To consider primary teaching

(42 Posts)
timeforsomethingnewithink Sat 17-Sep-16 12:49:36

I am looking at new career options as I'm really not enjoying my current job. I'm looking into doing a post grad in primary teaching. I started a combined teaching (secondary) degree when I was 18 but I left as I didn't know what I wanted to do. I then went back to uni aged 26 and gained a degree in surveying. I now have a 1 year old and my outlook has changed. I'm finding my job unfulfilling and think primary teaching would be something o would really enjoy. AIBU to consider this given my failed attempt at secondary teaching?

Landoni112 Sat 17-Sep-16 12:55:59

Just be aware of the heavy work load, most teachers leave the profession within 5, so it's a lot of money if you have to pay for your qualification

Nonameyet1 Sat 17-Sep-16 12:57:34

YANBU, I didn't know what I wanted at 18 and went off to uni, then at 26 went to do my PGCE in primary education. I've been teaching 7 years and I love it. Yes it's really hard and the paperwork and government pressures are crap but I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Saying that I did my PGCE when I had no children and no commitments. If you have a good support network I would say go for it. However, before I was sure I wanted to be a teacher I volunteered in a primary school as teaching assistant for a day a week to make sure I really enjoyed the school environment and wanted to be there, so this could be a good start?

ColdTeaAgain Sat 17-Sep-16 12:59:00

Find out about how easy it is get a job in your area first. DH is stuck doing supply and is struggling to get a permanent teaching post. It's so frustrating. There are always so many going for every job that comes up here, the NQTs don't get a look in.

FathomsDeep Sat 17-Sep-16 13:00:06

YWNBU to retrain if that is what you really want. However, I would urge you to get some experience in a primary school first so you know what you're getting yourself into. It's a pretty full on job and you will be scrutinised all the time. You could volunteer in a local primary or try and get a position as a TA (though in some areas there is fierce competition for these).

blankpieceofpaper Sat 17-Sep-16 13:01:57

It is a highly stressful job. It is basically having two separate roles - administrator and educator. Go into it with your eyes open by finding out as much as you can first. You definitely need to do some experience of volunteering or visiting.

Also be aware the primary curriculum has changed hugely recently so maybe do some reading around that.

I am not seeking to dissuade - I am talking from my own experience. I was naive and underprepared when I first started. I am now seeking to leave the secondary sector.

2littlepiggies Sat 17-Sep-16 13:10:00

You could get the qualification then do tutoring or lots of other jobs with a teaching qualification if you find being a teacher stressful.

MagicChanges Sat 17-Sep-16 13:19:41

My son and dil are both primary school teachers and I have to say it's changed their lives, not for the better I'm afraid. They have 2 kids but of school age. They are both stressed to the max. Weekends are spent on planning lessons and dealing with all the paperwork that can't be done in school hours. One works all day Sat and one all day Sun. In addition they work in the evenings several nights a week. They like the kids, that's not the problem, it's all the paperwork etc that the govt demands and then there's the dreaded OFSTED inspections.

I have friends whose daughters are primary school teachers and both are struggling. The one was in tears to her mum 1 week into the new term saying "when is there time for me to have a life...." yes OK they have the holidays but the teachers I know spend at least 2/3 days of half terms working and a week of the summer, same at Easter and Christmas and given that they lose half of their weekends I reckon if you calculated it, they would have no more holiday than "ordinary" jobs.

OK there are some people who love it, and will thrive despite the stress, but with a young child as well I wouldn't do it were I you. Can't understand the poster whose DH can't get a job? There is a huge shortage of primary school teachers and they are reliant on agency staff which costs them more of course.

I'm ashamed that before my family started primary school teaching I thought they had it easy - thought they finished at 3.30!! Noooooo they don't finish till at least 6 and often later and they come in dragging one of those small cases that you use as hand luggage on a flight behind them, full of books to mark and god knows what else.

timeforsomethingnewithink Sat 17-Sep-16 13:28:05

Thanks for all the replays so far. There are lots of teacher vacancies in my area, in fact they are actively trying to encourage more people to train.

I realise there is a lot of out of hours work involved but I'm doing that in my current position also. I'm going to have a serious think about it. I have a few friends in the profession so I think I will have a good chat to them too.

Euphemia Sat 17-Sep-16 13:38:50

I had another career before I became a teacher at age 40, and I have to say I love it more than anything else I've ever done. Even bad days, when the kids have been awful, have a lot of enjoyment and job satisfaction in them.

I teach in Scotland where the workload doesn't seem to be as bad as in England. I'd recommend it as a career.

FitbitAddict Sat 17-Sep-16 13:57:45

Have you looked at the entry requirements for training? When I trained, your degree had to be in a subject relevant to the primary curriculum.

I'm a Year 2 teacher and SENCo and SLT member. This is an overview of my last seven days:

Sat: 2 hours marking/planning
Sun: 6 hours planning, prep, email
Mon: at school from 7.20 until 5.50; 2 hours work at home
Tues: at school from 7.35 until 5.50; 2 hours work at home
Weds: at school from 7.20 until 5:50; 1.5 hours work at home
Thurs: at school from 7.10 until 4.50; tutoring for 1 hour; 1.5 hours work at home
Fri: at school from 7.20 until 5.50 (spent the evening doing ironing to give myself a break!)

Still fancy primary teaching? I'm lucky in that my commute is a ten minute walk (and I love my job).

MrsHandles Sat 17-Sep-16 13:57:58

I'm a primary teacher. I leave home at 7:30 and return between 6 and 6:30pm. I make myself have food before I start work again until around 9pm. Each night. I then have Saturday as my day off and work each Sunday preparing, planning, marking etc. The meetings, paperwork, recording of everything you do, paperwork, SLT questioning why little Johnny hasn't made progress, paperwork, resourcing and actually teaching, make the job highly stressful and extremely time consuming.

Most teachers with young children work part-time just so they are able to see their kids. I'm also seeing more and more teachers not having children because of the job. I'm currently childless, but have decided that I could only work part-time if I were to become a parent.

I do enjoy my job, but it's become unrecognisable in the ten years I've been teaching.

Please think carefully and get real-life experience before going into primary teaching. smile

MrsHandles Sat 17-Sep-16 13:59:26

Just to add, my commute is a five minute walk, so I'm in school 7:35 until 6:25ish.

OwlinaTree Sat 17-Sep-16 14:14:19

The job is great if you enjoy it. Like any job there are negatives, but if you enjoy the good bits they outweigh the negatives bits. An awful lot depends on where you work and what the expectations of your headteacher/SLT are.

I do think any sort of career change is going to be tough with a very young child, even doing the pgce ime involved long college hours and long days on teaching practice.

A teaching assistant course would be less demanding on your time, and if you could qualify and then try and work in a variety of schools by joining an agency you could then find out which schools you would rather work in and then consider on the job training qualify as a teacher in a few years? Just an idea.

EddieStobbart Sat 17-Sep-16 14:24:27

I'm considering the same thing as you (previous career also property related funnily enough). I'm arranging to do some volunteering in my DC school plus the afterschool club and have applied for a teaching assistant position (which I'm sure I won't get but good to practice an application).

The hours are obviously long but don't seem very different to my previous job (and less than DH who works past midnight most nights). I'm also in Scotland which may make a difference - I've asked every primary teacher I meet what they think of their job and have yet to find one who says they don't like it, most say they love it (these are not teachers as my DCs school).

I haven't given holidays any thought in my decision making. DH and I worked full time and clubs, grandparents and annual leave covered the school breaks so I'm assuming that is how we will continue.

timeforsomethingnewithink Sat 17-Sep-16 14:26:09

Euphemia I'm also in Scotland so that is good to hear.

Are there any other Scottish teachers that have any comments?

timeforsomethingnewithink Sat 17-Sep-16 14:30:02

Entry requirements are a degree from a higher education institute, higher English at C or above and standard grade maths at level 1 or 2. I have all of the above.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 17-Sep-16 14:41:35

Are there any other Scottish teachers that have any comments?

My mother is. I am meeting her tomorrow. Will ask for her comments and post them if noone else gets back to you.

I've thought about primary teaching as well, but lack the SG maths at 1/2. sad

Cashewnutts Sat 17-Sep-16 14:46:08

One thing to consider, workload-wise, is how much of a workload your DP/H also has.
Since my pfb DD came along, I've decided to not work after my 13week mat leave payback time. Both DP and I are teachers and with us both having such high workload, we reasoned it's not fair on DD or any other DC that come along for us both to be working into the evenings and for at least one weekend day.

If your DP/H has a high workload, you definitely should think about how comfortable you would be with your DC not having so much directed time with parents. Otherwise, go for it! We need more teachers. And degree shouldn't have to be in a primary related subject, mines in textiles ffs!

AlMinzerAndHisPyramidOfDogs Sat 17-Sep-16 14:47:47

I wouldn't recommend it, from what i see with teachers i know.
its really only a job that's suitable for single people who are happy not to have a life outside of school.
there's too much work to do to have a relationship or kids on top of it all.
busy at school all day long and then straight home to prep until its time for bed.
prep all weekend long.
no textbooks allowed anymore so you have to cobble together all your own resources which is monumentally time consuming.
scouring the internet for resources then photocopying, gluing, cutting, pasting, sticking, folding, stapling all because textbooks are forbidden.
carving out a few moments for washing, shopping and eating here and there but rush them because you have to prep.
it doesn't pay that well.
sounds like a horrible job.

Euphemia Sat 17-Sep-16 16:25:00

I've been teaching for ten years and it's rare that I bring work home.

EddieStobbart Sat 17-Sep-16 17:41:18

I went to the open day of a local secondary school where all children have IPads from the third year. The teachers were raving about how great it was up be able to essentially just post all the notes for the course online at the beginning of the session, how much less prep was needed for the basics, the language teacher was enthusing about the ability to give better quality feedback for spoken work as she could listen to work the pupils had recorded. This was secondary school but they thought new technology was helpin with some aspects of the workload.

At my DCs primary school, it's deserted when I collect from afterschool club.

EddieStobbart Sat 17-Sep-16 17:46:32

My DCs use text books. I've just a bought a copy of the maths book DC1 is working on because my one criticism is that I never know what she is up to (the ubiquitous "I can't remember" doesn't help).

GoblinLittleOwl Sat 17-Sep-16 17:58:15

Make sure you really want to teach children before you start; help in a local primary school and think hard about why you gave up the first time round.
It can be the best of jobs: creative, innovative, challenging, never boring, but there are many pressures and you have to be sure you really want to do it.
I loved it for the first twenty-five years; it was the political pressure and parental interference that damaged it.

freerangeeggs Sat 17-Sep-16 18:25:26

I'm a secondary teacher and I love my job. I don't know if I could hack primary though!

I've taught in both Scotland and England and I would agree that the workload in England is greater, with more scrutiny. Scottish unions are a bit stronger I think. There are other downsides to working in Scotland, though - I hear the new curriculum has been a bit of a headache.

A lot of it depends on the school. Some schools have frankly stupid expectations of their staff, while others are balanced and reasonable; some are lovely, welcoming paces to work, whilst others are horrid. My own school is a really pleasant environment, but I've worked in some stinkers. Teachers have a tendency to martyr themselves, too. There's no need to work yourself to death in order to do a good job; it's always harder at the start, admittedly, but I've been doing this for a long time now and I'm generally able to balance things.

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