but also taught English, Maths and a range of other subjects too in my time there.
  5. teacher1200

    teacher1200 New commenter

    Thank you! Middle school sounds like a good plan, I'll keep my eye out!
  6. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    @teacher1200 There's a Head of Music in a 9 - 13 years Middle school advertising on TES right now - but the closing date is very soon!
  7. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Or switch to special needs. Being a musician will definitely help with some classes. Your students might not be able to play the uke or sing, but you could make their world a happier place.
  8. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    A friend of mine used to be a secondary school music teacher, decided it wasn't for her, and took up peripatetic teaching in schools (mostly primary) - she taught recorder to half classes, as well as some other instruments as individual or small group lessons. Over the years, she built up a good reputation, and on that basis a Headteacher offered her a job as a music co-ordinator in a primary school. She also does private piano tuition on the side. She seems very happy with how things have panned out. She works on a completely self-employed basis - so even with the music co-ordinator job, she invoices the school every month for the hours she's worked. The Head did offer the job to her as a salaried position, but she prefers being self-employed.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Do you have ties to where you are?
    If not then try middle school, prep school, etc. Some independents have accommodation available.
    Certainly in schools like mine you would teach music to all of Rec - year 6 and then fill your timetable with whatever you negotiate with the headmaster.
  10. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    In secondary you have to get the pupils on your side. It can take a year or two and part of it happens outside your classroom with the kids chatting about you and comparing notes on you.

    One super way to win over kids is to organise a teacher band to play a concert at the end of term. Are you willing to play rock and pop? I did this on a number occasions and it worked brilliantly. Our music teacher was a brilliant sax player and had his own solos to show up his expertise. The kids loved it.

    It also helped me a great deal with several classes I was struggling with.

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