To train to be a secondary English school teacher?

(34 Posts)
Whoatemyunicorn Mon 25-Jan-16 08:43:26

Been off work looking after DC for 7 years and feel that returning to work in admin is not the best for family financially.

Oh suggested teaching as lots of others have told me over years. I'd love to and have done work experience in an inner city London school.

Everyone who is a teacher who I know hates their job.

It makes me nervous as does the year long training.

AIBU thinking this is a good career option if I want a work life balance?

I'd be teaching secondary English

PitPatKitKat Mon 25-Jan-16 08:55:15

When did you do your experience?

I thought about primary teaching about 12 years ago and did work experience in an inner city London school then. Would have loved to have done it based on that, but couldn't get finances quite right to retrain and not work for a year.

Quite glad now that it didn't work out. Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole now. Rising class sizes, poor morale, increased bureaucracy/standards, performance measures, number of people leaving, rise of academy chains etc.

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Jan-16 09:00:07

I've kind of considered this too, OP.

PitPat what is the issue with the rise of the academy chains? I don't understand this at all.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 09:00:37

There is a staffroom section - you might get better (more realistic) answers there.

I used to be a secondary school English teacher - it was my 2nd career (or 3rd if you count a few years teaching EFL mainly for the travel opportunities as a separate career).

I only lasted 5 years, mainly because I found the management in secondary schools spectacularly unpleasant. Senior management were massively lacking in people skills, and middle management mainly interested in dumping data collection and admin tasks on those lower down the food chain so that they could then take credit for the results.

The word "initiative" took on a tinge of doom, because there would be a new initiative every 6 months, and half of them contradicted earlier ones which were meant to continue running alongside. Most of them boiled down to nothing more than more paper work and data collection. Any attempt to discuss, question and analyse the usefulness of any "initiatives" would get your card marked as a trouble maker.

The actual teaching was fine, I was prepared for behaviour problems etc and most kids are decent... I wasn't prepared to be patronised and dumped on and expected to be so Stepford about transparently stupid policies which vastly increased my workload.

There was also a ridiculous presentee culture at the "good" school I worked at (which was not the case at the more challenging but improving school). Due to traffic on my commute and wanting to "work smart" and later to having a child, I preferred to get into work as early as the building was open, and to leave relatively early (taking work home of course), but there was a massive amount of sneering and disapproval for leaving before 5pm regardless of the fact I'd been in school working since 7am and the people sneering about me leaving at 4pm on days without meetings scheduled had rolled up to school at 8.30am... My head of department told me I should keep the same hours as her "in case" she needed to talk to me at 4.30pm, and didn't appreciate me suggesting she could tell me earlier in the day if she needed me to stay, as leaving at 5pm added an hour to my commute, whereas coming in for 7am and leaving at 4pm to carry on working at home was a much more efficient use of time.

There is a much bigger marking work load in secondary English than most other subjects IMO simply due to the fact you almost never have simple right or wrong answers and there is such a volume.

I certainly felt less valued, and was less well paid, as a UK secondary school teacher than in the lowly office manager role I did before hand.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Mon 25-Jan-16 09:02:52

'Everyone who is a teacher who I know hates their job.'

That tells you everything you need to know. Teaching is not conducive to family life. There will be no work/life balance. You will be working evenings and weekends. I really hope the general public is coming round to the idea that teaching is not 9-3.30. It really, really isn't.

Pobspits Mon 25-Jan-16 09:03:38

I'm following this because I could have written the OP exactly

Whoatemyunicorn Mon 25-Jan-16 09:04:06

Thanks for your responses. Ive been vacillating over this decision for years. Its such a big commitment

Whoatemyunicorn Mon 25-Jan-16 09:04:30

I didn't experience 3 years ago

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Jan-16 09:04:54

but there was a massive amount of sneering and disapproval for leaving before 5pm regardless of the fact I'd been in school working since 7am and the people sneering about me leaving at 4pm on days without meetings scheduled had rolled up to school at 8.30am... My head of department told me I should keep the same hours as her "in case" she needed to talk to me at 4.30pm, and didn't appreciate me suggesting she could tell me earlier in the day if she needed me to stay, as leaving at 5pm added an hour to my commute, whereas coming in for 7am and leaving at 4pm to carry on working at home was a much more efficient use of time.

Jeez, were you working with teenagers?

That's bonkers.

mrsjskelton Mon 25-Jan-16 09:09:22

It's a job with an enormous amount of pressure. If you're looking for work - life balance, you will find it but it takes a few years in the job to work it all out! Good luck in whatever you choose OP.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Mon 25-Jan-16 09:10:38

Jeez, were you working with teenagers? well yes Apple but they weren't the ones sneering grin

Seriously though I did sometimes wonder about the senior teachers/ senior management who had gone straight from school to university to PGCE to first teaching job - some of them were a bit institutionalised and out of touch with the world outside schools. Certainly there was a lack of awareness of how to manage adult staff in a positive, motivating way! Refusing to countenance any kind of questioning or analysis of policies and initiatives or more efficient ways of working was really soul destroying.

waitingforsomething Mon 25-Jan-16 09:13:58

I am a secondary teacher. It provides exactly the opposite of work-life balance, particularly a subject like English where you will have a huge amount of marking and coursework.
Marking, assessment and preparation eat into every evening, every holiday and most weekends. The pressure from SLT is enormous and you are expected to justify the results of your students good and bad.
Yabu if you think doing this will allow you any kind of balance in your life, and the training year is hideous

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Jan-16 09:14:13

I've spent nearly 20 years in IT - no one cares what hours you keep and it would be nigh on impossible to figure out what they actually are because everyone works flexibly.

That's such a tired way of thinking, as you say.

MistyMeena Mon 25-Jan-16 09:16:08

I'm an ex teacher with lots of ex teacher friends. It's the least family friendly job you can do, really.
Added to which English is probably the hardest because of the marking. 20 classes a week, 30 kids in each class. You cannot mark an awful lot in school time...

AppleSetsSail Mon 25-Jan-16 09:16:42

Sorry to attach myself like a barnacle to your thread OP, but I have a question... is it better in the independent sector?

I realise it's possibly less satisfying to teach overly privileged children.

PitPatKitKat Mon 25-Jan-16 09:19:06

Apple Basically accountability and transparency

At least they can no longer teach creationism...so that's progress.

jellyfrizz Mon 25-Jan-16 09:50:18

There was a thread here not so long ago which you might find interesting: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2493519-To-wonder-why-so-many-teachers-want-to-quit?msgid=57210616

ArmchairTraveller Mon 25-Jan-16 09:52:10

So, what makes you think you'd like to teach secondary English, OP?
I agree with all the comments about workload and marking, core subject pressure and complete lack of work-life balance so far.

BubbleandSqueeeek Mon 25-Jan-16 11:07:02

Could I suggest working in education without becoming a teacher? I run careers and marketing in an academy, which means I get a half decent wage, good working hours, good holidays, and the enjoyment of working in a learning environment, without having to take on the drudgery of teaching. I take a hit financially because I could find a better paid job in private sector but it would come with a higher level of stress. Best compromise I could find for a mum of two young children, so far.

Like you, I've often thought of training to teach, but having worked in a variety of sectors, the only one I would consider is post 16. Too much pressure on secondary teachers - the 9 - 3.30pm job with 13 weeks holiday is a myth and I (personally) wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Although it must be a very rewarding job at times, teaching is under appreciated and under supported.

iciclewinter Mon 25-Jan-16 11:19:31

> AIBU thinking this is a good career option if I want a work life balance?

Yes.

Whoatemyunicorn Mon 25-Jan-16 11:51:41

Thanks for suggestions Bubble, will investigate.

Am thinking of doing English as this was my degree subject. I have tutored, assisted in classrooms, but have never made the jump.

I like teenagers and worked with many challenging ones but this is not what is putting me off, more the workload.

Whoatemyunicorn Mon 25-Jan-16 11:52:55

Also Bubble how did you get into your field?

RumBabaPudding Mon 25-Jan-16 12:36:22

Have you looked at 'TeachPlus' or whatever it is called. Its a scheme were you can teach (Secondary) for a year but no strings?? I think you need a degree, but not in a particular subject and I don't think you need PCGE, you just do a basic introduction course and straight in.

DarkRoots Mon 25-Jan-16 12:44:17

I love my job!
It very much depends on:
- the school (leadership, etc);
- your passion for it;
- your ability to work under pressure;
- your willingness to devote a lot of your time to work.

I work around 60 hours a week. Eveything is fine until one of us is ill, etc. then it gets v tough.
But I absolutely adore it. Don't even consider it otherwise!

theycallmemellojello Mon 25-Jan-16 13:02:28

My sister works in a london state secondary school. It's rated outstanding and well managed but the students are still a social mix and many are challenging. She LOVES it and has an excellent work life balance - she does not work evenings (except parents evenings) but I think she does work on Sunday afternoons/evenings. The holidays make up for that though IMO. Her first year teaching was very hard and she worked a lot more hours. I think that her school is really well run, and she also very much enjoys the day to day of teaching, which helps. Just to say that it isn't a nightmare job for everyone.

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