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To ask teachers why they do it and how they cope and don't end up crying when they come home of an evening?

(62 Posts)
LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 05:56:57

I had to take a kids martial arts class last weekend with DS 13. I had a chest infection, granted, but it was fucking traumatic and DS and I never want to do it ever again. I think Sensei is really pissed off with us about it.

How the hell do teachers manage it? Especially ones that teach at secondary school? All I can think is that they must be mad, have not realised what they were getting themselves into or have nerves of steel.

Even teaching the little ones must be nearly as bad. My parents were both teachers, and my dad wangled early retirement. They were always stressed and moaning. My dad hated every minute of it (secondary school). He used to refer to the children and parents as "the shower of shit". The pay is good, and you get good holidays, pension and middle class professional status. Is that the appeal for most people?

How the hell do you not end up having nenrvous breakdowns and being in tears every evening. Hats off to you, I wouldn't and couldn't do it. I like children, but not enough to spend most of my week with 30 of them.

Leena49 Mon 08-Oct-12 06:02:15

My DH is a special ed teacher in secondary school. He gets to teach the most disturbed kids. He loves it and is very passionate about his job.
I teach in FE 16 to 20 year olds. I really enjoy it. I have another profession nursing so don't need to do this but chose to.
It's not that we are mad or are putting up with it. We like to think we make a difference.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:14:05

I know there are people for whom it is a vocation. That's what I was wondering. Do you have colleagues who hate it though? Fwiw worth I would love to go be able to do the degree etc to become a mental health nurse. Uni is so expensive now and we can't afford for me to do it sad. So, I can see where you and your DH are coming from.

I think my dad went into teaching for job security, pension, holidays and professional status. My mum, not so much. She found it rewarding and was very good at it. However, I think the worst thing for her was the fact that the curriculum was constantly changing and new proceedures were always being introduced. That made it very stressful for her.

thebody Mon 08-Oct-12 06:19:44

You can either teach or you can't. For your dad to refer to the pupils like that was disgusting, he obviously shouldn't have been a teacher and I feel sorry for his pupils.

My dsis is a head if a huge secondary school and its her life vocation.

I dm now a TA, was a nurse and genuinely love it.

All jobs have stresses, teachers no more or less than most other professional roles, if you can't hack or enjoy your job it's time to look elsewhere.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:20:13

I'm of your mother's persuasion. I enjoy the job, and teaching children.
I love the enthusiasm of children for knowledge, the different ways that they learn and the moment when something 'clicks'
I hate the level of government interference, the constant changes and the way that nothing is ever given time to be embedded as good practice.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:21:05

I do dislike it being seen as a vocation, it is a skilled, professional job.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:23:58

Actually thebody, if you find that shocking, you would have been mortfied by their conversation at the end of the day. Talk about hoisting up your judgey pants (with regards to parents). To listen to them you would have thought that our family was completely functional and free from issues. That was definitely not the case. As long as you are middle class professionals that's ok though. hmm

I often wonder if this is typical, or if they were just a bit snobby.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:26:35

Oh, and coping?
Conpartmentalisation, reorganising your life so that you ake advantage of the way your life can fit round the job and vice-versa.
Having a professional job face that you put on as you get to work and take off when you leave, so that the two areas of stress don't combine into a tsunami that wipes you out.
I've been up since 5.30am creating resources for use in class this week. It is the quietest time in my house, and when I can spread everywhere without getting in anyone else's way.
I did nap last night between 8-10pm, then socialised with my teenager and OH til midnight. Works for me.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:31:26

WofflingOn, I suppose every job has its stresses. I have a friend who works for the DWP and she gets stressed, but civil servants seem to have much less stress than teachers.

I don't doubt that it is a highly skilled job, but I would have thought that one would also need to feel it was their vocation to love the job and find it rewarding. Tbh my mum worked at a school in a really rough area, one of the members of staff was physically assaulted by one of the mums and they were regularly told to 'eat shit and die' and other such pleasantries

DozyDuck Mon 08-Oct-12 06:33:51

It's a hard job. You have to be really passionate about it. Teachers who don't like teaching are usually rubbish

Chubfuddler Mon 08-Oct-12 06:35:19

Teaching is like any other profession - some are brilliant, some so so and some are hanging on by their fingernails.

I also dislike jobs being described as vocations. Particularly "traditional" female roles ie teaching and nursing. Describing these roles as a vocation smacks of an excuse not to pay people properly. Being a nun is a vocation. Teaching is not.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:37:19

I've never thought of vocation meaning that. I've always thought of it in terms of a real passion to do something that goes beyond thinking of the pay etc. A vocation could be anything, an artist, doctor or a mechanic.

Chubfuddler Mon 08-Oct-12 06:38:21

Passion is different. I'm passionate about my job - I'm a lawyer. But no one would ever describe law as their vocation.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:42:46

OK, I've always thought it was basically doing something for a living that you would do anyway regardless of whether it was your job.

Euphemia France Mon 08-Oct-12 06:43:58

I'm fairly new to primary teaching; I've been doing supply for four years and I've never been anywhere long enough to get too stressed by it ... yet!

The teaching itself is fantastic - seeing a group of children finally "getting" the number bonds to 10 is the sort of thing I love. The joy on a child's face when they tell me about something happening in their life is inspiring.

I don't like the continually shifting sands, new initiatives from politicians looking to make their mark, thinking they have the magic key to unlock Scotland's literacy and numeracy problems. The endless planning, paperwork, school improvement plans, etc., which leave us no time for really thinking about how to improve our teaching.

I find the staffroom a great source of support. I've worked in a few schools in deprived areas, and naice middle-class MNetters would be shocked by some of the conversations and language that go on. It's gallows humour, a safety-valve without which we would all be off sick with stress.

Chubfuddler Mon 08-Oct-12 06:44:04

But that's exactly what I mean. Why on earth would anyone do those things for nothing? They wouldn't.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:45:38

They might volunteer at a youth or community group? That's what I was getting at. Sorry that I've got the wrong end of the stick!

Euphemia France Mon 08-Oct-12 06:46:57

Lesley I have a colleague who is told by pupils to "Fuck off" on a daily basis and called a bitch by them. Is there any other job (except perhaps the prison service or mental health services) where that would be tolerated? sad

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:48:13

I had no idea that behaviour like that was even allowed Euphemia.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:49:33

Exactly, Chubfuddler. It is a job I enjoy, but I wouldn't be doing it is I wasn't paid well.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 08-Oct-12 06:49:59

Do you exlude pupils for that. Sorry if that is incorrect terminology, that's what it was called in my day.

I have been told to fuck off by colleagues and bosses in the past and been bullied at work. You'd be surprised at the treatment you get at some companies.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:51:29

Of course it isn't allowed, OP, but the sanctions available are sometimes ineffective. The most effective method is to work out why they are using that sort of language and see if there is any way to fix or counter the root cause.
Which takes time, effort and stamina.

RobynRidingHood Mon 08-Oct-12 06:51:53

It's not a job I'd want to do. If you think the teachers are on the end of it take a look at the MDS and LSAs. Lower than low. The behaviour they get is a thousand times worse than in the classroom.

WofflingOn Mon 08-Oct-12 06:53:56

Our LSAs and MDS have the same access to sanctions as the teachers.

50smellsofshite Mon 08-Oct-12 06:55:23

I get why people want to teach primary, they are still a bit cute at this age. But, secondary? Why on God's earth?

Maybe it's because I have a pretty revolting 15 year old at the moment but the thought of having to try to impart information to a bunch of teenagers makes me want to cry.

All my dealings with my sons's school I keep apologising for him. I'm so sorry you have to teach the insolent bag of shite.

At my meeting with the school last week about my son's underperformance so far in his GCSEs I asked the teacher "how do you stop teenagers thinking of you as the enemy?" and she said "I have no idea but if you find out tell me because I don't know how much more I can take..." she lost her composure for a few minutes and then was fine. I saw real pain and anguish.

Secondary school teachers shoud be paid double what they are now.

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