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Teacher Shortage - Secondary Science

Discussion in 'Science' started by Thirtysomething, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. I am an engineer with an electronics background, though I have moved over to software recently.

    Both my project managers and my technical lead are working mothers, in charge of a project of 32 staff (for our project). There is myself and another female engineer on the staff.

    I understand where you are coming from regarding the female engineer mother thing, but have honestly never seen it as a problem for female engineers. Might I suggest the company you work for?

    Also you will have far less free time as a teacher than you would have as an engineer. People aren't exaggerating when they say that they work 60+ hours a week. I went through the 'I want to do something deep and meaningful' thing and found excuses to try teaching and not return to engineering. However, I now go into work and appreciate the stupid little things like being able to grab a coffee when I want to.

    Teaching was bloody awful. I got used to being treated with respect as an engineer, and I am proud to be an engineer. DO NOT go into teaching because you dislike your present career. It's a **** reason.

    ONLY go into teaching if you really want to teach for the sake of teaching and see it as a vocation. Don't believe any idealistic **** you might see and don't get sucked in with the 'we are crying out for physics teachers' tosh either. Like I said, there is a reason for a lack of physics teachers.
  2. Sorry wanted to add that as a teacher, be prepared to be treated like sh1t by pupils and other teachers, be prepared to give up your evenings and weekends. As an engineer I have weekends and evenings free.

    If you really feel this way, then what about opportunities within your company to go into training?

    Most of the engineers where I work are intelligent and articulate and show more emotional intelligence than the teachers I came across on teaching practice. Most of them can manage far more than the odd 'hello'. Don't be idealised by teaching.

    Having been a female engineer and ex-pgce student, I feel I can comment.
  3. Ms Eng.

    You obviously work for a better company than I did. I no longer work for them; I jumped just before I was pushed.

    I have always wanted to teach, I should have gone straight from Uni but was persuaded not to (I was married and hubby was none too pleased at the idea of me being a student for yet another year). I have nearly gone into teaching more than once before but again the hubby wasn't supportive so I was onto a non-starter. My new hubby is very different and I finally have a chance to give it a go. I am under no illusions about kids' behaviour and potential classroom management issues.

    I have thought about going back into Engineering but I can't get enthusiastic about it. I need to give teaching a go otherwise I will be forever wondering "What If".

    Again, I have not dismissed what you have said, in fact most of it is already in the CONS column, but for me the PROS column is still in the lead!
  4. Thirtysomething

    I came out of manufacturing industry four years ago.

    I enjoy what I do far more than I (generally) enjoyed engineering.

    I teach in a very average comp on Merseyside with generally classfulls of Scouse scallies as my students.

    The initial workload is huge and than after two or three years it crashes when you feel much more confident about lessons.

    The holidays are excellent - no mobile phones ringing saying that this machine doesn't work etc etc etc. I always had to take my holidays at factory shutdowns so the expensive period makes no difference to me.

    But some of what Ms Eng says rings true - teachers are the most hidebound bunch going. British Leyland in the 1970's is not a patch on some teachers.
    Also expect half of the staff to think that you can't be a good teacher unless all you have ever seen is education - some of the school to university to PGCE to school brigade need rogering with the rough end of a pineapple. (But saying that they were remarkably like the time servers I saw in manufacturing plants.

    If you can look for a GTP - it gets you running much more quickly than a PGCE.

    If you want some more advice etc post an email address and I'll drop you a note.
  5. only a trainee myself but the two schools I've been placed in this year both had difficulties recruiting. From shortlists of 3-4 only one actually turned up for interview at each school, the others had already got jobs. This was for general science positions too - not physics or chemistry specialists only. Neither were awful schools either - I would happily worked at either if I wasn't moving out of London.

  6. I have worked for two very good companies, and in the past I have turned jobs down in companies that I didn't like the look of. There have been a couple.

    If you want to give teaching a go then do it! That's how I felt a couple of years back. Was looking for an engineering job but couldn't get enthusiastic. I fell into engineering but at some stage had considered being a teacher. Decided that if I didn't give it a go, I would always be wondering 'what if.' I did give it a go and it turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my life. And it wasn't the kids. It was workplace bullying by other teachers on my placement.

    Sounds to me like you need to give it a go. I think it is best that you do so. Remember if you don't like it, you can always go back to engineering or do something else.

    As for PGCE/GTP look into what will suit you. Personally, I like a more structered defined route, so chose PGCE. I don't know where you are based but despite my experiences, Leeds was an excellent University to go to for physics. They take on the biggest group of physics PGCE students each year. The tutors are excellent. My argument was never with them, it was my first placement school. However the University tutors have very little input and control as to what happens to you at your placement schools.

    There is a lot of unsavoury background stuff that goes on in teaching that isn't advertised. Workplace bullying is endemic and having been on the receiving end of it, I withdrew as I would never take the risk of being bullied again. I find engineers on the whole to be a lot less bloody minded.
  7. I've worked in schools (technician / relief teaching)
    I've worked in colleges (technician / part time teaching)
    I've worked at a Uni (technician / part time teaching)
    I've got a PGCE which lets me teach anyone over 16
    I've written award winning software
    I edit a programmers magazine

    Yet, I want to teach kids. Question is, why?

    For me, it's two fold.

    1. The challenge. Kids really do keep you on your toes and what you put in, I've found even low ability classes will give back as much (you go in all "yay", they come back all "yay". You go in "urg" guess what you get).

    2. Having worked at the other levels (and taught in them), I'm increasingly aware that many problems are coming from schools. Now, it may just been the curriculum and the product based system we have in place causing the hassle, it may even be the teachers, but I know that with my abilities, I *can* make a difference.

    Sure, I know the hours are long (though if you combine my regular job and all the other stuff I do, it should work out less!) and the pay is not that amazing (esp. if you go in, like I hope to, via the GTP route), but having only ever worked in education since leaving school (save for a couple of months), I'm used to it. I'm used to the hassle, the people, the paperwork, the changes in subject....

    I want to teach. I want to teach. More than that though, I need a school to teach in!
  8. There are shortages of science teachers, and physics teachers - but only in certain areas, example, inner london. Some areas have a glut - my area, the north east is awash with teachers, many who cant get a job! Every interview is usually at least 5 candidates who get interviewed, more who apply.

    Also, on another note, being a specialist, ie, physics, is dying. We do not teach physics, chemistry , biology any more, we teach science. Any scientist, I feel, can teach the twenty first century science curriculums. They are so unspecialised, weak and diluted curriculums, anyone who is half way decent can manage them.
  9. Nodoid - is your inability to find a GTP because you're too old? i was reading about the difficulty of managing "older" employees the other day. It appears that "older" employees don't suffer the Emperor's New Clothes, they've seen all the fads and don't buy them. Their response to deadlines is "Your lack of planning is not my crisis". And they demand a work-life balance.
  10. 35 should not be "too old"
  11. xl5


    Ms Eng - what sort of bullying? It sounds awful. I've looked at many of the pros and cons (I'm thinking of applying to move into teaching in the next year or so) but never have I thought about bullying as one of the potential cons. Can you say more?
  12. I am keeping my options open wrt GTP or PGCE becasue for the situation I am in (Parent with a dependant adult) I can get more than just the £9k bursary for a PGCE so the monetary difference is small. I do like structure (which is why I am finding being self employed so difficult) so the PGCE appeals to me more but it depends on what happens when I visit some of the local schools nearer Christmas.

    I have been reading a lot on the other forums about bullying in the workplace and it does concern me but hasn't put me off yet. I am also not concerned about only being able to go on holiday at peak times because we don't go anywhere any way!

    I am hoping to go into this with my eyes wide open so really appreciate all the advice and comments, both +ve and -ve.
  13. Xl5

    Non teachers don't realise that the main outcome of teaching is the league tables and results. People who are not involved directly with teaching don't realise the effects of Government Initiatives. Teaching is very stressful and starts at the top. This is fed through levels and layers of management to the teacher to achieve SAT scores, value added - whatever.

    Many staff are over burdened and tired. This leads to the stress levels and brings out the worst of people's characters. Schools have a lot of politics in them. Teachers are also ten a penny and will be disposed of if not liked.

    Go onto the Opinion forum and do a search for 'bullying of staff' and you will see what I mean. Teachers on the whole have very little emotional intelligence. Teachers are replaceable.

  14. #25 Sprayer

    I may take you up on the offer of an email link once I can work out how to set up a separate address that is not my real name!!

  15. Ms Eng

    I feel compelled to reply to your post. I took a job, my second in teaching and my first in England (the induction year in scotland is different in that you don't interview for the job, and it is not always available after the year). I was offered everything to take the job so i did and moved down. There were also a few new starts, both NQT and non-NQT.
    Since then, three of those starts have left, one left teaching completely and most of the dept are looking for new jobs, including myself.
    The bullying i have had from my CL has been outrageous (and i know i am not the only one). THe worst thing is, it is petty things that picked up on, like the door being open when im teaching, wearing the wrong clothes, not enough make-up, not enough posters on the wall etc etc, the list goes on. Now its my fault that some kids misbehave in ONE of my classes.
    The only thing thats keeping me going, is that it's not long till the end of term and i know it's not like this in every job, i just obviously never found the right school for me.
    When i do get a new job, and no longer need references i have a rather long official letter of complaint!!

    I seem to be gibbering now, as for the teacher shortage in science, it's a shame. Science in schools lacks so much these days. You can't do very many "dangerous" experiments, or even the exciting ones as most have been banned, or not every school is fitted with a fume cupboard. And as you've said, many with a science background go off to do other careers. My background is chemistry & biology (joint degree) and now im wishing i was better at physics, but then if i was better at physics i would have been able to study medicine....it's a viscious circle.
    I feel sorry for the future scientists of this country.
  16. xl5


    So, Ms Eng and nj, would you advise ALL non-teachers to stay that way?
  17. No my advice would be to give it a go, but bear in mind the cons as well as the pros. I got taken in with the 'you are making a difference' thing.

    If you really want to teach, then go for it. If you have doubts stay away because you won't last. Half of all people going into teaching will have left within five years.

    I would have given up a career to go into teaching, and in the end I wasn't prepared to do that.
  18. I agree! If you have any doubts, you wont last long!
    But thats not to say don't try it. I think it depends on the person. I would say you have to be somewhat in control of your emotions these days to get into teaching.

    Also, off topic, i would like to see less bullying across the board. I would like to see the people responsible taken to task for what they do and the careers they wreck.
  19. To continue slightly off topic.

    My biggest concern is not the hours or the kids that misbehave it is the bullying. There are plenty of books about classroom management but I have not yet come across one about staffroom management that is not aimed at those "in charge". From reading posts on here it seems that the best way to approach this issue is to take notes and remember that after your NQT year you can always try to move schools.

    It is a shame that grown ups resort to bullying but it is not only the Education profession that has this problem - there are d***heads everywhere who only seem to be able to feel better about themselves by putting everyone else down.

    On a lighter note - not enough make up?? OMG I don't wear any and don't relish having to start after 34 years!
  20. I was a Civil Engineer for 5 years before doing the PGCE.

    One day I decided lets have a go at teaching before I have family commitments as I'd always wanted to give it a go. I have to say first of all that I enjoyed being a Civil Engineer and there was bullying there, which for a while got me down, until I realised I was big and hairy enough to know when to say go @£$@"*>>W.

    So I tried teaching and you know what the kids are great frequently misrepresented by the media there not all bad. Even better than this I really enjoyed it and the staffroom and management team to a person are all very supportive. So I have decided to stay a teacher. Pay is a bit less but the work life benefits are excellent before I hardly ever took a holiday now I know exactly when I'll be off.

    If there are bullies have the dogs ******** to stand up to them and let them know YOU WILL NOT BE PUSHED AROUND sometimes this is hard but the other staff will soon back you up. It worked for the people of the Ukraine stand together and join a union.

    In terms of jobs there are enough out there for Physics but sometimes you may have to take a years contract first until a permanent job comes up.

    REMEMBER: Don't let the ******* grind you down.



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