to think teaching isn't the idea career for mums?

(217 Posts)
alisunshine29 Wed 27-Feb-13 14:25:10

I'm studying for a degree at the moment and had planned to complete my PGCE afterwards but since speaking to the mum of DD's friend I've changed my mind. She's a teacher at the same school as her daughters and they go to breakfast club from 8 and after school club til. 6. She said they are in bed for 7 and then she has a couple of hours more work to do every night, plus a days worth at the weekend. She gets to attend nativity etc but only because they're at the same school otherwise she'd miss those events. AIBU to think a 9-5 job might actually be more practical?

DSM Wed 27-Feb-13 14:30:05

You are joking, yes?

What do you think will happen in your '9-5' job?! You can't waltz out at 3pm to collect them, nor leave for nativitys etc (which are only for the first 2 years normally anyway)

And you don't get the school holidays off work.

This is a reverse thread, right?

DSM Wed 27-Feb-13 14:30:32

Oh, sorry to clarify - YABU and Ridiculous

CailinDana Wed 27-Feb-13 14:30:33

The holidays are fab but during term time you're working all hours. Yanbu

NinaHeart Wed 27-Feb-13 14:32:18

I'm not sure I know of anyone in a 9-5 job who actually works 9-5. I'm out of the house at least 7-7 in mine, no lunch break and 5 weeks annual holiday. And I used to be a teacher...

DSM Wed 27-Feb-13 14:33:57

And what about dads who teach, is it alright for them?

Agree with nina - I think you have a warped idea about what a 9-5 job entails.

brainonastick Wed 27-Feb-13 14:38:31

No, its not perfect during term time, but no full time job is compatible with actually seeing your children much during the week, unless you are working for yourself/working from home.

Only part time work will really enable you to see the children during the week, and that has potentially massive downsides (e.g. lack of career progression). Or SAHM of course.

I'm impressed you are thinking about this now. Most women get to the point where you realise there is no perfect solution, and then wail about why no one told you before!

And yes, I know it should be a dad's problem too - so factor in marrying a man with a lovely flexible job to your equation smile

Vagndidit Wed 27-Feb-13 14:39:05

It works for some mums, but it's certainly not the sort of career one easily takes on with small children at home. Those that take it on thinking it's "family friendly" are in for a rude awakening which is why I'm an ex-teacher At least with a non teaching job, I can schedule holiday time when I want and not have to sacrifice all evenings, weekends and term breaks for the sake of planning and marking.

brainonastick Wed 27-Feb-13 14:39:38

Sorry - lovely flexible well paid job wink

aldiwhore Wed 27-Feb-13 14:39:49

You'll always find someone who tries to put you off what they do. You'll always find people who love to complain about how hard they work, how little time they have, how awful their lives are (the fmls).

If you want to teach, teach. If you want a naice jobthat fits around family EVERYDAY leaving you able to do every school run and spend every waking hour of the weekend, and school holidays with them, then you're looking at teaching and working full time from teh wrong angle.

There's nothing wrong with having 'an ideal' situation in mind, but life and work is about compromise and balance.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 27-Feb-13 14:42:47

Won't the holidays be something of a positive, though? If you have DCs, can your DH or DP attend events? You'll still see plenty of your children. Perhaps part-time teaching would be ideal for you if you can manage on less income. Depending on what you are teaching, coaching is always in demand.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 27-Feb-13 14:45:54

I taught Post Compulsory for a while, I didn't manage it with good support from dh. This might be because at heart I am a sahm.
I did miss a lot and also had work during the evenings, weekends and didn't get all summer or all half terms as holiday. The pay was bad in comparison to Primary as well.
There are plenty of people who do manage it though. I think teaching is a calling though, not something you choose to be particularly child friendly.
Whatever you job you take there will obviously be some sacrifices to family life.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 27-Feb-13 14:47:36

In a way YANBU. I work 9-5 in the sort of job which means I don't have to work extra hours and can take time off for school stuff if I need to. I can also do drop off.

DH is a teacher and doesn't have any flexibility during the school day. So he can't pick up/drop off and can rarely get to school plays etc. But the big plus for us is that all the school holidays are covered and that really does compensate for the other stuff. Besides with us both not teaching we get to cover all the school stuff

Zipbangboom Wed 27-Feb-13 14:48:52

Supply teaching can really work if you need to have days off, want to leave earlier and be less committed. I did it when my children were little and loved it. The down side is that there is no guaranteed income but if you are good you can easily be fully booked. Schools are using supply teachers less now but I have friends who make a healthy income from it.

KellyElly Wed 27-Feb-13 14:49:04

What do you think us parents in our stess free 9-5 jobs do in the holidays????? I have a 9-5 and have to leave home at 8 and don't get back until 6 and DD is in bed at 7, so only get to see her for the same amount of time a working teacher would. I also only have four weeks paid holiday a year. I am really failing to understand your point.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 27-Feb-13 14:51:27

oh and the other downside for DH is that he deals with kids all day and then deals with kids every evening and every holiday. It is quite exhausting for him from the POV of headspace

ceramicunicorn Wed 27-Feb-13 14:51:55

So you've decided to change your entire career path based on one conversation? Did you really think that teaching involved leaving at 3.30?

motherofvikings Wed 27-Feb-13 14:52:01

But there isn't an ideal career for mums at all.

If you work you always miss something.

It's about finding a balance of what you need financially and for your own self worth etc and what you feel your dc need.

I was a teacher and now I'm sahm. I don't miss it but 5 years and 5 heads in one school will do that...

soverylucky Wed 27-Feb-13 14:52:48

Term time is tricky but I tend to do the vast majority of marking and prep when the children are in bed. The holidays make up for it. Many people don't realise how intensive term time is for teachers but equally many teachers don't recognise how this is balanced out by the holidays. If they ever mess with the holidays I am leaving teaching!

defineme Wed 27-Feb-13 14:52:56

I think it depends on your subject at secondary and your work ethic! I think primary must be very difficult.My dh could work all night every night, but restricts himself to certain nights. He has a position of responsibility so has more hours in school time to do work and gets in early to do work before school starts. He works the odd day in the holidays, but not many.
I'm a part time teacher and never work when the kids are home/evenings. Career progression is limited, but I'm still paying into a pension and have a steady job. I was able to walk straight into a job after 9 years as a sahm.
My dm and inlaws do my school runs on the days I work and cover any plays or inset days I can't cover too. I also do evening tuition that pays for extras like holidays.
Tbh I feel like I'm blessed that I fell onto a PGCE course when I couldn't think what to do with my life all those years ago. I love the kids I teach and I'm happy to go to work.
So teaching can be a very good job for parents and it really depends on your circumstances.

YABU and blinkered!!

How do you think us mums who do a full time 9-5 job cope in the school holidays. It's no bed of roses I can assure you. And yes, like the poster above said, we only get 4 weeks hol per year, 9 weeks less than a teacher.

lainiekazan Wed 27-Feb-13 14:53:35

I think it is better to be a secondary school teacher. And pick a subject with not much marking.

Some secondary school teachers worked damn hard. Others don't.

Only it would be a bit of a bad idea to go into something purely with the idea of not working very hard.

PatriciaHolm Wed 27-Feb-13 14:57:00

I think you'll find anyone who works full time probably has their children in some sort of childcare from 8-6, and many aren't going to be able to drop everything to see nativities etc. She probably sees more of her kids events than most fulltime working parents do!

Have to say, if this is all it takes to put you off the PGCE, maybe it isn't for you. Teacher training, and teaching, are hard work.

FWIW I'm an ex-teacher and I agree with you to a certain extent. For me the 9-5 is a lot better because I live very close to work so only a 5 minute commute, then there's flexi time, meaning I can plan my days to suit child care and my DH's shifts. And the magic that is working from home. Plus I never have to do any work outside of my regular hours anymore.
Not the same for those who are out of the house from7-7 though

MrsHoarder Wed 27-Feb-13 15:00:04

See I think that if you've got a 2 parent household it would be ideal to have one teacher and one non-teacher. Then holidays are dealt with easily but one parent has that bit more time/flexibility during termtime that teachers just don't get.

But I think that teaching is a vocation that a lot of people including me aren't cut out for.

chocoholic05 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:01:32

I have three teacher friends who job share so work part time. They feel that way they get the best of both worlds. On the days they aren't working they can take to and pick up from school they get school hols off and can usually make it to school plays either cos its their not working day or by swapping with their job share partner. However I see your point re working fulltime as a teacher

Fluffy1234 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:01:52

I don't think YABU but then who ever said teaching is an ideal career for a mum?

DonderandBlitzen Wed 27-Feb-13 15:02:21

Yes i think your friend has given a realistic description.

chocoholic05 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:03:44

I have three teacher friends who job share so work part time. They feel that way they get the best of both worlds. On the days they aren't working they can take to and pick up from school they get school hols off and can usually make it to school plays either cos its their not working day or by swapping with their job share partner. However I see your point re working fulltime as a teacher

chocoholic05 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:08:23

oops really didn't mean to post this twice!!!

chocoholic05 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:17:55

If your not a mum you don't know how you'll feel when you become one. You may decide to be a sahm for a while be a supply teacher or part time or any number of things like private tuition etc. You can't know for sure what you'll do in the future til you become a mim iyswim!

cantspel Wed 27-Feb-13 15:17:58

I want teachers who go into teaching because they have a vocation for it not because they want a job that will fit around their childcare requirements whatever the hours they are working.

KatAndKit Wed 27-Feb-13 15:22:40

Many teachers finish work before 6pm (obviously sometimes there are parents evenings and also meetings after school till 5 once a week). However, those teachers who do go home at 4.30 only manage this by doing a couple of hours work at home once their kids have gone to bed and most teachers also have to put in quite a bit of planning time at the weekend. I taught before I had my baby and even as a single person without children, I was working quite long hours in termtime. If you have children and you are a teacher it is important to be very efficient and organized (not like me then!)

Teaching was never supposed to be a career for mums. It is for people who want to teach children. Many of those people happen to have children of their own and make the demands of their role work either because they want to or because they have to. Obviously there is the option of taking on a part time teaching job although this will reduce your career progression opportunities and also your income.

Fluffy1234 Wed 27-Feb-13 15:23:35

Cantspel i agree. It's quite depressing to think teachers may have gone into teaching to fit around their children and not for a love of teaching.

Lueji Wed 27-Feb-13 15:28:17

What you want is a job that allows you flexible time and to work from home (say when children are ill), or that you can sometimes take your child to work.

Mine is not too bad in that respect (research institute with some teaching involved).
But it also requires me to travel away sometimes.

brainonastick Wed 27-Feb-13 15:35:13

Cantspel and fluffy - don't be silly, everyone has personal reasons for choosing a job, as well as professional ones. Just because someone thinks it might fit in with their family, doesn't mean that they are not dedicated or brilliant at their job.

That kind of thinking is what leads to typical 'women's' jobs like teaching, nursing, caring, being totally undervalued.

cantspel Wed 27-Feb-13 15:45:02

No they are undervalued because women go into teaching as they want a job around their children rather than a carer in teaching so people begin to think of it as a mothers role. Hence why men are so under represented in primary schools.

brainonastick Wed 27-Feb-13 15:54:22

I disagree.

Men are under represented because teaching has historically been seen as a women's job.

Because it has historically been seen as a women's job, it is undervalued (actually, less undervalued in financial terms than it used to be).

As you can see from the thread, teaching does not fit around the children. And even if we assume that it does fit in around children, and assuming that this is one of the reasons women chose teaching (because women are wrongly assumed to be the ones who have to worry about childcare, not men), then that still does not mean that these women are poor teachers. Correlation does not equal causation.

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 27-Feb-13 15:57:20

I was going to say that doesn't sound quite right to me cant. Besides the majority of the female teachers in DS1's school don't have children. Brains explanation is far more likely.

Fluffy1234 Wed 27-Feb-13 16:01:24

I completely understand ( I mean really understand having studied gender, race and class for three years at university) why teaching is seen as a 'women's' job and along with the 5'c's is undervalued but I don't see how my thinking undervalues it.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Wed 27-Feb-13 16:03:14

I disagree. What other jobs can you leave at 4 or 4.30. I teach and tend to go in early, and leave early except on meeting nights. I get to spend a few hours with my 2 dd's in the evening and I then I start work after they're in bed. What other job has this flexibility plus the holidays are great. My Dh does the morning drop off.
However I do miss getting to see sports day, navity although I've been lucky that twice they coincided with my planning free lessons and the head let me go. I'm not sure i'd want to train to be a teacher with young kids at home as the first few years are hard. Also I've avoided any management posts since having kids as its too much of a commitment.

brainonastick Wed 27-Feb-13 16:05:07

Fluffy - it undervalues it because you are assuming that the women can't choose a job that fits in around children and also have a love of that job. That you can't do both.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 27-Feb-13 16:09:13

None of the teachers at our school go home before 6 pm. Many stay longer than that. Most of them arrive at 8 am. They all do some work at the weekends.

There are jobs that have better hours.

I don't think many people go into teaching because it fits around children. Most teachers i know do not have children, or they have older children and teaching is their second career. Those people have all chosen it as a vocation, as far as I can see.

I think it's such an intense job, to do properly, that to do it full time would be hard for me.

I disagree with you, cantspel

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 27-Feb-13 16:11:45

There is no perfect solution to wanting to/having to work and having children. Whatever job you have there will be a compromise somewhere - often it is you as a person. Inevitably balls will get dropped at some point.

CrapBag Wed 27-Feb-13 16:18:19


I think if you are already a teacher then have children it is slightly different as you already know what the job entails etc, however all the teachers that I know all have said about how much work outside of school there is and many of them really dislike the job.

I know someone who is doing a PGCE, with small children. She is tearing her hair out and struggling big time. Ultimately she is doing it for the holidays and what the pay will be in 5 years time. I don't think she has ever had a burning desire to teach but she sees it as a job that fits in with family life, it doesn't at all and I think she is unrealistic about it. I think people who don't know really don't realise how much there is to do outside of the 9-3.30 school hours. DH trained to be a teacher and he hated it and never actually did it, mainly because of the amount of work outside. There are plently of jobs that don't actually require you to do mountains of work at home, which is ultimately what DH wanted.

manicinsomniac Wed 27-Feb-13 16:20:22

welllll, it can depend but I think YABU.

I got pregnant as a teenager at university and knew I'd be a single mum. SO I decided teaching was the only way ofrward tbh.

I made the conscious decision to apply to private schools so I could work in a job which, although it requires well over 60 hours on site during term time, allows me to give my children a private education for almost nothing, provides total wrap around care in term time (they can even sleep here if I'm working very late and freuqently they need to!), gives me accomodation in an aflfuent area for almost nothing and gives us the whole holidays to ourselves. When I have to work during the holidays they have the run of acres of school grounds to play in while I do it.

Teaching was honestly the only job I could think that would make parenting feasible for me at all.

JudithOfThePeace Wed 27-Feb-13 16:42:27

I agree with what you say about teaching - when I was teaching, I was out of the house 8-6:30, worked every evening and weekend and most days in school holidays, just to do my basic job description. I think public perception of the job is often seriously wide of the mark.

However, I can't imagine a 9-5 job is any better. Many still involve additional time and the childcare headache of the school holidays must be hideous.

Full-time work of any description is bloody hard to work around children and no job is 'ideal'.

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 16:48:01

I agree with Judith. The advantage of teaching is that you have the same holidays (providing they don't go to a school across the county border) and that is worth a lot.
The best idea is to get a teaching job share and not do full time.

TeamEdward Wed 27-Feb-13 16:49:18

I recently left teaching as I was sick of not being able to enjoy time with my DC. I have now set up my own business, where I can do my hours when I need to and still do school run etc.
Any full time role is incompatible with spending quality time with young DC. As women, we can have it all, just not all at the same time! grin

MammaMedusa Wed 27-Feb-13 16:56:16

I think you can't have any job without sacrifice. Our household works because I work mornings and DH usually works afternoons and evenings. My mother comes toward the end of summer term to stay every year and my dad just before Christmas every year. So between us we can usually provide one adult at each required school event. Even so it feels a juggle at times!

I think if you have gone into teaching before you have children and have a couple of years under your belt, then you can probably find jobs/hours, etc, to suit you. I think it would be a tough profession to start when you already have children, especially if you are hankering after lots of time with those kids.

lljkk Wed 27-Feb-13 17:03:36

I'm in the yanbu camp, not a family friendly career at all.
Then again, I'm not sure what is. sad

mrsstewpot Wed 27-Feb-13 17:41:01

I am a primary teacher, not currently working as I gave up my job to change location when pregnant. Have been unable to secure a new teaching job since moving however now that I have a demanding 16 month old the thought of giving my attention and energy to other folks' kids does not appeal at all!

Considering a career change!

Giggle78 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:08:22


I used to be a HOD and work full time with one ds and that was very demanding. I have dropped the responsibility and gone pt to three days a week. I have to say I think its absolutely brilliant.

Being part time is a fantastic combination of working and being at home. Great pay and great holidays and great times with my children.

However its taken me ten years to get here. That's a lot of experience, a lot of mistakes made, a lot of sleepless nights, and a lot of planning and marking done.

Doing a PGCE means that there is a whole lot of work ahead but I do think that being a teacher combines well with family life - particularly if you work part time. Plus there is a lot of women in teaching who have children themselves.

Being in middle management and higher is a different thing altogether and requires a huge amount of commitment to the school.

lainiekazan Wed 27-Feb-13 18:13:05

And you have to earn the right to go part time. The head of the school at which i was a governor was tearing her hair out with teachers offering one day, or two. One teacher, appointed as the head of a key stage, asked to work Mondays only after one term.

Some teachers get lucky and can work a nice job share, but you can,t start out in one.

letseatgrandma Wed 27-Feb-13 18:14:13

Swings and roundabouts really. Teachers get decent holidays so don't have to think about holiday cover but on the other hand-can't get the time off to see school plays etc Non-teachers have to juggle the holidays but can take leave in term time to watch school plays etc

coldcupoftea Wed 27-Feb-13 18:17:33

The job you are looking for is a TA. Family friendly, work school hours only, still very fulfilling. Money is crap though!

JollyYellowGiant Wed 27-Feb-13 18:18:14

My longterm plan is teaching, but I won't get there until my children are secondary school age, or just about. I'm only 26 though, so even if it takes me 14 years to get there I'll have quite a few years in the job before retirement.

There is no perfect job. Being a sahm would be wonderful, but it doesn't exactly pay well.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 27-Feb-13 18:19:12

I teach part time and have done since having Dd. It is absolutely bloody fantastic. I know I am extremely lucky to work with fantastic children and the most dedicated, caring, innovative team you can imagine. Even in that setting though I think the hours would be difficult to manage with Dd if I was full time especially with things like governors meetings and parents evenings. However, knowing that you WILL be at home nearly every weekend (there are a few weekend school activities through the year) and in the holidays is brilliant.

WheresTheCat Wed 27-Feb-13 18:19:45

Just confused that anyone would choose to go into teaching as an 'easy' job to do. And if your heart's not in it, you don't enjoy it, I should think it'd be the worst job in the world.
I've taught full time with little ones - it's not easy but you have to be super organised and so it's manageable.
But please don't go into teachng unless it's something you really really want to do.

Babyroobs Wed 27-Feb-13 18:22:05

The 13+ weeks holiday would be appealing though .

Viviennemary Wed 27-Feb-13 18:24:59

If you said 'teaching isn't the ideal career for anyone' I might have agreed. Teaching is really hard work these days and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Every teacher I know is either stressed out or retired. I suppose the holidays might be seen as a convenience for some people. I agree 9-5 is much better. Out of the office and for most people their work has finished.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 27-Feb-13 18:29:30

Agree wheresthecat, not a job to do if you are not particularly motivated to do it. It is full on when you are in the classroom and not for the faint hearted but also fantastic.

IsabelleRinging Wed 27-Feb-13 18:32:00

Working full time, whatever the the job, is not ideal if you also want to spend a lot of time with your children.

However, teaching has more 'out of hours' work than some 9-5 jobs so YANBU.

Springsister Wed 27-Feb-13 18:38:14

Teaching is very demanding. You are performing all day with no real breaks as kids come and get support or you have bus stop duty, break duty, after school catch up sessions, mentoring at breaks and lunches. After school meetings and constant training on changes to curriculum etc. plus planning and marking equals mega amounts of paperwork.

I leave house at 7 take dc to childminder then pick up to get home at 6.
Sundays I do paperwork and planning.
Half term holidays I usually get ill.

Love my job but its not the dream job people think it is.

BanishedToPadua Wed 27-Feb-13 19:48:38

I agree with Giggle. Part-time teaching is very compatible with having children. I work in a secondary school and my timetable is about 0.5 but it is spread over 4 days. This means that I can take my daughter to school and pick her up 3 times a week. I can catch up on marking and preparation on my day off so that I am free at the weekends and evenings.

However, if you work full time and have extra responsibilities, there is not much of an advantage over other full time jobs. You do have the holidays, but you will be working, in effect, 6 days a week during term time.

mizu Wed 27-Feb-13 20:15:40


I've been a teacher for 17 years (here and abroad) and can't think of a better job when you have children.

But, I am part time - 0.75 a week. I am able to work my hours around my classes so that I can take my DDs to school 4 days a week and they go to someone one morning and after school club one day a week.

It also hasn't really hampered my career as I am head of department.

I teach at a college so classes don't generally start til 9.30.

I don't get the hols that school teachers do but I still get a lot more than most.

Jinsei Wed 27-Feb-13 21:21:45

Only part time work will really enable you to see the children during the week

I don't really agree with this. I think the trick is to find a FT role that enables you to work flexibly. They do exist!!

Before dd started school, I did a split shift in my old job, so we had a nanny for four hours in the morning, I came home and spent the afternoon with her, then went back to work for three hours in the evening while DH was at home with sleeping dd. I had every afternoon with her from 1pm to 7pm, and it was lovely when she was very small.

I have since changed jobs and dd has started school. I drop her off every morning, and pick her up once or twice a week, making up the extra hours in the evenings when she is at brownies, gymnastics or whatever. DH also picks her up once or twice a week, and my parents pick up on the other days. I feel that I get to see her a lot in the week. I can also take flexi leave for school events and I get 7 weeks holiday plus bank holidays - I can't take much time off during the summer, but I can take it at Easter/Christmas/half term etc. And I can work at home if dd is ill.

Two different organisations in two different sectors. And two very different roles, but both enabled me to work around the needs of my family while continuing to progress my career. I know I'm lucky, but I know plenty of people with careers like this.

My other great advantage is not having a commute. I can get from home to work in 5 minutes. That's worth a great deal in my view. smile

Jinsei Wed 27-Feb-13 21:25:31

Oh, and I agree that ft teaching really isn't family friendly. I used to fantasise about going into primary teaching as it must be hugely rewarding, but I have seen how hard the teachers at dd's school work, and it just wouldn't be worth sacrificing the work-life balance that I have in my current role.

Hmmm. It is manageable in our experience. DP is a primary teacher. He takes DD 4 years to childcare on his way in to school about 8am. It's very near his school. She then goes to nursery at his school, and he picks her up and comes home at 3.30, unless he has staff meetings, when my mum does pick up. I work much further away, and leave the house at 7.30, and am not home until about 7 either. However, I don't work a Thursday (full time, but compressed hours) so he can stay late then, and I do my day with DD. He definitely does the lions share of childcare, but I take over for the last hour before bed when I get in, and he does a couple hours prep/marking/etc. I have a slightly more flexible job (to cover events/appointments for DD) with less annual leave, but we juggle it. It helps his HT doesn't mind him leaving at 3.30, because he puts the hours in earlier/later. We do rely on my mum when DD is ill though - neither of us can take much time off.

alisunshine29 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:49:53

Thanks fr your replies. Sorry to those I offended with the title - I only chose it because literally every person I've mentioned I want to be a teacher to assume it's because I've got kids and am thinking of the holidays with them. Actually I've always wanted to be a teacher but fell pregnant with my first daughter just as I'd been accepted into University, which was a bit of a shock considering I'd been told I was infertile! Now she's 5 and I have an 8 month old too and will graduate from my degree next year. I think I would be good at being organised but DD even at 5 often isn't in bed til 9pm meaning I'd likely be up til midnight working every night so while I'd still get to see the kids it wouldn't be ideal. Plus it'd mean no after school activities and they can't be rescheduled to a weekend for DD1 as she has alternate weekend contact with her father. The holidays would be great but I think kids would value a less stressed mum all year round rather than only in hols. I have no family to help out so would be reliant fully on childcare providers. If I complete my degree and PGCE in the next two years but then work in a 9-5 different job til the kids are older would it lower my chances of getting a teaching job if my training is less recent? Part time teaching sounds ideal but difficult to get into. Teaching is the only career I've ever wanted but I know I won't enjoy it/excel at it if I feel like it's at the expense of quality time with my children.

TheSmallClanger Wed 27-Feb-13 22:55:50

If you can get a part-time post, which I used to have, it certainly has its advantages - school holiday care being a major one. The FE sector tends to have more part-time positions, although they are often sessional and not a consistent way of earning a living.

Going into a job because it's family friendly isn't a good way to choose a career - there are a million other stresses apart from childcare and child issues.

golemmings Wed 27-Feb-13 23:09:18

DH got half way through his pgce and decided that 80hr weeks were not compatible with small children. After a year of failing to get work he's now training to be a TA: 9-3, school hols and no planning & preparation. Sadly, unless he gets a job in dc1's school, her after school club fees plus nursery fees for dc2 mean it is barely worthwhile in financial terms.

deleted203 Wed 27-Feb-13 23:15:43

Without wanting to piss on anyone's bonfire I feel obliged to point out that, actually, getting onto a PGCE is massively difficult nowadays - very few places, lots of applicants. Having done that - getting an NQT job is again very difficult. Lots of unemployment in teaching, currently. Finally, teaching would definitely come at the expense of quality time with your children, particularly in the early years. Planning lessons, marking, producing resources, etc takes up HUGE amounts of time, certainly in the first few years you are teaching. (You learn to wing it a bit more after a lot of years - plus you have a good bank of resources/planning to draw on).

It is family friendly in a lot of ways. I've got 5 DCs and teaching has fitted in very nicely with the holidays - but I'm always completely knackered in term time and not much fun/good at doing stuff because I'm swamped with work. So no, I don't think you can take up Brownies/cello lessons/football club, etc, darling - I can't be arsed to get in at 6.00pm, try and cook tea, run you to practise, sit around for 2 hours in the cold, collect you, drag you home, sort you out - and know I've still got 3 hours flaming marking to get through before tomorrow. I don't want your friend to come to tea because I don't think I can bear to see another child today. I don't want to take you to your rugby match every Saturday - because I've either got hideous amounts of schoolwork hanging over me, or because we have no food in the house, no one's bed has been stripped for a week, I haven't hoovered, cleaned the toilet, washed any clothes, walked the dog, paid the bills, or rung your Granny for a fortnight...

It is swings and roundabout, IMO. The holidays are very handy - no problem with childcare and great to spend all that time with my own kids. The term times are hellishly unfriendly, however, and in a 9-5 job at least you are then done for the day (generally).

As a small aside I teach 8 classes this year (secondary). 30 pupils on average in each. 240 books then. At 5 mins per book (very, very lax marking) that's 1200 mins - or 20 hours marking per week! To be done in your evenings...

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Feb-13 23:18:32

Doing a PGCE and then working at something else instead of teaching would definitely affect your career chances. I suspect there may be a time limit on finishing ITT and finishing your NQT year too.

Do not underestimate the advantage of the holidays, especially as your children get older. However, if your motivation for becoming a teacher is family friendly work, then you do need to think hard about it.

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 23:25:15

Would your baby's DP not be helping?

ceeveebee Wed 27-Feb-13 23:27:59

Why do teachers think they are the only people with stressful jobs? I am not a teacher but am out of the house for 11 hours on my working days, straight home bathing the DCs and putting to bed, then cook dinner and then do a couple of hours work. Am constantly bombarded with emails on my non work days and weekends, and get 5 weeks holiday. DH is out 13 hours a day, never sees the DCs during the week, has to take clients out to dinner or fly to china or South Africa with a couple of days notice.

All the teachers I know (including two deputy heads and a head) are home for 530 and rarely do more than 1 or 2 days work in the halfterm/term holidays, maybe a week or so in summer. It's far more family friendly than a lot of corporate jobs.

Devora Wed 27-Feb-13 23:28:49

It must be very narking for teachers when they meet people who think they're off home by 3.30, and have loads of holidays.

But really, it's never easy to be a working parent unless you can afford to work only very few hours.

I left the house today at 6.45am. I got home at 8.30pm. That happens at least 3 days a week, and I don't get to see my kids at all on those days. The other 2 days I see them after school, but as soon as they're in bed I'm working again. I always do work at weekends. I think that is pretty normal for FT workers, particularly in areas like London where commutes tend to be long.

I don't know any FT workers who are with their children up till 9 and again at 5. I don't know any working women who don't struggle to get to all the school events.

It's not easy for any of us [shrugs]. But I have to say, teachers' holidays ARE a boon to a working parent. Most of us really struggle to organise childcare over the holidays.

alisunshine29 Wed 27-Feb-13 23:29:15

Would it work to delay doing my PGCE then or is that better if done soon after graduation?

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Feb-13 23:31:56

This isn't about other stressful jobs. It's about teaching vs a "9-5 job", according the OP.

Many of us are well aware what other jobs are like. My husband does one for example. I always feel it's a bit like when people complain that teachers don;t know what it's like for working parents...

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Feb-13 23:34:12

I agree about the holidays. My DH has more flexibility in the day so can go to sports day etc, and I get the holidays. That works OK.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Feb-13 23:34:59

I think you probably do a bit more research into teaching before you make a decision based on one conversation.

LadyLech Wed 27-Feb-13 23:54:20

I am a teacher, and my DH has a 9 -5 job.

He works in university administration. He works 9 -12, lunch is from 12 -1, and then he works 1 - 5. His job is well paid, he has a good final salary pension scheme and he works 35 hours a week and gets 30 days holiday + 8 bank holidays a year (so just under 8 weeks a year). Any extra work gets time off in lieu or is paid overtime.

I work part time. Officially, I teach 9 -2 each day so I leave at 2:45 to pick my children up from school. I teach 21 hours and am given 5 hours a week for planning and prep, but that is never enough, so I usually do about 3/4 hours in the evening (every evening sun - thurs). However, I do no other work at the weekends and none in the holidays. I don't really get lunch (tend to work through it) but do get 12 weeks holiday a year. Any extra work that needs doing, I am expected to do without pay 'because it is our vocation', or 'its for the students'. I work almost as many hours unpaid as I do paid (and some weeks, I actually do more work unpaid than I do paid).

We earn similar amounts.

Whilst I get the extra 4 weeks holiday a year, I do not have any flexibility at all. I have to be at work when I am teaching, and we're not allowed time off when our children are sick (that has to be taken unpaid, as I can't take a day's holiday), or when there's an assembly etc I often have to miss them (unless its on one of my free periods / last thing in the school day). We are also called in to do parents' evening, open evenings etc and have to go in on set days, regardless of whether I have got any childcare sorted, if husband is around etc. These evening events (and sometimes saturdays) are compulsory and have to be done, no excuses. Also, my holidays are different to those of my children, so I still need to find two weeks of childcare per year.

Without a doubt, I'd say go into university administration! grin.

And yes, I know teaching is not the only stressful job. But that's not the question.

ceeveebee Thu 28-Feb-13 00:07:09

A 9-5 job means being out 8-6 for most people, and only 5 weeks holiday.

IMO that's less family friendly then having to do some work in the evenings after DCs are in bed but then having 13 weeks leave - even if teachers have to work some of the time during holidays, they can do that in a flexible way not requiring childcare, commute to office etc

LadyLech - assuming your husband must be in a fairly junior role in university administration!! You are the reverse of us (I'm an HE Admin Mgr & DP a teacher) and I work considerably longer hours than DP!! I travel a lot, work events (open days/evenings, visit days, etc.) in evenings and weekends, and take calls/emails on my non- working days. This isn't a competition at all - my DP does have a stressful and responsible job - but I feel you're painting a rather inaccurate picture of University administration.
Sorry - hijack over!! smile

LadyLech Thu 28-Feb-13 00:21:30

Caspar - maybe, but he earns the same wage as a teacher!

He does work at a very privileged university, which I suspect skews things as well.

Hmmm. He's very lucky then... And in my experience (4 institutions - 2 ancients, 1 red brick & 1 post-92), that's not at all the norm. Tell him to hang onto his good deal if he can!! :D

LadyLech Thu 28-Feb-13 00:39:26

It is the norm for his job. He has actually changed colleges, but remained in the same type of job.

He has a technical job, that requires a degree, but has no managerial responsibility. I suspect that makes a lot of difference. He doesn't get the higher salary for that, and so accordingly, his job does not have the expectations of extra work outside normal work hours. His salary though is comparable to that of a teacher, making it a level playing field for comparison in terms of what the OP is asking.

There are plenty of jobs like this at the university where he works. But, if the OP happens to live nearby, then yes I'd recommend this type of job over teaching!

Good points! smile

Alwaysasking Thu 28-Feb-13 00:44:22

I just passed my QTS skills tests today after receiving a conditional offer for one of the top unis offering primary pgce... I also have a 4 y/o ds. I have heard all the 'horror stories' but my god this thread has depressed/scared me! Have been on such a high all day too after passing my exam and confirmation of my place on the pgce. I am just going to have to hope and pray I can find part-time work I think!

sashh Thu 28-Feb-13 01:52:54

All of you who only get 4 weeks holiday - you are entitled to 5.6 weeks

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 28-Feb-13 02:40:32


I don't think teachers think it is more stressful than all other jobs. But it is more stressful than many other jobs, and more work than it might first appear to the casual observer.

MrsHoarder Thu 28-Feb-13 06:24:19

sashh: I suspect you will find that they do get 5.6 weeks. The standard min entitlement is usually "4 weeks plus bank holidays" which is 5.6 weeks.

Knowsabitabouteducation Thu 28-Feb-13 06:37:36

Just responding to the OP, so this point has probably been already made.

All professional jobs are a compromise and require you to have some element of childcare.

You will probably find that most students who go to breakfast club and after school club have parents who are not teachers.

Not that many working parents are able to rearrange their day in order to attend a nativity.

Not all teachers do lots of work at home. Some manage to do what they need to do during the school day. If the teacher is working flat out from 8 - 6 at school and still needing to do another 18 hours of school work at home over the course of a week, she needs to work on her own time management.

echt Thu 28-Feb-13 07:07:13

ceeveebee I have never ever ever ever heard or read of a teacher saying their job is more stressful than others' jobs. But I've lost count of the number of people who say exactly what you've said.

The point of the OP is not that other jobs are a breeze, but that teaching isn't as family friendly as is often made out.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 28-Feb-13 07:15:54

As someone else said up-thread - what works for us is me being a teacher and husband not.

He has reduced his hours at work so he does drop-off and pick-up. I am around in the holidays. Neither of us can easily get time off for assemblies / Sports Day etc. but we are very lucky to have Granny and Grandad available for that, and for emergencies (they have looked after chickenpox-boy for us all week).

OP - the hardest years are the PGCE and then the NQT year, in my opinion. If you can get through that then it does get a bit easier, I'm very glad I qualified before I had children.

Wishiwasanheiress Thu 28-Feb-13 07:22:17

I think u need to do a lotore research on 9-5 work before u give up a career u say u always wanted.

Office work is rarely 9-5. Depends on area. Location. Role. Boss. Don't assume this is the answer. I would strongly advise against second besting to be an office admin. Again it's hard to get 'easy' roles. Supportive bosses are rare and u have to do alot of work to earn a firms trust to be allowed to alter hours etc. oh! Look just exactly what people have said regarding teaching. How incredibly surprising?!?!

You have also single handedly suggested feminism goes back about 40yrs as women can't have kids and careers. Of course you can but it takes work as its rarely handed out.

As you don't seem to feel work coincides with kids, go sahm or benefits?

wherearemysocka Thu 28-Feb-13 07:25:10

I'm astonished that this got to four pages before we got a 'teachers think they work so much harder than anyone else' on a thread specifically about teachers' hours. For what it's worth, the holidays are marvellous but it's am intense job that requires a constant level of energy. I get home and flop on the sofa because I'm so tired. Not sure if I could deal with the demands of my own children then.

tigerfrog Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:58

Find a job in the international sector! My two dds are at the same school as me so they go to their class as I collect my class and return to me at the end of the day, 3.40. We then go down the beach or spend the rest of the afternoon in the swimming pool. The ten week summer holiday also helps! I also only have sixteen children in my class and have at least an hour free everyday because of specialist lessons. Funnily enough though I desperately want to go back to the uk so it's not all roses!

LadyLech Thu 28-Feb-13 08:03:11

knowsabit - sorry totally disagree with you about having to do an extra 18 hours at home is probably being down to bad time management.

I have been teaching for almost 15 years now, in a variety of schools and I would say that the amount of hours you are expected to do at home will depend on your head teacher, what you're required to do, what subject you teach and so on... You cannot simply say that it is down to time management. For example, I have worked in a very successful school where teachers were expected to write a written report on students every term. Fine except they were expected to be hand written and we were not allowed to copy and paste. No boxes etc. how much extra time do you think that took? Further, there were two parents evening per year group, so with 7 year groups, that was 14 parents ' evening during the spring term (plus we had to do a tutor one in the autumn term too). The second school I worked at, was not as high achieving. My main issue there was classroom management, but the expectation of extra work was much reduced.

I now teach A levels, and as I'm at a college, regularly have classes of over 20 students. Given that we're supposed to set essays once a fortnight, A teacher can have over 160 students, that's over 80 A level essays to mark a week. I'm supposed to put that into 5 hours of given planning time (along with all my admin work). That's never going to happen (of course it didn't happen when class sizes were smaller, but will funding cuts over the past few years, classes have been getting bigger and bigger, work at home is now inevitable). Work at home, is now a part of the game and is most definitely not down to poor management.

Sorry, rant over!

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 08:03:43

One of the main problems is that you are very tired by the end if the day and you have to grit your teeth to be pleasant to your own DCs when you just want space and silence!

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 08:06:42

One hour in the classroom needs one hour's work out of the classroom so of course it goes home- the caretaker wants to lock up! It is not poor management. Lessons do not plan themselves or mark themselves and you can't do either while teaching the class.

thegreylady Thu 28-Feb-13 08:14:56

My dd is a teacher as was I. She worked part time till dc were in school and now cm and I share after school pickups . She is home by 5 and works every night after dc are in bed. At weekends she works half a day and in the holidays she goes into school one full day every week as well as working at home. She teaches in an Ofsted 'excellent' rated department in a secondary school so also has some 'free' periods to work in. When there is a parents evening she works much later of course.
It is still the best possible job for a mum though you will need some flexible childcare while the children are young.

" in a 9-5 job at least you are then done for the day (generally)."
Don't agree with this at all, sorry. Professional jobs anyway.

ubik Thu 28-Feb-13 09:20:25

Am reading this and feeling a bit soorwhenduve as am starting PGDE in August. Have 3DC aged 9,4,6 but fortunately DP is self employed so can do school runs and I have family nearby to cover illness.

All my family are teachers: mum, dad, sister, gran, MIL, SIL ( although she chucked it in) and I am under no illusions about workload.

Re family time: I currently work for NHS in a call centre, it involves nightshifts, working 5 weekends in 8, Xmas day, at Easter I am on two 9hr backshifts followed immediately by 3X nightshift. I do miss out on a lot of time with my children and we desperately need more money, a proper income and pension - I know this seems pedestrian but it's the reality I'm afraid.

I had a stressful career pre-DC and can settle fir a busy day, come home and couple of hrs work a night - teaching is a well paid profession so you would expect to be working outwith officially sanctioned hrs.

ubik Thu 28-Feb-13 09:21:08

' Apprehensive' my phone appears to be spellchecking in Swahili!

ceeveebee Thu 28-Feb-13 09:38:50

Agree with SPB

Am sure there are low stress 9-5 jobs out there somewhere - probably paying about £15k p.a which is barely enough to cover full time childcare for a baby plus wrap around care for a school age child. Any reasonably paid job is likely to spill over into home life unfortunately.
I still maintain that teaching - particularly primary- is probably one of the most family friendly professions when compared to other similarly paid jobs. Lessons finish at 3 or 3.30 so that gives at least two hours to do some marking and the rest at home after DCs in bed, and 13 weeks leave a year.
Btw I'm not just a casual observer - FIL, SIL, BIL, 2 uncles and 1 aunt are all teachers including DHT, HT and 2 HOD.

echt Thu 28-Feb-13 09:56:30

No, ceeveebee that does not give two hours marking, it means setting up for the next day, writing, planning, photocopying, IEPs, etc, etc, et fecking c, THEN you get to mark. That's if you haven't had to hold a detention or attend meeting/s.

You think primary is such a treat? Having taught 30+ years in secondary, I'd rather poke my eyes out then tread the mill of primary. You offer no specific comparisons with other professions - so go ahead, why don't you?

ubik Thu 28-Feb-13 10:11:51

But can I ask..

I get a little excited feeling when I think about teaching English/media/psychology / I think about the many ways I could teach these subjects, how to get concepts across, engage children and when I think of teaching I feel enthusiastic and positive, am I naive?

Do any of you enjoy your job?

Yes, I feel passionate about what I do, started a thread about it fairly recently actually.

here it is

Lovely to hear a teacher saying the same smile

Completely agree about the "little thrill" feeling. I've had jobs I've hated and jobs I've enjoyed. But this is the only one I'm actually completely satisfied with. I have no desire to do anything different. I am only 14m in, that may change I suppose.

ubik Thu 28-Feb-13 10:23:21

Ah but I am not yet a teacher grin
But I know many working mothers who enjoy their jobs but none find the work/life balance easy. It's good to hear from women who are happy in their work smile

ceeveebee Thu 28-Feb-13 10:42:57

OK. Lets ignore Lawyers and Doctors as they earn a lot more than teachers

Accountant - similar starting salary to a teacher - working 50 hour weeks the norm and at peak times of the month/year staying until midnight - sent to clients in the back end of nowhere at a minutes notice - studying for professional qualification whilst working - 4 weeks leave plus bank holidays - not exactly family friendly?

Nurse - 12 hour shifts - shift patterns change at short notice leaving childcare impossibly expensive -4 weeks leave plus bank holidays - not exactly family friendly

Social worker - incredibly stressful job - huge caseload - unpleasant working conditions - travelling around all dayat short notice - -4 weeks leave plus bank holidays - not exactly family friendly

Shall I go on?

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 28-Feb-13 16:43:02

as a lawyer I always earned the same as my teacher husband. Don't assume all solicitors are well paid. So you may use solicitor as your comparison too!

ceeveebee Thu 28-Feb-13 16:50:48

Funny - sorry for the assumption, I was just pre-empting any comments about lowly paid teachers

Which would you say was the most conducive to family life - a career in law or a career in teaching?

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 28-Feb-13 16:56:21

I would say a career in teaching is generally better suited to family life, but it does depend what type of law job you do. My old job was very long hours, sometimes round the clock and that would not have been compatible at all.

I know teachers find the non stop 'childcare' an issue and am currently having a row with DH about the very issue. If you both work yes teaching and office job is a very good combo, but there are still HUGE stresses in terms of the work/life balance.

thebitchdoctor Thu 28-Feb-13 17:37:12

Please don't assume all Doctors earn a bucket load either. In the 5-9 years post qualification our wages aren't much considering the hours we work.

fromparistoberlin Thu 28-Feb-13 17:38:33


end of

EvilTwins Thu 28-Feb-13 18:33:19

It depends very much on you and how you play it. I've been teaching for 14 years, and my DTDs are 6. DH is not a teacher, though that wasn't relevant when I started as we weren't together. When I had the twins, I took maternity leave and then left my job for a bit as I didn't enjoy being part time. I went back when the twins started school and so far, it's been fine. They go to breakfast and after school club, but they love it, and they'd have to do that no matter what my job was. I drop them off at 8, get to school for about 8.15 and generally pick them up between 4 and 4.30. One of the good things about teaching is that there is some level of flexibility- I leave on the bell on Fridays so that I can pick them up from their classroom. The things that make it work for us are:
1. DH is incredibly supportive- I think it helps that I was a teacher when we met, so he's always been aware of the necessary work in the evenings, the fact that I can't hold a conversation about anything else during school play week (drama teacher) and that I will need to go to parents evenings/open evening/school trips etc and that I can't rearrange them. Dsis has recently qualified as a teacher and her DH still can't get his head round this- he is used to her being able to rearrange meetings etc if they don't fit in to his plans.
2. Being organised. My evening stuff, INSET days and so on go on the calendar in September. I know that plenty of jobs involve this kind of thing, and imagine that being organised is key in many cases!
3. I get my own kids involved with my work stuff- we had weekend rehearsals for our school play before half term, and I took my kids along to "help" which they loved AND I got to spend time with them.
4. Friday evenings and Saturdays are strictly no work days for either of us.

None of that is exclusive to teaching though! If you want to train as a teacher, OP, then do it. Plenty of my colleagues have kids, and we all manage it. My own parents were teachers and I don't remember feeling abandoned or upset that they didn't come to class assemblies. I haven't missed a Christmas play since my two started school, and I have always explained why I can't go to other school things and they're fine with that.

I love my job, and yes, the holidays help. I would say it's as family friendly as any full time job. My kids see more of me than they do of DH in an average week.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 28-Feb-13 21:07:22

FromParis - my husband works 9.30 - 3.00. He does not ever ever bring work home, stay late or go in early.

(he doesn't get paid a huge amount of money though!)

When I had an office job I never did any extra work, unless it was optional paid overtime. I was bored out of my skull though.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 28-Feb-13 21:15:22

I teach secondary and have two little ones, one nearly 3 and one 6 months.

I love the holidays, absolutely the best thing about teaching. Term time is hard though. I leave for work about 7.30 and finish about 5 unless there are meetings which re til 5.30 or parents evenings which can last till 7.30. I can sometimes leave at 4 to get kids providing that I do a couple of hours work when they have gone to bed.

I find that my weekends are spent working but I have to try and have at least one day out with the family, I try to keep up with marking etc so that I can have the holidays as family time.

I love my job, it's not ideal for childcare, but is more suited than say a nurse say who has to do 12 hour shifts. You just muddle through Like everyone else does!

blondefriend Thu 28-Feb-13 22:09:26

Back to the original post!

OP - if you want to teach then go for it. Your PCGE and NCT years will be bloody hard. You will be knackered and stressed. However teaching does get a little easier after that. Although the hours are long during term time I personally believe that it is worth it for the holidays and the fact that I LOVE being with a class of students teaching what I have a real passion for. My head has been very good with giving me time to be with my son in hospital but that is a boss thing - some are more generous than others in whatever profession.

So just ignore most of the comments on here. Teachers and other professionals arguing over who has it worse. The people who have it worse are those that don't enjoy their job. If you spend a lot of time working make sure it is something you love. Don't spend the rest of your life regretting something you never did.


"A very hard working, very tired, and generally happy secondary teacher, HoD and mum of 2 (one with health issues)"

Yfronts Thu 28-Feb-13 22:15:57

I think as an NQT and in the first few years of teaching, it does take up hours and hours of home time. It does get quicker and easier though. Saying that, many of the fantastic teachers I know still spend evenings and weekends working.

Yfronts Thu 28-Feb-13 22:17:09

Also that first week of every holiday is spent exhausted and in recovery.

alisunshine29 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:27:39

Thanks again for your replies. Does anyone know if I'd be at a disadvantage if I did my PGCE in a few years time instead of directly after graduation? I have no help from family etc and think I'd struggle while DD is so young.

GirlOutNumbered Thu 28-Feb-13 22:32:48

I did pgce 4 years after graduation, it was fine.

maninawomansworld Fri 01-Mar-13 08:33:00

My mum was a teacher when I was school age and it worked brilliantly.
It is an absolutely perfect job for a parent.

fairylightsinthesnow Fri 01-Mar-13 08:47:47

"maninawomansworld" the only sense in which it is perfect is the holidays. DH and I are both teachers and the time together as a family is absolutely brilliant, but termtime is a nightmare. CM called at 8pm yesterday to say she is sick so I am off this morning and DH is off this PM so we can each teach some of our classes. Setting cover work from home when you don't have the text books etc with you, can't photocopy sheets and so on means that the poor sod who gets the cover lesson will have a nightmare extra class that they have to try and teach in a subject they likely don't know much about. Little of value will get done and I will have to pick up the pieces when I get back. Classes don't just sit in your inbox for a day, they have to be dealt with and being off in these circumstances is a total nightmare. DS starts school in Sept and I have no idea if DH or I will be able to be there for that as it will be our start of term also. Only if you have a sympathetic head can you get to see things like plays and awards assemblies. Most of this also applies to "normal" 9-5 jobs also of course, there are few jobs that ideally fit with young kids, that's probably why women didn't have them for so long! I'm all for equality, and would happily let DH be a SAHD if we could afford it, but lets not kid ourselves - working parents are effectively doing 3 jobs between 2 people (or 2 jobs between 1 in the case of lone parents) and its never going to be ideal.

friendlyface12 Fri 01-Mar-13 08:55:08

I'm a part time teacher and find it fits in well with being a mum. As a single mum I am skint mist of the time but get lots of time with ds.
I would recommend being a teacher, if your heart is in it you will enjoy it. It's very varied too which I like. However I would not want to be ft with a little one as I think it would be too stressful because of workload.
Good luck with your choice.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 01-Mar-13 08:55:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jelly15 Fri 01-Mar-13 09:28:25

Tell your friend she doesn't have to find and pay for childcare through the school hols. She what she would think of only having four to six weeks hols to spend with the children rather than thirteen weeks. What does she think parents who work 9-5 get home after a commute.

olgaga Fri 01-Mar-13 09:42:10

Watching this thread with interest to find out the "ideal" job for a mum!

As for 9-5, you can still find lower level office/admin work with those kind of hours, but IME if you're remotely ambitious about achieving responsibility and a higher salary, you can forget about working 9-5!

kim147 Fri 01-Mar-13 09:45:33

I used to work in the NHS doing lab work. It was 9 till 5 - if you rang the lab at 5.01 - the phone was not answered by you but by the on call person.

Good holidays, good pay - and even the more senior staff were out of there by 5.30 / 6.

I left that and became a teacher. grin

Oh there are masses of bastard-useless generalisations on this thread. Ceeveebee, you cannot seriously write something like 'stress-free 9-5 jobs only pay about £15k' as a statement of fact, it's ridiculous.

Wallison Fri 01-Mar-13 10:01:08

I don't think any job is 'ideal' for parents - it's always going to be a compromise re money, time with the children etc. With teaching you get the holidays but term time is just a relentless slog and you lose your evenings and weekends, which for a lot of people are crucial for winding-down and relaxing. I suppose a lot of it depends on how you work best - do you prefer to knuckle down and do loads in a short space of time and hope you make it with your sanity intact to the next breathing-space? Or do you prefer to do things at a steady pace with less pressure?

Chunderella Fri 01-Mar-13 10:13:54

OP, if it won't damage your long term prospects (hopefully the teachers on the thread could tell us) perhaps you could try and work as a TA for a while before the PGCE. It would be great experience. True, the pay isn't brilliant but if you can get a higher level TA position, it won't be too far shy of a teacher's starting salary. My mum is a TA2 and on about 16.5k. Her hourly rate is probably much better than a teacher's- certainly it was better than my sister when she was on the starting salary of about 23k. And if you consider that you might need a bit more childcare as a teacher than you would as a TA, there might not be any difference. Perhaps an hour or two more wraparound care a day and a week or two of playscheme in the holidays sometime- that would near enough even it out. The monthly difference between 23k and 16k is only about £350 take home after student loan contributions after all.

ceeveebee Fri 01-Mar-13 12:23:12

Wheredo - that's why I used the word "probably"

Based on my experience of running a finance department employing 60 people, the only real 9-5 jobs paid £18k and that is central London.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 12:31:45

No - in your circumstances it makes a lot of sense to do your PGCE in a few years time - both that year, and your NQT year are huge amounts of work and hugely exhausting without a baby in the mix. IME both PGCE course, and schools welcome older, more experienced people into teaching.

I can't be the only > £40k a year earner who finishes work for the day at 5 and doesn't give it another thought until 9am. Surely my situation is the norm. I'm good at my job, but I do it to live, not the other way round. I enjoy it but don't ever need to put in any more hours than I am 'supposed to' as it were.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 01-Mar-13 14:20:03

Where you aren't, I do the same. I may check work emails on my phone but I never deal with them. My job really is 9-5. Well more like 9.30 - 5.15 but that is splitting hairs grin

lljkk Fri 01-Mar-13 14:33:52

Not at that sort of salary, WhereDoAll, not the norm at all.
there was recent thread on here about hours that folk work and few working FT worked a mere 37.5 hours/week. Certainly not in a job that could be described as professional.
DH is only in the office 8 hours but he's on call 24/7 and does lots of bits and pieces at home, too.

Even the dinner ladies & cleaners up at the school work 25% extra over what they're paid.

Actually,there was a recent thread asking whether people worked over their contracted hours and the vast majority said no, or only in very rare circumstances. I was really surprised.
So it seems it depends when / how you ask.

See, completely opposites in two posts. To hard to generalise.
I'm very glad I no longer teach, that's all I can say.

*too hard... Sorry

Amykins Fri 01-Mar-13 14:56:21

Am I the only teacher who found that after a couple of years of teaching, building up resources, becoming more efficient etc you can have free evening, leave at 4pm; it is not always all that hard; there are so many resources on the internet, departments have schemes of work. Goodness.

exoticfruits Fri 01-Mar-13 15:25:51

Probably Amykins, certainly not me

Jinsei Fri 01-Mar-13 16:17:12

I can't be the only > £40k a year earner who finishes work for the day at 5 and doesn't give it another thought until 9am. Surely my situation is the norm. I'm good at my job, but I do it to live, not the other way round. I enjoy it but don't ever need to put in any more hours than I am 'supposed to' as it were

You're not. I do read emails on my phone, and I'm on call one weekend a month but have never been called out and very rarely work more than an hour or two over my contractual 37 hours. I don't work at weekends or when I'm on holiday, I use all my leave and I am able to work flexibly around the needs of my family. I don't earn a fortune, but at >£50k, I'm happy with my salary and wouldn't want to sacrifice my work-life balance for a bit of extra cash. Mind you, my boss doesn't do loads of extra hours either, and neither does his boss.

I haven't always been like this. I used to work silly hours but I have learned that it really isn't necessary in my role - to some extent, work just expands to fill the time available. I don't mess around when I'm in work, and my boss is happy with what I do. And I encourage all of the staff in my team to work sensible hours as well. They aren't any less productive as a result!!

GirlOutNumbered Fri 01-Mar-13 16:17:18

Amykins - It's my marking and feedback that takes so long. Although now in lessons we have to show rapid and sustained progress for ALL students so I have to replan most of the lessons I had under my belt. We have to show that we are using learning habits and ask at all times. We now have more progress reports to write and my workload as a tutor has probably doubled over the last year.
If only I just had lesson planning to do.

WhatKindofFool Fri 01-Mar-13 16:20:27

I started a PGCE but did not complete it because it was definitely not a good job for a mum. I have spent 20 years in another career and I am back doing what I was doing before the PGCE. The PGCE was a nightmare.

However, I am a single parent and had no-one to look after kids at parents evenings etc. Also, having to get into school at just after 8am was a problem with childcare.

Teaching is not what it is cracked up to be!!!!

mizu Fri 01-Mar-13 17:25:45

ubik - I love my job - even though it is terribly underpaid, I think if i was full time i would be on £26,000.
I rarely take work home now - after so many years of teaching - unless I have a mass of marking for my advanced language learners. I have a huge amount of resources now that I can adapt and update year on year if need be.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 01-Mar-13 22:56:58

Jin snap I work just like you on a >45k salary. But I am old and have experience and that really helps

hullmum31 Sun 30-Jun-13 11:35:10

I have recently (last month) left a 9 year career as a primary teacher to stay at home and raise my children. May have to return to work at some point due to finances but it would not be teaching. Yes you get holidays etc etc but the stress and work load meant that my children suffered. That's just me personally. I did go part-time to try and make it work but it was just as tough. I had always loved the job and had a great work-life balance before the children but then the job changed so much over the years and I found the amount of work I was doing on evenings and weekends was ridiculous, even when I tried to cut corners. However, many of my teacher friends are also mums and they make it work.

maddy68 Sun 30-Jun-13 12:17:17

There are practical child are issues with any job tbh..
Teaching pros:
you are around in the school holiday (yes you will do lots of work at hi,e but you are physically if not mentally there)
You can choose which nights you are going to be report writing etc

Teaching cons: you have 12 weeks holiday a year but it is at the most expensive times and in reality you may not be able to afford to take your family on holiday

When you go on holiday you are always surrounded by children when you actually need to be away from them

I don't think teaching is any less child friendly than any other job tbh

Orangebirdonatable Sun 30-Jun-13 12:43:06

Dh and I are both teachers and it works very well for our family.
We teach at an international school overseas, our children get free tuition, so we see all their plays and concerts. The school provides transport to and from the school (we arrive and leave 30-45 minutes before / after class time).
The country we live in mandates students to have one hour class per day in the native language. Regular PE, library and computer classes ensure we get between 1-3 free blocks per day. This is when I do most of my prep, marking, have parent meetings... I rarely bring work home, but I have an amazing TA. I also work through recess and eat lunch at my desk.

I also recognize that teaching in the UK is very different.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 30-Jun-13 13:29:47

It works for me, because my husband has changed his hours to do picking up and dropping off.

I am then around in the holidays.

Nativities, sports days and other assorted school events are usually covered by my parents.

pianodoodle Sun 30-Jun-13 13:39:49

I think you should go for what you want to do without being concerned about this for now.

You have no idea what your circumstances will be when/if you have children and if you pick an option that seems more suited to motherhood you may hate it, or it may turn out to be just as awkward to timetable!

Teaching privately works very well for me at the minute, although I'm an instrumental teacher so it's maybe easier to get students than if you teach other "school" subjects as I guess a lot of people only look for short term tutoring for exams etc...

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 13:54:09

I am a HOD in secondary and to be honest I always feel like I'm not doing my job properly when I read threads like this! Yes, sometimes I have work to do at home but not every night.

The trick is to organise yourself well, mark regularly so you haven't got great big piles of the stuff and plan at quiet times of the year. I've got most of next year's planning done now I've got gained time.

Ali, you wouldn't be at a particular disadvantage, no.

mirry2 Sun 30-Jun-13 13:54:42

Oh how I wish I had been a teacher. Instead I had the worry of childcare from 8-6 all year round except for my 4 week holidays which i had to negotiate with other members of my team who also wanted eg the Christmas holday period, Easter period and summer holidays. I also had evening meetings, reports to complete when i got home, some overnight travel - I could go on......
I think that many teachers just don't realise that many other parents also have demanding jobs that are not 9-5.

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 15:38:06

I gave up teaching while my kids were small. I'm now thinking about returning. At the moment I'm a TA, and that's great. I could not, in all conscience, be a good teacher AND a good mum while my kids are small. While teaching full time, I was in school at 7.30 to meet parents of my tutees for various meetings, pre-school team meetings, and prep, then i'd stay until 4.30, commute home, and do minimum 2-3 hours most nights. One day per weekend would be taken up prepping. This prepping did diminsh as I taught the same thing over years, but then the syllabus or Scheme of Work would change and i'd be back to the start. Easter would be revision sessions 4 days, then coursework moderation. No Easter holiday. Xmas would be marking mocks. Summer would be blessed relief for 4 weeks, panic for 2.

I would often be ringing parents all evening. I'd spend parents evening in school till 10pm. I'd pick up students from Morrisons for shoplifting. I'd be knackered, and that was WITHOUT my own kids.

It simply isn't a job for mums with young kids who want to have a life.I will go back, but when it isn't at the expense of my life. Which might, of course, be never.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 15:46:47

Sheri, with respect I think this is a large part of the problem. You say It simply isn't a job for mums with young kids who want to have a life which is, in the nicest possible sense, an opinion, but you have presented it as a fact.

I know many parents mums with young kids who have lives, and teach, I am sure plenty don't. It depends on the school, commute, family support, finances and a whole lot of other factors. I do feel teaching often attracts very earnest perfectionist types who spend hours doing something that doesn't need to take hours. I commend their commitment but it isn't always for the best. But teachers who have had a bad experience can present the profession as very doom and gloom and it isn't always the case.

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 15:58:22

The trick is to organise yourself well, mark regularly so you haven't got great big piles of the stuff and plan at quiet times of the year. I've got most of next year's planning done now I've got gained time.

In primary teaching, there is a 'great big pile of stuff' to mark daily, and there are no 'quiet' times of the year. I think I can speak quite confidently for the whole flipping sector there, thanks.

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:01:08

Oh no, I know. If i'd been able to go part-time at my school ( they wouldn't let me), i'd have coped. But after having two kids 14 months apart, it wasn't feasible for me to enter a new school, with a different SOW, and the prospect of planning all those lessons from scratch again with two young kids about.

I know many primary teachers who have gone part-time or job-share after kids and it's worked out brilliantly. Less in Secondary, as timetabling often means that unless you are Maths, English or Science, they don't like employing part-time. Why should they, when they can get an NQT to do full time for your price half time?

In Secondary, I had two AS/A2 Classes, and 1 GCSE, each with 30 kids in it, ( even A Level!) and with the best will in the world, it simply isn't possible to mark 120 essays every week unless you bring a lot of work home. Most of my A Level essays were a good 5-8 pages long and took a good 15/ 20 mins to mark, each. Even though I used peer marking and times essays etc to reduce load, it still weighed me down every weekend.

In some areas, your class sizes might not be as rampacked at GCSE/ A Level. I was East London, so mine were ramjammed. Now I am rural, maybe not so much. Although now everyone stays on, maybe not!

Out of my cohort of PGCE students, only the men have stayed the course full-time, which surely tells the profession something. Some of us have returned as TAs, HLTAs, or PPA teachers, even cover supervisors. For me, a flexible return to the workplace was key, and it wasn't forthcoming, as in so many cases. The rule "you must consider part-time working requests" is farcical. All too often the answer is "no".

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 16:01:48

I've worked in teaching and out of it and would say it can be a good fit for working parents, better hours and holidays from my own experience. Agree that there are a few martyrs to the cause in teaching who put in many extra hours, more than they should (once experienced) and often more than they need to. In my last (non-teaching) role, i was expected to travel for work, take work home and was at the mercy of my Blackberry all evening, every evening. Far more demanding than my last teaching role! I think many teachers haven't worked outside the profession so have no means of comparison.

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 16:04:21

Let me guess, Salbertina - you were/are secondary, right?

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:12:14

Feenie, there is no need to be so dismissive of secondary teachers. I was using my gained time as an example. If secondary is such a doss and primary leaves you with no life whatsoever, why is primary hugely oversubscribed and secondary is not?

Why do you think you have more marking than secondary teachers? confused I was talking about people who do NO marking for a fortnight then complain they did nothing but all weekend.

I don't know what it is but some (SOME!) primary teachers do absolutely love to tell anybody who will listen how terrible it is and how easy secondary is in comparison. Why don't you do it, then! Only that'll lead to some smug comment about wanting to teach a child not a subject sad

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:12:52

I was a consultant for years before teaching, and the key difference was that my hours at the mercy of email, the phone, or my tedious boss were all paid for, handsomely. I would invoice it in. Not so as a teacher. I didn't get paid extra for spending a week up to my neck in a river measuring river flow with a bunch of Year 11's, it was just expected. Likewise my after school club hours spent minutely recreating the Heroes of Telemark with tiny soldiers were just assumed. As were the parents evenings. Now, if I were still a consultant, that would have left me minted.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Jun-13 16:15:01

I couldn't agree more Blackbird. My DH and I are both teachers and I feel that we have managed to strike a really good work-life balance. Granted, we have support from grandparents to do the school run and both work in schools which are close to home, however, we both leave just after 8am and are home by 4pm-ish which gives plenty of time to play with our children, do their homework and have a family meal together.

Some nights we have have extra work to do but fit that in for an hour or so after our children are in bed. Other nights we have no work to do, having completed it all at school. It can get hectic at reports time but that is only twice a year, and we just make sure that we pick up the slack for each other for those few weeks e.g when I work on my reports my DH will do the baths etc.

And in terms of missing out on nativities, sports day etc, we have been lucky enough (thanks to having nice work colleagues!!) that we can swap our Non-class contact time to ensure that one or other of us is usually there.

I absolutely appreciate that these are our individual circumstances and that it wouldn't work this way for some people but just wanted to point out that it can be possible to balance a teaching career and family life effectively.

I may not be the most committed teacher in that I only put in my 35 hour working week as a rule (definitely more at reports time but only twice a year for a few weeks) BUT I don't feel like I'm doing any less of a job now than I did when I worked every single night until 11 o' clock, I just feel that I know the job better now.

So, yes, there are periods when it can be tricky to juggle everything but on the whole I feel that it can be a fairly child-friendly job. And as a PP said, there are tricky periods in most jobs when it's hard to juggle everything.

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:15:47

Ooh, round my way it's different. It's the Secondary that say the primaries have it easier. To my mind, it's all the same. Having been a secondary teacher for years, and now working in the primary sector, it's all beans.

Every school has a marking policy now. When I was econdary, it was Years 7-9 every two weeks, Years 10-13 every week. In Primary,it's everything every week. But the load is equal. A whole weeks worth of marking in primary probably equates to a secondary load, given the difference in depth and length of work. So no need for an in-war.

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 16:16:19

Agree if you're paid by the hour and on handsome consultant fees. As a salaried staff member on reasonable (but not high) salary, it was expected of me to be unofficially on call and the only way to get the job done.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 30-Jun-13 16:17:54

It's a great job for a parent, because of the holidays alone. Works best I think when there's another parent who can be more flexible. DH does sports day etc. I do holidays.

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 16:18:42

I'm not dismissive - but only secondary teachers would talk of other teachers portraying themselves as 'martyrs', or advise other teachers to organise themselves better using 'gained time'. I just think that you should both make the distinction, because primary teachers won't know what you're on about.

I didn't say that I had more marking than secondary teachers - my point was that there is so much that at the end of one day it's already a huge pile.

An answer to a couple of your questions:
If secondary is such a doss and primary leaves you with no life whatsoever, why is primary hugely oversubscribed and secondary is not?

Because children are so much nicer than adolescents, I would imagine. grin

I don't know what it is but some (SOME!) primary teachers do absolutely love to tell anybody who will listen how terrible it is and how easy secondary is in comparison

I didn't do that. I love my job. I would just like the distinction to be made - in case any prospective primary teacher believes you and Salbertina, and doesn't go in with their eyes open to reality.

lumpybumpylooloo Sun 30-Jun-13 16:19:31

Oh, just wanted to add that I rarely do any extra work at the weekend or holidays, other than the summer holidays when I will spend approx 4 days organising my class for the next year.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:19:54

It is the same; different, but the same smile

The problem is I think many teachers confuse how hard they work with how effective they are, and since we're talking about children, understandably things get emotive.

However, if someone says, "It took me three hours to plan and mark last night," then someone else says "it took me four!" it does seem to place guilt on those of us who think "really, I put a couple of resources together for half an hour then I watched TV and went to bed!" But this would not happen anywhere else; if a builder said "It took me all day to make a wall," his mates wouldn't commend him on his commitment, they would call him a crap builder! grin

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 16:20:04

A whole weeks worth of marking in primary probably equates to a secondary load, given the difference in depth and length of work. So no need for an in-war.

Me neither. But there is no 'gain time' in primary to forward plan.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:21:50

Feenie, sorry to split hairs here but I used gained time as an example for me and it is quite clear that is what I was doing in my post. If I had said "all teachers should use gained time to plan for next year" then fair point, but I didn't!

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 16:22:36

But what is this 'quiet time' that you speak of? confused

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 16:22:50

As others have said, Feenie, it depends so much on other factors - length of commute, what dh does, support network etc also level of seniority and experience. Agree newly qualified teachers have to work their socks off for the first few years! But then that's not unique to teaching, all professions the same. Though some such as medicine and nursing much, much worse.

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:23:06

I'm interested in this because i'm currently in the process of gaining experience ( as a TA) prior to swapping from Secondary to Primary. I've done supply post kids as both. What do you mean by "gain time"?

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:24:04

As it happens, I have a lot of gained time this year, because I had a year 11 GCSE class and THREE Year 13 classes - do you honestly think that's been easy!?

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:25:07

Ah, I see, that period when your Year 11's and 13's have gone. That's not empty time, that's time you're used as constant cover in my experience!

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:26:21

Feenie, I don't know because I don't teach in primary.

I am sure it is possible that you have to stay every night until 6, every weekend too, and every holiday, but I am sure, in a 52 week year, you get SOME time to do your planning confused I presume as well that unless you change year groups every single year there is some opportunity for you to reuse stuff?

If the above is not the case and you only get respite to sleep, fair enough grin

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 30-Jun-13 16:27:05

I could not be a primary teacher. I would not want to teach all subjects, and I don't really like small children. Even though I have two of my own.

I have a colleague who regularly stays up until silly-o-clock planning / marking. I can't do that, because I get really inefficient after 9pm, so I stop then, and whatever I've done will have to be good enough.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:27:22

You shouldn't be really, although I am (voluntarily) covering for an absent colleague. smile

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 16:27:29

Blackbird- exactly, with you totally that it us not the case that the more hours you put in, the more effective you are. That's what i meant by my martyr comment- not intended to offend anyone but was based on the unique culture (i found) within teaching where it got so competitive based on who's put the most hours in the night before. I think it might be due to many seeing teaching as their "vocation" not a mere profession.

indyandlara Sun 30-Jun-13 16:29:59

33 kids+ 5 marking subjects a day= marking nightmare. In primary you cannot leave your marking for a week or you would never get caught up!

Teaching is not the ideal fit people presume for a patent. I now teach 2 days a week so have a 15 hour contract. I work double this as does my job share partner. This is not martyrdom but what needs to be done to actually do the job. Those holidays are not such a bonus when you are working double the hours you are paid for. Also there are no exam leave periods when you can plan for the next year so it does get done in the holidays.

If you really want to teach then go for it but go in with your eyes open.

sheridand Sun 30-Jun-13 16:30:59

I'm keyed into this discussion, because, as mentioned above, i'm swapping. I've certainly seen in my primary that teachesr swap and re-use resources and that teachers swapping from one year group to another use one anothers old plans and masters in the same way that Secondary teachesr pick up another teachesr scheme of work. I don't see how you'd manage otherwise. No point re-inventing the wheel if someone else has already planned it. I also see the two teachers in my current (Year 6) year, plan together and re-use / team plan stuff in a way that I didn't see at Secondary, which was often, in my experience, "You're teaching this bit of the AS. Off you go and do the SOW!"

PrincessWellington Sun 30-Jun-13 16:32:06

Don't know if anyone else has suggested it but there is a big demand for basic skills. There are a lot of jobs that are part time, and/or flexible. If you have good numeracy and literacy skills this might be an option - you would still do the pgce but tailor to this, and complete a 12 week course at level 3 to deliver. So much less work than teaching children and many jobs involved self management so fitting in the children's one off things is doable. Down side is the salary is a little less than starting teacher salary circa £17-24k depending on the company employing you.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:32:51

Indy, do you honestly not think secondary teachers have to mark? confused I am an English teacher, and marking is well known to be the cross we have to carry!

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 16:34:09

On the rare occasions that we do stay in year group, there will be some directive or intiative that ensures that won't be the case.

We get one half day planning, assessment and preparation time which is a drop in the ocean, as you know,

That's it.

I don't work in the holidays - they are for me to be a proper mother to my son. They are a perk, definitely. But in term time he is deposited at the childminders at 7.30am, picked up at between 5 and 6, and I have to work until 10/11p.m. most days after he has gone to bed (and sometimes before, like when I am writing reports), and no amount of 'organisation' will fix that, it is how it is.

Now it's my choice, and just a fact of life. But I do hate it when other teachers post about teachers who do this as 'martyrs', or that they just need 'better organisation'. It's not true and it's bloody irritating.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 30-Jun-13 16:34:12

My brother is a primary teacher, and I teach secondary. It has become clear over the years that actually our jobs are quite, quite different. He doesn't have gained time, but neither does he have the mania that is exam and coursework season. Both of us are happy we made the right choice re age group!

Eyesunderarock Sun 30-Jun-13 16:35:21

I think the point that Feenie is trying to make is that if you teach primary, there are no useful spaces and gaps and quiet times during the working day or week. It's full-on for the time that you are in school and you do marking after teaching, along with most of your planning.
Reusing material is rarely possible, partly because of the changing year group and mostly because of the continuous changing, upgrading, backtracking and U-turns imposed on primaries over the last decade.
Plus she's probably just finished reports, planning transitions to next year and rampaging towards the end of term with the track running out and the throttle stuck on full ahead.
So now is not a very good time for philosophical questions and calm judgements about workload. It is a good time for serious chocolate and bubble baths.

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 16:37:33

University teachers tend to get shorter holidays nowadays as summer schools etc and the pay is APPALLING compared to school teaching. Rare to get security of tenure either and hours (and marking of lengthy essays!) similarly long! I got out but anyone still doing that genuinely has my sympathy. unlike school teachers for reasons above!

Eyesunderarock Sun 30-Jun-13 16:38:49

Hey! Hey! Feenie!

Found a cake for those moments when you feel like a cog in the machine.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:39:42

Sigh. I didn't say anyone had to be "better" organised; I said (as advice to the OP) to be "well" organised. I could take offence with the idea that teachers are not 'proper' mothers to their children during term time but that would get a bit silly, so I won't.

I do think there is a lot of being a martyr in it for some teachers, secondary as well as primary. I understand perfectly well the point about not having gained time but we're talking about getting a few hours 4 weeks or so at the end of the year; it isn't as if we're sitting on our arses the rest of the time confused

indyandlara Sun 30-Jun-13 16:43:06

Oh for goodness sake if course I don't think that. Nor did I say it. We are expected to mark every piece of work from every child every day. That is what I am talking about. Others have commented on fortnightly marking being the expectation in their secondary. English would be different I would imagine.

In 15 years of teaching this is the first year I will stay in the same year group. However, new planning means all science and social subjects will change. Language and literacy always does depending on the group of kids. Maths is similar. I get 1 hour a week non contact time which is usually when meetings are scheduled with other agencies. I am not disorganised, far from it. The hours I work are what I need to do in order to be effective. If I didn't do them then my lessons would be half arsed and chaotic.

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 16:46:03

At least you aren't stuck in one place, I suppose. That has happened to my friend; she's been with year 1 so long that she is struggling to get promotions as she hasn't got a varied experience with ages. Must be frustrating from a planning POV, though.

indyandlara Sun 30-Jun-13 16:53:52

I love moving about tbh. I would get stale if I stayed in the same place and I don't think it's good from a development point of view either. However, planning is hellish. Swings and roundabouts though.

BackforGood Sun 30-Jun-13 17:00:06

Excellent post by Eyes at 16:35 ^

EvilTwins Sun 30-Jun-13 17:11:39

Obviously it depends on a whole host of things. I have lost a yr 11 class, but gained time is not happening. We have 6 teachers (out of 40) on long term sick and our HT has decided that this "quiet" time is the ideal time to send people off for courses etc so cover is manic. Also, it depends on subject. I teach Performing Arts. Last week we had an Arts Week in school, so I was out late 2 evenings. I am lucky in that DH's job is more flexible (and better paid) than mine.

If I was being picky, though, I would say that a secondary teacher who has nearly planned the whole of next year can't possibly have done it properly. How can you plan a year in advance when planning needs to take into account so many things about individual students and their progress?

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 17:17:20

I did wonder about that, EvilTwins.

Thank you EyesUnderaRock - you spoke for me much more eloquently than I can manage - am actually in the middle of reports and post Ofsted so extra snappy. FAB cake!

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 17:26:49

God, how rude!

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 17:31:28

Sorry, what's rude? confused

blackbirdatglanmore Sun 30-Jun-13 17:39:18

You don't think telling someone you don't even know and whose teaching you don't know the first thing about that they haven't planned properly is a bit rude? Really? hmm I'm not going to bother getting into the silly sniping and one-upmanship as I am hiding the thread now. Obviously, as a secondary teacher I don't have to do reports confused

Feenie Sun 30-Jun-13 18:06:39

Only you seem to be seeing this perceived oneupmanship - it's a perfectly valid question, how can lesson planning a year in advance work, when you don't know how a class will progress? confused

EvilTwins Sun 30-Jun-13 18:26:22

I am serious, blackbird - I am a secondary HOD, and other than knowing an outline of the year, at this point, I cannot plan. I don't yet know next year's timetable, and know from experience that even if I did, I would have no way of knowing how quickly a group of, say Yr 9s, would progress through a scheme of work in comparison to this year's or last year's groups.

Take umbridge if you like, but I fail to see how you can plan at this stage, unless you're not doing a particularly good job of it.

ReallyTired Sun 30-Jun-13 18:36:39

I haven't read the thread, but the total lack of flexbility of term time working makes teaching difficult to combine with a family. Teachers do have fanastic holidays, but in someways its easier to have 25 days which you can choose than 13 weeks which are fixed.

It is next to impossible to take time off for yourself being sick, yet alone children. Teachers need wrap around care as much as anyone. Teachers tend to start work at 8am and often have evening commitments, meetings, marking and planning to do after school.

Although its expensive, most people can find childcare for the holidays quite easily.

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 18:40:10

Holiday childcare easily? No way!! Not once they're at school! Its an absolute logistical nightmare of boxing and coxing, even the sports schemes tend to be say 9-3 at most; how to commute to/from your average 830-6 office job with that?

SprinkleLiberally Sun 30-Jun-13 18:44:56

I know dozens of people in well paid 9 to 5 jobs and am married to one too. I know three people who routinely work longer than that but they all earn £100k plus so a bit different.
I am secondary and work every night and weekend, as do most colleagues with a couple of subject specific exceptions. This is after 20 years. No real gained time and no planning for next year. Think it depends on your school and management. If a school likes to innovate, has a mixed intake and monitors everything, the workload is high.
Having said all that I do think it can work well for a family purely because of the holiday. As long as you can do it well which not everyone can.

ReallyTired Sun 30-Jun-13 19:31:05


There are plenty of high quality holiday schemes around the country like Barracudas or Supercamps that offer daycare during the holidays. The only problem is that it costs an absolute fortune.

Many people do not want to pay huge sums of money for a decent holiday camp for their children. Often it is not profitable to work holidays if you have two or more chidlren.

Salbertina Sun 30-Jun-13 19:36:49

Thanks, RT, yes have heard of those but nowhere near us and its filling say 4 weeks up of the 6 week hol which gets tricky.

mirry2 Sun 30-Jun-13 19:58:07

Where are these non teaching jobs where you can choose your holidays without reference to the rest of the team you work with? Nearly everyone want to take holidays at Christmas, easter and during the summer holidays, when their children are on holiday - who can take which days has to be negotiated. I often lost out when i wanted to take time off to see a nativity play or a concert, simply because other members of the team wanted to take the same time off and we couldn't all be off at the same time

Blu Sun 30-Jun-13 20:06:54

Perhaps it all depends on what career the Dad has?

What is the ideal career for Dads?

tourdefrance Sun 30-Jun-13 20:34:16

Lol at 25 days to take when I want. Yes for the first few years you can have off season holidays but once the dc are at school holidays are out of term only. As I explain to dc1 having a holiday in term time would just mean more time in a holiday club in the holidays. An extra unnecessary cost. Around here Supercamps runs in the summer only and all the other holidays are a juggling act of splitting leave, grandparents and all day play dates at friends houses.

AmberSocks Sun 30-Jun-13 20:36:13

dhs family are all teachers and from what ive seen its an awful job for parents,too much work for too little pay.

EarthtoMajorTom Sun 30-Jun-13 20:47:49

It's a crap job, you aren't paid anything like enough for the hours and during term time you have no weekends, your kids (depending on age) don't understand why you are at home yet still working and unable to give them attention, and I wish I'd never retrained to do it. Primary teaching especially is a job for young, single energetic people (and Heads like them because they are cheap).
The best job in a school is being the receptionist.
Yes I'm bitter.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Jul-13 16:07:07

I think a lot depends on what kind of career you pick. Some jobs like say computer programming lend themselves to flexible working more than others.

"The best job in a school is being the receptionist. "

The best job is IT support in a school. You can get time off by flexible working. Ie. they want you to fix the server in the evening and only will give you off time in lieu. Alas my job no longer exists, but it was good while it lasted.

ReallyTired Mon 01-Jul-13 16:17:29

I think if I was going to retrain I would become a speech and language theraphist. There are some SLT term time only jobs with schools hours.

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