Advice needed please! RE: teaching

(63 Posts)
Doodledumdums Tue 09-Jul-13 22:11:22

I am considering doing a PGCE next year, but I am really undecided as to whether I would be better suited to teaching Secondary English, or Primary? I have an English literature degree, and I think that I would enjoy exclusively teaching English, however, I am quite an anxious person, so I am not sure whether secondary children would terrify me?! I also love little children, and am very enthusiastic and happy, so I think that possibly this would make me a better Primary teacher? I really don't know! I'm leaning towards secondary, but family and friends are adamant that I would be a great primary school teacher, so i'm not sure!

I was also wondering if someone would be able to give me a realistic idea of whether a PGCE and then an NQT year will be remotely possible with a small child? I have a six month old, who will be about 20 months old when I start my training. I know that it will be really hard work, and I am absolutely prepared for this, but is it actually possible? I have an amazing support network, so childcare while I am training will not be an issue, but obviously I don't want to commit to doing this if it means that I am unlikely to be able to spend any time with my DS for a couple of years!

Eeeek, help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated smile

saadia Tue 09-Jul-13 22:24:50

It is certainly do-able, especially with supportive childcare but it really depends on how badly you want it. I trained as a teacher when I had two school-age children and now that I am an NQT I really feel that, at times, I cannot give them as much time as I would like. Dh is around for them a fair bit at the moment but this will not always be the case and then I will consider leaving teaching, or at least reducing my hours.

Teaching really takes over your life (I am Primary btw) but at the same time it is of course extremely rewarding and if you love it then you won't resent all the extra hours that much.

ninah Wed 10-Jul-13 17:26:05

My advice would be to get experience in primary and secondary, either voluntary or as a TA. That will help you decide and provide the material for your personal statement.
Yes of course it is possible with a small child; you have childcare in place.

neontetra Wed 10-Jul-13 17:30:40

In my experience primary teaching takes over your whole life more than secondary, though others may have differing experience. Having sampled both, I'd always go for secondary from a work-life balance point of view. And in many schools the kids aren't that scary! Good luck.

overthemill Wed 10-Jul-13 17:37:31

I think secondary is harder re planning and marking and parents evenings. Primary is more manageable once you've got the hang of planning. Behavior management is harder ime in secondary. I'm an English teacher who was secondary now middle, so yr 5-8. I love it and much less work in evenings now I'm.settled in.

I know someone who did GTP while pregnant as a single parent and although hard, she did it! I'd advise getting experience both age groups and try to get GTP place. Good luck!

Much more work load in primary. And you can't just focus on one subject ... you will be teaching rugby, or music, or French, or whatever is your bête-noire.

Doodledumdums Wed 10-Jul-13 21:01:15

Thank you for your replies smile

I think that you are all right, and that getting experience in both Primary and Secondary is a good idea. It is just so difficult to do because I will be going back to work FT soon! I guess that is going to be the only way to decide for sure which route is best for me.

A GTP is a great idea, but I only have a 2:2, so I am not sure it is possible with such a low grade? (This isn't entirely my fault, I got glandular fever during my finals and had to miss a really important exam!)

I hope that doing some work experience in schools will make things a little bit clearer for me. This is such a big decision!

Arisbottle Thu 11-Jul-13 18:53:23

I know very few primary school teachers either on here or in real life who are not over worked. I would choose secondary for workload issues alone.

Arisbottle Thu 11-Jul-13 18:54:47

You may have issues in secondary teaching with an 2:2. You might struggle to get on a PGCE course and some schools won't employ teachers with less than a 2:1.

EliotNess Thu 11-Jul-13 18:58:12

i think you being anxious rules out primary and secondary tbh. I am a supremeely confident person but just SOMETIMES mt " to do " list scares me shitless

Doodledumdums Thu 11-Jul-13 21:23:04

Yes I think possibly a 2:2 might make things a bit difficult, but I do know a few people who also got 2:2's and are now secondary teachers (one is primary), so although it is perhaps more difficult, I think it is possible.

Yes you may have a point eliot, although it isn't volume of work which makes me usually makes me
anxious, I think it would be things like angry parents and ofsted inspections!

ninah Thu 11-Jul-13 22:37:40

GTP is no more
look at schools direct

Ofsted and parents are just as scary at primary as at secondary ... arguably worse at primary, because the work load is greater at primary (so many more opportunities to fail) and parents much more closely involved; they'll be there every day with complaints, if they are that kind. And Ofsted, with its new agenda, is looking to fail YOU. shock

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 10:04:30

Hmmmm, maybe it is not for me then sad

Having said that, anxiety holds me back in everything I do, so this wouldn't be much different! It would just present a different set of things to be anxious about, but i'd learn to live with it, i'm used to doing that!

Think I need a very long, hard think about this.

Eyesunderarock Fri 12-Jul-13 10:09:49

If you love little children and are enthusiastic and happy, then have you considered Nursery Nursing?

Eyesunderarock Fri 12-Jul-13 10:11:01

I think you might also find that those teaching secondary with a 2:2 are possibly in shortage areas like physics and maths.

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 10:23:02

Financially nursery nursing won't work for us as I am the main breadwinner, and as far as I am aware, it doesn't pay well. As much as I am sure I would love it!

Yes possibly on the whole the teachers with 2:2's are in shortage areas, but the ones I know are English and Art teachers, so I don't think it is always the case.

Eyesunderarock Fri 12-Jul-13 10:29:00

Then you need as much experience in schools as possible, including looking at planning, the expectations for lessons, the non-teaching elements and the workload rather than just helping out.
Getting over your anxiety with adolescents, have you thought about helping out with scouts or guides? Or equivalent teenager-based activities?

IrenePollack Fri 12-Jul-13 10:40:56

2:2 shouldn't hold you back - it really depends on the quality of the university you went to. A 2:2 in Eng Lit from a decent university will make you much more employable than a 2:1 or even 1st from somewhere which only took 3 Cs to get into. Remember that in teaching a lot of the people responsible for employing you know all about qualifications and the disparity between degrees.

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 11:15:18

Eyes I did run a drama group for 11-14 year olds while I was at University, but I guess that was quite a few years ago so probably won't help. Volunteering at a Guides group or something would probably be very beneficial. As would getting lots of experience in a school. I have contemplated trying to get a job as a TA for a while, but I am not sure whether we could financially cope with me doing that for a year or so and then going on to do a year of studying, we rely quite heavily on my salary at the moment.

Irene I did go to a good University (I needed AAB to get in there), so hopefully that would help. To be honest I think that is one of the main reasons that I got my current job!

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 11:16:17

(Excuse my bad grammar in the above post!)

BackforGood Fri 12-Jul-13 11:44:47

NOt only would it be a good idea to go and do some shadowing in both Primary and Secondary to get a better 'feel' of what the job is like, I think you'll be likely to find it's a requirement on the application.

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Jul-13 13:05:49

Yes it is a requirement, they stipulate a minimum of two weeks, but i'm intending to do a lot more.

mumandboys123 Fri 12-Jul-13 18:02:03

it seems odd to me that you're trying to make a decision about something you seem to have no experience at - why not just spend a few days in both environments and see what you think? I have gone into teaching at gone 40 but I spent a day a week volunteering in a local school (not a good one) for a year to get a feel for it because I knew it was a huge change and one I had to be sure about - for me personally, for my family but also for the children I would be teaching. Perhaps it's an age thing, but school's are not the same places they were when I was of school age and it came as a dreadful shock. But I kept at it and realised I could do it - and do it well - and I've just finished my PGCE with a job to go to in September. Don't write anything off until you've seen it in action!

I got on my PGCE without any problem whatsoever because, in the words of my tutor, 'you know what you're letting yourself in for'. To put that in perspective, at a group interview session with other subject areas, of 30 people, 20 of us were over 35. Only myself and one other appeared at the beginning of the course - that other person had, like myself, spent more than a few hours in school. Be under no illusion - we're in the middle of a recession, people being made redundant right, left and centre. Lots of people chasing course places. I was quizzed relentlessly on my motives for career changing.

Good luck! You'll know if it's for you or not if you get some time in school - I love it!

Yes, I was wondering, in the most supportive way possible, why you are thinking of becoming a teacher if you have no experience of school life. It is not a good job if you have young children, it is not just school hours, it is not about spending time with children.

It is very long hours, very high stress and a lot of paper work. It is about doing a lot of things you do not believe in.

And, if you love it, it is probably the best job in the world.

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