I’ve read the various message boards on TES avidly, ever since discovering them at about November time last year, especially this one. At the time I was an NQT, teaching in a Special Measures school and wondering what the hell I had done with my life. Moreover, I say ‘teaching’, more like preventing outbursts of violence and criminal damage. I felt doubly depressed as I was lied to from the very beginning. I turned up at a very modern looking school, with all the mod cons, computer ‘labs’, artificial sports pitch, two full size gyms and was interviewed for a job as a Citizenship teacher. This was possibly my first mistake, as I had a History degree and had done a History PGCE 7-14, which thinking about it, THAT was my actually my FIRST mistake; the 7-14 PGCE that is. Anyway, I’ve digressed. There were no History jobs going within 50 miles of my house; so I reasoned I could take the Citizenship, because what the hell, I liked politics, social issues etc and a job is a job (another mistake..I’m losing count now!). Anyways, so I do well in the interview & at teaching a class and get offered the job. Although knowing what I know now, I was probably only one of a very few people who went for it. I turn up for my induction, two weeks at the end of the summer –term; I start to notice the school is a bit chaotic to say the least. But hey, that’s my fault, I researched it and knew it had problems anyway and I still took it. But the real bombshell was when I was handed my time table; I wasn’t teaching just Citizenship, but Mathematics, English, Geography, Learning to Learn and R.E. too. These were all for SEN classes, for which there was no scheme of work or even a proper Department to liaise with. I brought this up, but was fobbed off with ‘you’ll be fine and we thought because of your experience in Primary School (one placement for my PGCE) you’d enjoy it’. I was a bit miffed, but I thought I’ll give it my best shot, especially when the SENCO promised to simply give me the schemes of work, which she was to write over the summer. I went off on my summer holidays, not without a sense of some dread for my return to school. I did try my best, but it was extremely difficult. I went to see the Deputy Head and told her straight that 1) I was struggling to cope with the workload, 2) I believed these pupils deserved an experienced teacher, due to their special educational needs, and 3) I had made it very clear in my interview that I had chosen to teach at Secondary School because I wanted to concentrate on giving my all to one subject. She offered me a chance to switch to ‘just’ three subjects, main stream Key Stage Three Citizenship, P.E., as well as SEN Maths. That was her ‘final’ offer. I took it. It was better than what I had been doing. Yet the pupils were still out of control, all over the school. In fact I was coping a lot better than every other NQT. It wasn’t uncommon for the staff room to be filled with at least two teachers in tears every single day. I saw a pupil attack another with a metal pole & only get 2 days suspension, another throw a chair out of the first floor window and on to a teacher’s car, they weren’t excluded, teachers having to be taken off stair duty because they were being spat on and having stuff chucked on them from above, the PCSO pelted with rocks, oh, and for a little humour, a pupil puked up all over the Deputy Head’s desk, after getting drunk on a half bottle of Vodka..this was after going on a rampage through the school. Thankfully (sic) my mate, whom I was house sharing with, was repossessed, thus forcing me to hand my notice in and move county, to where my girlfriend was living. This I had always planned to do at the end of my NQT, as she had a secure Primary School job, and they are non-existent in my area, so it made sense to move to her. Hence why I was not put off from taking the Citizenship job at a Special Measures school (this is a lesson to all), as it was short term. So, I moved at Easter and was lucky enough to get a long term supply at a nice enough Comprehensive, teaching History (yay) and a bit of Geography (not so bad). I finished my NQT here and the staff were great and the kids were better behaved. But, I really decided to take stock. The new school offered me a job, but I turned it down. Madness aye. But I am so glad I did. I hated my PGCE; the schools I worked in were populated by disorganised, de-motivated and depressed teachers. It is only now that I know why there were like that. My NQT year had seen the same, stressed out teachers struggling to cope with the kids’ behaviour and the immense workload. Even at the relatively nice Comp there were issues. The kids were ok behaved, but they were also arrogant, obnoxious and quite lazy and felt the World owed them a living; quite a culture shock to someone like me, who had grown up on a rough housing estate and who had to fight for everything I achieved. In fact it made me miss the kids at my previous school; at least they weren’t obnoxious, just ill-disciplined. I know I’ve rambled on and on, but I am coming to a point. So thank you if you’ve got this far. After just two years in teaching I concluded that some schools are full of de-motivated, depressed teachers, who’ve been crushed by government bureaucracy and kids that have been so poorly brought up that they think spitting on adults is acceptable; so you can imagine little Jordan’s, Callum’s, Sharon’s and Stacey’s attitude to actual learning; or schools with staff that are still having to jump through so many hoops they hardly have a life, and whose reward for achieving good results is not a pay rise or bonus (like in the business world) but the application of more pressure to squeeze even more from the kids and tick even more pointless boxes. Furthermore, the schools where the kids don’t spit on teachers or throw chairs through windows are instead populated by a high percentage of obnoxious brats, who have never heard the word no, nor understand the concept of hard work, or of being gracious. They simply see it as their god given right to waltz through school, treat teachers with contempt, on their way to following their mummies and daddies into the rat race and inflicting this country with the next generation of spoilt brats called Joshua, Zak, Liberty and Phoebe. I am now currently working as a Cover Supervisor (Scab, I know)...whilst I retrain as a plumber. I’m one of the lucky ones, I’m still relatively young at 29, and my family run their own construction firm, where I can get my NVQs signed off. And that was my ultimate mistake. I thought the grass was always greener. That because I was quite bright that I should be doing something ‘worthwhile’. Ha. That seems a sick joke now. If you think you want to teach because you’re bright and it will ‘make a difference’, well consider it really hard. I hope you are lucky enough to be one of those tough & dedicated individuals who fully gets that teaching is a vocation, not a job or even a career. You have to live and breathe it. And be able to blank out of the petty politics, somehow cope with the mountains of paperwork and box ticking, and have the patience of a saint to deal with kids with real problems and realise you’ll only make an impact; not any real difference. And be happy that you’ve given up most of your days, weeks, weekends and years to achieve that impact. If you’re not; well, remember that so what if you’re bright...the real difference you could be making is with your own family and friends..or by giving up a few hours to a charity. Don’t think teaching is the way to have a ‘worthwhile’ job...you’d be better off building or fixing things, now that is a worthwhile use of your time at least. And you won’t have to give up your whole life to do it, or jump through boxes. I recently bought a new suit, and the fitter was an ex-teacher. She said she wouldn’t go back for a £1,000 a week or 15 weeks holiday. She explained that yeah, the job itself weren’t that fulfilling, but the staff were nice & always laughing, the manager was fairly relaxed, and she got her evenings and weekends back to spend with friends & family and having fun. Now; what does it tell you about a job that offers stability, a relatively good wage, a secure pension and this magical 13 weeks holiday (that non-teachers are obsessed with) that a high percentage of people leave and this lady would rather work in Suits For You!!?! Rant Over.