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to give up my aspiration to become a primary school teacher?

(62 Posts)
bollywoodfan Sun 20-Jan-13 12:27:57

I already have a degree so need to do the PGCE primary course. I first need to do some work experience in order to apply for the course. Then I will have to pay around £9000 for the course and once completed find a job - which I've been told is not easy because there aren't alot of posts available.
I have got a DS already at school and a 1 year old DD. I was intending to wait to start my course when she is 3 so that we get a bit of help with childcare costs. I am being made redundant from current job and money is going to be very tight. I would probably have to take a loan to help with childcare costs & living expenses while doing the course.
So after all the time it will take me to actually get a job, obviously I am worried whether it actually be worth it. I currently work in the financial sector and know that performance related pay is an excuse to withold pay rises. They make the targets so high that you can't reach them - yes this is what they actually do. I feel that I will be stuck on a low salary after spending so much time, money and effort.
Obviously I don't want to go into teaching for the 'good' pay - I do actually want to do it. It has been my long term plan since ds was small, but I knew I wanted another dc so wanted to start when I could do it with full commitment and not take another break for dc iykwim.
I am nearly in tears writing this because I feel that

Flisspaps Sun 20-Jan-13 14:46:11

For PGCE and School Direct (unsalaried) you should get a £9k tuition fee loan. That's repayable once you earn over £21k pa.

Unpaid School Direct places may get you a PGCE anyway.
There are also cost of living grants and loans available, and childcare grants of up to £250-odd (for 2 children). It's certainly do-able.

With a salaried SD place, there are no course fees and you're paid BUT you usually only get QTS not a PGCE that way.

Claudiecat Sun 20-Jan-13 14:50:53

I would agree with all those posters saying don't do it. I've been teaching for nearly twenty two years and have never seen the profession dragged so low. Recent months have seen a definite bully culture springing up; although I understand that this is common now in all public sector jobs.
I teach part time in primary as I have a young child but the amount of planning, assessment, marking and general paperwork takes it to a full time job. It's got so that my child is beginning to suffer as I have less time for him. His homework/ hobbies are sometimes coming second due to work constraints. Ask yourself do you want to be in this position? They are only children for such a short time. I wish I had a job I could leave at the door but unfortunately it's all consuming.
If you think performance related pay is not part of teaching, think again. Your description in your op could be about teaching now: the setting the bar high so you can't succeed. Only last week we were told by our education improvement advisor that if your children are not progressing on paper and you are observed teaching a lesson where less than 80% do not succeed then you will be given six weeks to improve. If no improvement shown then you will lose your job. Coupled with that, SEN children are expected to make accelerated progress, so no excuses for their special needs! Harsh truths but this is sadly the reality of teaching in 2013.
I too wish I could leave the profession as its sucking the life out of me.

Astelia Sun 20-Jan-13 14:51:40

Bucking the trend here- I am a teacher and I love my job. Secondary maths for over twenty years.

The first few years are very tough but it does get easier. There are tons of different sorts of schools, the trick is to find the right one for you.

3littlerabbits Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:19

Are there any fulltime jobs that dont take up all your time and impact on family life? My standard grad job requires me to take work home / have constant scrutinity / work in evening etc. Teaching has holidays to match those of your children so surely that makes it a bit of a better option with children? I have taught before and loved it, and think teachers do a brilliant job generally btw.

bollywoodfan Sun 20-Jan-13 15:07:19

Gosh are there any primary teachers on MN who actually like their job?

perceptionreality Sun 20-Jan-13 15:09:15

After doing some TA work long ago, I decided I was never going to be a teacher. It seems to be a profession that breeds cynicism, sadly. And I come from a family where a lot of people were teachers/lecturers and they all said don't do it.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:10:20

3littlerabbits Ex works in NHS. Leaves at 5pm and forgets work. Graduate job, good pay.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 20-Jan-13 15:10:26

Most of us like the children, the teaching and the chalkface.
All the dissatisfaction seems to be with the paperwork, the changing goalposts and the fact that almost all judgements made of your ability are very subjective.
Very specific areas to hate.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 20-Jan-13 15:12:09

Plus the continuous feeling in my case that anything and everything that I learnt more than 3 years ago is obsolete and irrelevant.

3littlerabbits Sun 20-Jan-13 15:15:33

Kim147 - clearly Im in the wrong field then smile

noblegiraffe Sun 20-Jan-13 15:16:19

My DH's job certainly doesn't take up all his time, he occasionally puts in an hour or two in the evening, but he leaves every day at 4:30. He's better paid than a UPS teacher. He gets pretty good holidays too. My parents both had decent jobs before they retired and never worked evenings/weekends. A friend who is a dentist works 4 days a week and earns a ridiculous amount of money. I really don't believe that everybody is required to sell their soul to their job the way a teacher is in term time.
That said, the holidays are a great perk, but not good enough to stop a vast number of teachers quitting through stress. And the number of teachers quitting is increasing.

sparkle9 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:32:48

I'm a teacher and would also caution against becoming one. I was paid to do my training and there is no way I would pay 9k for it now.

I love teaching and hate the other crap that comes with it. And this crap just keeps on multiplying. And it's performance related pay from September.

Flisspaps Sun 20-Jan-13 15:39:43

DHis a teacher, secondary. There's nothing he's said or shown me that's knocked this need I have to train!

thegreylady Sun 20-Jan-13 15:45:07

I taught for 30 years I was ready to retire by the end but it was a fulfilling and interesting career and there is nothing that fits better with having dc.My own dd is a teacher and is gradually increasing her part time hours ready to go back full time when her youngest has finished Reception.
The paperwork etc has increased 1000 fold since my time but dd says that if you do the job properly you have nothing to fear from assessment.

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:47:26

Anyone mentioned pension age yet? Doing primary teaching at 68!!!

Euphemia Sun 20-Jan-13 15:49:17

I'm a primary teacher in Scotland and it doesn't seem to be as horrifying as in England!

No SATs, no continual pressure to assess against levels, the inspection system is much more supportive of schools, no academies, no free schools, no grammar schools, no onerous admission procedures for primary or secondary, no Michael Gove. smile

Come to Scotland! Live here for three years and the fees are only £1000. You get your NQT post handed to you. Plenty work available if you choose the area carefully.

I love my job! smile

YorkshireDeb Sun 20-Jan-13 16:24:05

You've done a good sales pitch euphemia. I'm on my way. X

Mybumissquidgy Sun 20-Jan-13 16:49:41

Ooh euphemia has got me interested too! Where do I sign up?!

Euphemia Sun 20-Jan-13 16:57:37
sherazade Sun 20-Jan-13 17:00:58

I did a full time PGCE with a 2 year old and 3 year old. I didn't neglect them. It wasn't easy but it is do-able if you are super organised. There's alot of nonsense that you won't ever need once you're a teacher policies and procedures to learn/read up on/ reflect, essays to write but it's not difficult, it is just the sheer volume of work. If you are highly driven, effecient and cope well under pressure you will be fine. And it is only a year of your life.

I love teaching and don't live in fear of OFSTED. The paperwork is tough in the first year but gets easier. Go for it if its somethintg you really want to do.

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 18:21:41

noble that's great, since this thread started the prospect of a job share looks even more likely! jobshare in a struggling school, or full time in a good school -that's another dilemma I suppose. Or maybe I should move to Scotland ...

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 20-Jan-13 19:10:08

I think it'd be a long, hard old slog to get qualified and find a job, but if you want it, do it! And I speak as a teacher who agrees with all the other teachers saying that they love teaching but not all the other crap that goes with it. I put my heart and soul into the job, and all my time. I quickly realised when I met dp that it was unsustainable and that I'd kill myself if I tried. Fast forward about 7 years and I'm getting to that disillusioned stage that I said id leave teaching before I got to. (if that makes any sense?!) still adore teaching but with two small dc I'm finding it a drain on all of my resources, and I don't spend anywhere near enough time with them during term time (ie, no time at all). Believe me, you won't believe any of this stuff til you get in thee and start doing it. You might find you are one of the lucky ones who ends up in a school that is good to work at.

Mybumissquidgy Mon 21-Jan-13 15:55:37

Thanks euphemia! Off to have a read now smile

EcoLady Mon 21-Jan-13 16:49:33

I'm a career changer into primary teaching, having done PGCE with two DCs. It is the toughest thing ever... and now I am up to my eyes in my NQT post.

My DCs hardly saw me for a year and DH ran the home entirely. I had a student loan for fees and some maintenance, plus a small grant (means tested against DH's salary).

The work can fill every available hour and them some more. I lost 2 stone in weight and learned to manage on a lot less sleep.

But, you know what? I LOVE IT!!! I don't regret it for one second. I have learned to decide what really needs doing and what can actually wait. I got loads of laminating and planning done today on a snow day - stuff that has previously waited. The DCs know when I am available and I make distinct times just for them. They are very proud of what I have achieved ... plus they are great for resources, ideas and slave labour. smile

Go for it.

Phineyj Tue 02-Apr-13 22:50:51

I'm a career changer into secondary teaching (Economics) and have found it hard work but doable. The hours are no worse than in other demanding jobs I've done, when averaged out over the year. However, I like my school a lot and we are a good fit for each other. IMO that is massively important -- I can't imagine doing the amount of work for somewhere I hated, especially given that the salary is not overly generous when you start.

If you are really concerned about pay don't rule out secondary if there is a subject you could do, especially a shortage one. There are more TLR opportunities in secondary, I'd say (payments for extra responsibilities), plus it's more likely you'd be able to be part time if you found the hours too long to be compatible with DC. I also think there tend to be more vacancies in secondary. Work experience in finance could also be an asset in secondary especially in the SE, which it wouldn't be at primary.

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