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Work first, teach later?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by tonymillar, May 6, 2013.

  1. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    Would pupils get a more rounded education and teachers enhance their confidence if all NQTs had to spend some time working outside the education sector before taking up teaching posts in schools?
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I bet that a quick unscientific survey around all the NQTs or those in first 5 years of teaching that you know, would show that every single one has been employed outside teaching.
    Every single one.
    But I cannot see how that (or more of it) would enhance confidence nor provide a more rounded education for the vast majority of pupils aged 5 to 16.
    The odd few wanting careers in retail or catering might gain a few tips from their teacher, that's all.
    Best wishes.

    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service
    seminars or individual consultations

  3. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    I would agree that most NQTs have had work experience in part time jobs, often in catering or retail, but this probably does not give experience of a full time job with the additional responsibilities that it brings. I do not think for a minute that 'every single one' has had work experience.

    Many teachers are of the opinion that the problems that they face in a school day are fundamentally different to any other occupation. If this is true, then experience in a different occupation must be important so that they are able to give a more rounded education and share a more diverse range of life skills. If this is not true and (as I suspect), the problems faced both inside and outside the education system are very similar, then experience in a different occupation would show the similarities.

    Teaching and understanding links to vocation at all ages must be important and I suspect additional life skills brought to schools by NQTs can only be an advantage
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Given the paucity of job opportunities of any kind open to young people generally these days, I'd advise any young person aiming to go into teaching to get trained asap and then get applications in straight away.

    I've known many, many teachers in my time. There was absolutely no correlation whatsoever between their having had full-time work experience prior to becoming teachers and their ability to teach well and form good relationships with children and young people.
  5. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    I am sure that vocational experience has little effect on a teachers ability to teach well or form good relationships, but surely teachers that bring additional life skills can only enhance the learning experience of those they teach.

    The ultimate responsibility of those who teach must be to play a significant part in ensuring that their pupils are able to participate positively in society once/if they have left the education system. It might be that those who have not worked outside of the education system may not fully understand what that world actually looks like?
  6. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    How do you envisage this working, then?

    I'd like to hear practical examples of how you think all teachers can "enhance the learning of those they teach" because they've worked at M & S for a couple of years.
  7. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    How can relevant extended knowledge not be an advantage to teaching and learning? I am sure that you not need examples of connected learning.
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Tell me how it is an advantage to the teachers of primary age children.

    I DID have non-teaching work experience for a year before training, as it happens. I don't recall feeling it had in any way advantaged the secondary age children I taught. I also worked alongside a number of teachers who had entered teaching after a career in other fields. Some of them struggled massively to connect with the children, so for them it was a bit of a disadvantage, frankly.

    Are you a teacher yourself? I ask because secondary age children don't hang on the every word of their teachers.
  9. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    I was fortunate to be invited to the official launch of the DfE New Traineeships Programme in Manchester a few weeks ago where the potential benefits of teaching a basic level of vocational awareness in Primary schools was briefly discussed. I am a strong believer in showing children of primary age the connection between vocational skills and what they are learning in school. It shows relevance to some of what they are learning and helps significantly with engagement.

    Surely any teacher struggling to connect with children is more a fault of the school leadership team and the recruiting process generally and not necessarily linked to their professional background.

    Once again, how can additional life skills not be of potential advantage to any teacher?
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    "additional life skills" - I'm struggling to understand what you think they are.

    Again, give me some practical examples of how this happens.

    As for the DfE 'New traineeships programme' - teachers tend to take anything that comes out of the DfE with a major pinch of salt these, days, you must know that. The DfE is full of people who don't even think you need work experience as a teacher (and that a bit of time done as a researcher at the DfE post degree is all you need) in order to be a headteacher aged 27.

    You can say it sounds like it must be a good thing for teachers to have had some work experience first as much as you like - and most if not all young people entering teaching these days have had to, in order to pay their way through their education - but it doesn't make it true if all you can say is that it must be a good thing.

    Those of us who have spent years teaching know the reality of young people, you see.
  11. frymeariver

    frymeariver New commenter

    Like Middlemarch I struggle to see that the quality of teaching of academic subjects will be significantly improved by a couple of years of industry experience for NQTs. Of course they need to know the practical applications of their subjects and to be able to advise students about careers, but the majority of jobs only provide a very narrow range of experience and applications. Maths teachers who used to be accountants have not had their understanding of the mechanics module of the A Level improved by helping poeple avoid paying their full tax bills have they?
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    But how would showing to teachers the similarities or differences enable them to gain in confidence as you said in your first post, or give them the ability to provide a more rounded teaching of Kicking K versus Curly C, or of the use of the present subjunctive in Spanish for a future event that is probably not hypothetical?
    I am sorry to have to say this, but as far as I can see, you are spouting air. Your comments have no practical value at all.
    Sorry. [​IMG]
    Best wishes.

    Meet Theo on line on the TES JobSeekers Forum, or in person at one of the TES Careers Advice Service
    seminars or individual consultations

  13. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    I came into teaching as a career changer. I have worked for a large corporation, in the public sector and been self employed.

    I'm not convinced that this experience has made me a better teacher than my colleagues. I infer from your post that you feel that if teachers knew what it was like to work outside education, they would feel less inclined to complain about their lot. I disagree.

    Other than when I ran my own business, never did I work so many hours, nor had such high expectations placed upon me. I have friends who work in similar conditions, and in professions which require similar levels of education and training with fewer holidays however they earn shed loads of cash.
  14. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Interesting how the title implies that teaching isn't "real work". Often those who've never taught harp on about the "real world" as if schools are some sort of halcyon paradise. I wonder how they'd feel after a few terms at the chalk face.
    I've done my fair share of jobs, I had up to save up enough money to pay for university. I worked in bars, shops, waitressing, in factories on production lines, in care homes and in women's refuges. I even did a spot of modelling in my youth. I often worked 2 jobs (one full time 7-4 followed by evening work 5.30- 11, and sometimes 3. I can honestly say it's not made a jot of difference when teaching young children to read, write or understand number. Many schools teach enterprise skills from nursery. You don't need to have a job outside teaching to do this. Just as you don't need to have been to the moon to teach about space. I would say that the only thing that's come in handy has been the work I did in a refuge, and only in my role as a headteacher in a difficult area. I may have been just as empathetic towards parents in violent households had I not had this experience. Who knows?
    Still, at least you've moved on from sustainable schools being the panacea for all education's ills.
  15. pjhewett

    pjhewett New commenter

    I am also a late career changer.

    I am on the fence about whether other jobs before teaching help or not - I know most people who teach will have had part time jobs, but that's not the same as climbing the corporate ladder. Not saying that's a good or bad thing, but it is different.

    When my daughter was at primary school and I worked outside teaching it used to infuriate me when the school used to announce events with a couple of days' notice - most jobs won't let you have time off at the drop of a hat (and yes, I know as teachers we can't get that sort of time off at all, but schools need to take account of all parents ).

    I have never worked so hard since I became a teacher - the holidays don't even begin to make up for it, largely becasue I spend most of my time working.

    I suspect teaching is a job that can eat you alive unless you are very careful...
  16. Like some of the other posters, I came in to teaching - in my case after twenty five years of ICT related roles, initially in maths/science/engineering, then payroll/pensions before moving into programme/project management for a range of private/public/charity organisations. Like others, I'm not sure that I can honestly say that my work expereince helped with teaching. A couple of times, I was able to link the work that A/S and A level students were doing to how it might be applied in industry (statistical mechanics in relation to nuclear radiation shedding and decision maths in project scheduling etc.) The problem is that the maths involved was at a level many orders of magnitude than their work, and, more importantly nobody really does that maths anyway - they use software packages. Its the same reason why suggesting to GCSE maths/stats students need to know how to calculate means, modes, medians, etc. is really obviously ******** - nobody doe sit by hand in the world outside compulsory education. What we should be teaching them is how to understand and interpret the stats that are calculated and how stats can be (mis)used to sway opinion.

    What I can say is that the only winners in encouraging the them and us arguments between teachers and other jobs are the politicians like Gove. In most of my roles I have had to work long hours and unlike teachers I have had to stay at my employers to do most of those hours. On the other hand, as a non-teacher, I could have breaks, when I wanted them, throughout the day. I didn't have to do any work during my holidays. I was paid a hell of lot more for tasks that in many ways were not as demanding. I was a manager of a team and was paid around what a HoD or junior AHT is paid and I was actually given a realistic amount of "directed time" to manager those staff. I can also say I have never been so tired as I was on my PGCE placements or my NQT year!
  17. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    I am pleased to see that my original post has created such interest, but I am surprised so few feel that they have gained from having different work related experiences.

    The post was certainly not intended to reflect on the inadequacies of some teaching staff but to challenge/support the view that demonstrating how learning linked to vocation can enhance pupil engagement. The greater the experiences, the greater the knowledge and the greater the relevance of the knowledge the greater the potential for engagement

    The majority of students that leave school will not spend the rest of their working life in academia, so surely having teachers that have had work experience outside of this world are possibly more able to help them make that transition.I am now visiting nursery schools that are making vocational links to learning, it is never to soon to start
  18. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I'm sure I said in my post that many schools teach enterprise skills from nursery upwards. You don't need to have worked outside the education sector to do that.
    Your post appears to be full of platitudes with absolutely no evidence to back up your assertions that teachers who have experience of working outside the education sector are somehow better equipped to teach their subject and engage their pupils.
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I suspect that 'vocational links to learning' in a nursery setting is just another re-branding of what was known as playing doctors, nurses, shopkeepers and zookeepers in the olden days.

    Hands up those of you who had a Post Office set.

    For the record I came to teaching after 25 years in administrative roles. The only benefit of this prior experience is that I am quite good at shifting mountains of paperwork, not a role I would particularly want primary aged children to aspire to.
  20. tonymillar

    tonymillar New commenter

    There has been much mention of providing evidence that having varied work experience can be an advantage. As the majority seem to be of the opinion that that additional work experience provides no benefit, I would be interested to hear about any evidence that supports the theory that it has no advantage

    Snowyhead, I would also be interested to hear if your teachers showed the relevance of what they were teaching by making links with the role playing you participated in. Showing children the mountains of paperwork that are involved in some administrative jobs could provide a valuable lesson. Far from putting pupils off taking on an administrative job when they leave school, it might encourage an interest in looking at ways of doing things differently - possibly heading towards the paperless office/school? It is important for teachers to show the importance of all jobs from the digger to the doctor, we need people to take on administrative roles and I hope some children will aspire to this occupation. We would really be buried in paperwork without them.

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