Have I lost my mind? Training to be a teacher?

(32 Posts)
Trooperslane Sat 05-Jul-14 14:55:37

Hi all secondary teachers - after a bit of advice.

I'm just about to go back to work post mat leave and I've had a lot of time to think about what I do.

(I'm in business and I hate it)

I've always had a thing in the back of my head about teaching English and history at secondary.

I have those subjects at A level and my degree is in English Lit.

Can I ask if you think aibu?

Am I crazy to think that this is a good idea? Wrong side of 40 and on a good salary.

What is the job market like for this subject?

Tia

BeatriceBean Sat 05-Jul-14 14:59:35

It depends a little on your expectations. What are you hoping for? What do you not like about currebt work/think will be different.

I don't think its a great job towards retirement so am looking for a different career myself!

You will probably be lapped up - bottom of payscale yet not early 20s....

Trooperslane Sat 05-Jul-14 16:01:38

I suppose I'm hoping for something I can really sink my teeth into and a total change.

My company is very old school and I find it to be quite mysoginistic.

I love reading and the last thing I did (bar a few years in this industry) that I really loved was my degree.

Now, clearly teaching won't be like that, but I now feel I have the confidence to teach, which I just wouldn't have had in any way before.

bronya Sat 05-Jul-14 16:08:08

Wasn't secondary, but found teaching and a having young child really not a good mix. I know many other ex-teachers who found the same, and several who took time out until their DCs were in juniors.

bronya Sat 05-Jul-14 16:08:31

*having a young child

BeatriceBean Sat 05-Jul-14 16:18:02

Id find it impossible with small children but lots go part time with secondary aged children.

is suggest contacting schools for a few days work shadowing to get a feel for a day in the life of a teacher. Most are friendly enough smile

cuggles Sat 05-Jul-14 18:13:44

In terms of job market, both English and History have become harder to recruit for recently, as most things, so I think you would find that bit ok. You would do a PGCE I guess (unless you can get a schools direct place) so that builds up contacts to utilise in terms of finding a job. It is hard but it can be done, I have friends teaching secondary with young ones and I am returning fulltime in september after a career break, I will have a 5 and a 3 yr old so whilst I can't say firsthand what it is like, others do it. Getting good childcare in place seems to be key and organising online foodshops etc..also I am getting a cleaner....cant wait for that bit! Both English and History are marking heavy and I would suggest you deice on one or the other to concentrate on, at least at first. PM me if you want more info or have more questions.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sat 05-Jul-14 19:45:33

Don't want to rain on your parade, but I had similar background, and re-trained as a teacher. My DC were of secondary age, and so the enormous workload in training did not impact on them - people with younger DC found it very, very tough. It is easier to combine a business career with small DC than teaching - you will never get to see their assemblies, collect them from school etc. It is considerably more than just teaching a subject - the lesson prep takes a lot of time until you build up resources, and marking in your subject will be very onerous. As well as teaching a class you will have lunchtime duties, meetings after school, extra-curricular, revision classes etc as well as INSET days, and not forgetting tutor group.
I doubt you will have difficulty getting a job as an English teacher, and you may get a bursary to cover fees for training, but definitely shadow a teacher, and ask if you can shadow one teacher for all their lessons for a few days. Schools tend to just offer a selected few lessons for you to observe, this does not give a true picture of the real workload.

Trooperslane Sat 05-Jul-14 21:58:54

Thank you all

Lots to think about thanksthanks

Springcleanish Sat 05-Jul-14 22:08:38

My DD is in year 6. I work full time. Since she started in reception I've never dropped her at her classroom, i've picked her up from school once. I've never seen a school play, nativity, assembly, look at books morning, sports day. She misses every Christmas fair (after school) and on Friday was the only child in her class in uniform on a non-uniform day. They ddn't send notes to year 6, they put a sign on the window the day before when she was on an induction visit. It is heartbreaking a lot of the time. I spend more time marking than helping my kids with homework.
On the plus side, I get to spend the holidays with them. However my DD is very familiar with my classroom as she has to spend a day a week in the hols in school with me.
Would I change it? In a flash! I adore my job, but If I could earn similar in a job that wasn't 60hours a week during term time, I would.

Haffdonga Sat 05-Jul-14 22:13:39

Ex teacher here. I left teaching when I started to feel that I couldn't be a good mum and a good teacher to my young dcs.

I'd echo all the advice to work shadow, if for no other reason than you'd be laughed out of a PGCE interview if you hadn't got some recent school based experience. While you're work shadowing, really listen to the teachers discuss their jobs. What makes them sound happy? What are the issues stressing them? Would they choose to continue in teaching if they could find an equivalent salary elsewhere? Ask them about the best and worst thing about their jobs. You might be surprised how little of their answers relate to actual teaching .

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sun 06-Jul-14 07:30:55

You might be surprised how little of their answers relate to actual teaching .
Excellent point.
The people I know who are leaving teaching, or not going into the profession after PGCE all say that the teaching bit is wonderful, exactly what they hoped it would be, love the kids.
Its not behaviour that finishes them off, its the sheer pointless drudgery of the non-teaching tasks.

Trooperslane Sun 06-Jul-14 15:31:02

Thanks all

Anyone have any positive stories?

Hopeful bump wink

zirca Sun 06-Jul-14 17:05:20

Also think about money - you could get stuck on point 1 of the main pay scale forever as schools find ways to avoid awarding increments. Many people end up having to pay for nursery/CM through the holidays unless they can find one with a term-time only agreement, and on point 1 of the main pay scale, if you decide to have two children then childcare would be quite a lot more than your salary.

Time-wise, nursery/CM drop offs and pick ups can be tricky - you may well need/want to be in school before 8am, and on staff meeting nights are very likely to have problems getting to the nursery before 6pm. Parents evenings also mean you get to school at 8am and work until silly o'clock. Then there's county 'health check' mini Ofsted and the real thing, requiring lots of staying late, working every hour you have at home and not seeing your child at all. You'll need to work at least half a day at the weekend (I used to send my DH out with my child so I could concentrate) for planning and preparing resources, and will have several hours of marking each night after your child is in bed. On top of that, one school I worked for started to suggest that they would not grant parental leave for child sickness (despite it being in the staff contract that such leave was ok, just unpaid!).

soverylucky Sun 06-Jul-14 18:09:56

Please think about the marking for those subjects. I teach history and the marking is horrendous as they write so much. It isn't a right or wrong answer. It is an essay that needs to be examined carefully. As it is not a core subject, if you decided to teach history, you would have more classes than an English teacher. If you teach English I suspect the marking load would also be horrific.

The best thing is to go and do some work shadowing of a secondary school teacher and ask them lots of questions. Think about how much work they take home, what time they arrive at school and actually start working.

As others have said it is difficult with small children but you do get the long holidays with them. When they go (which I fear they will eventually) I am off.

On a good day teaching is the best job in the world. Some days at work are a joy and a pleasure. Working with teenagers is just brilliant. But on bad days it is the worst job in the world.

cuggles Sun 06-Jul-14 19:26:09

Just quickly, with regards the childcare..many cms are termtime only themselves so they can be with their own children so welcome teacher's children, I can not think of any friends who pay through holidays..many word of mouth deals going about and I have secured that for myself too. It just needs time to sort out and get the right deal, dont leave it til last minute. Also, it terms of missing out on your own children, that sort of thing is often about the headteacher..mine takes the view that what he gives you give back in spades so he allows staff to go to their own childrens first day at school, sports days etc. then we do trips etc in our time willingly! Good adive re;the shadowing though..ask ask ask!

BeatriceBean Sun 06-Jul-14 19:28:59

I found cm didnt start early enough to enable me to be at school by 8. Id need to drop by 7.30.

BeatriceBean Sun 06-Jul-14 19:28:59

I found cm didnt start early enough to enable me to be at school by 8. Id need to drop by 7.30.

cuggles Sun 06-Jul-14 19:53:28

Mine is starting at 7.15am and I have a two friends who do cm termtime only, both start at 7am but I absolutely appreciate it isnt easy to find the right childcare provision for teaching or indeed any job....it is very hard and I believe that we (women) were sold a "have it all" myth..we cant!

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sun 06-Jul-14 19:59:25

Can't your DH do drop offs and collections - childcare not solely a female concern...

olivo Sun 06-Jul-14 19:59:42

I am a secondary teacher who has returned to work each time when the children were about 9mo. I had a good term time only nursery, could drop at 745 and collect at 515. My youngest has started school to this year and they go to morning and after school club. We have to calendar everything well in advance so that DH knows and is on call if i cannot leave school.

I rarely get to collect them from normal school, never get to go to see anything, but the staff there are great. It is bloody hard, having been at work from 7.30 till 5 then having to negotiate tea, homework and stuff before bed and then get on I birth my own work, but I love my job most of the time. I just wish we could afford a cleaner. I am also slightly envious of those who have family to help out with pick ups and such.

Not sure if that is any help, but I t can be done and enjoyed!! I suppose I was lucky that id been id been teaching for 9yrs before I had DD1 so knew what I was coming back to.

I second having a few days work experience,you may be surprised, either way!!

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sun 06-Jul-14 20:00:34

And for some women to have it all means other women (childcare providers) have to work even longer hours for less pay.

EvilTwins Sun 06-Jul-14 20:02:30

I have twins who are now 8 and I went back full time the February before they started school. It has been absolutely fine. Their school has an excellent breakfast & after school club and I teach in a school 10 mins drive from theirs. I drop them at 8 and am in school by 8.15, which is fine. I leave school any time between 3pm (on Fridays - they finish at 3.15 so I can just about get away with picking them up from the playground) and 5pm and then spend time with them before they go to bed, then I do my planning/marking etc. I have a very supportive DH who knows that sometimes I have parents evenings or other commitments and he does the pick ups if I need him to. I have been to the girls' Christmas plays but never an assembly or sports day but you know what, they're over it. My parents were also teachers and also didn't come to my school events and I have no recollection of it at all so clearly it didn't scar me for life. I love my job and my kids know it, and I think that's a positive thing. Holidays are wonderful. My girls like coming to school with me for things like school show rehearsals and they get fussed over by the older girls.

OP - do it. My two closest friends at work also have young kids. We all started at the school 10 years ago and had one 18 month old between us. We now have a total of 6 kids between us (aged 11, 8, 8, 8, 7 & 5) and we all manage to be good teachers and good mothers.

ravenAK Sun 06-Jul-14 20:09:46

Do a spot of work shadowing & see what you think!

I'm English with the odd bit of Latin/Classics/History & I love teaching.

Some of the other Goveshit that goes with the job I don't like, but I can't imagine doing anything else.

I would say that you need to either be single & childless OR have a fantastic, flexible partner OR amazing childcare, especially in the early years.

My 3 dc are all under 10 & dh works away a lot; I can cope now, because I'm experienced (& have deliberately avoided management responsibilities), but it would've finished me off as an NQT!

rockpink Mon 07-Jul-14 21:44:56

Oh lordy, I've applied for a three year Primary Teaching degree starting in September, I'm 40 next month and have 2 DC's under 10, am I a bit mad?

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