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to give up my aspiration to become a primary school teacher?

(62 Posts)
bollywoodfan Sun 20-Jan-13 12:27:57

I already have a degree so need to do the PGCE primary course. I first need to do some work experience in order to apply for the course. Then I will have to pay around £9000 for the course and once completed find a job - which I've been told is not easy because there aren't alot of posts available.
I have got a DS already at school and a 1 year old DD. I was intending to wait to start my course when she is 3 so that we get a bit of help with childcare costs. I am being made redundant from current job and money is going to be very tight. I would probably have to take a loan to help with childcare costs & living expenses while doing the course.
So after all the time it will take me to actually get a job, obviously I am worried whether it actually be worth it. I currently work in the financial sector and know that performance related pay is an excuse to withold pay rises. They make the targets so high that you can't reach them - yes this is what they actually do. I feel that I will be stuck on a low salary after spending so much time, money and effort.
Obviously I don't want to go into teaching for the 'good' pay - I do actually want to do it. It has been my long term plan since ds was small, but I knew I wanted another dc so wanted to start when I could do it with full commitment and not take another break for dc iykwim.
I am nearly in tears writing this because I feel that

bollywoodfan Sun 20-Jan-13 12:30:38

Oops what happened there...
Anyway I feel that the performance related pay is the last straw and it will be too much of a sacrifice for the whole family.

scissy Sun 20-Jan-13 12:50:15

bollywoodfan - if you seriously want to become a primary teacher then PGCE (with £9000 fees) is not the only route. Have you heard about School Direct (successor to the Graduate Teacher Programme - GTP)? It tends to be more popular with people who are changing careers. There are primary places, although there may not be any close to you as it tends to be used more in secondary.

I can't really comment on the pay issue, I've always worked in the public sector so am now used to resigned to the public sector bashing that goes on with successive governments. However, at least if you're "officially" working term-time, you don't have to worry about childcare so much during school holidays, you can at least do things like planning and stuff at home, whilst keeping 1 eye on the DCs!

ShowOfHands Sun 20-Jan-13 12:56:21

I've been accepted to do school direct. I will be paid as an unqualified teacher, 4 days in a local school and 1 day in college, local school where I will be training has a preschool attached and it will just about fit in with us. DH is in the public sector (is a detective) and we are well aware of the pitfalls but we wouldn't have it any other way.

I have 2 dc, one primary age, one aged 1 and there's not way I can afford or manage the logistics of a PGCE.

aamia Sun 20-Jan-13 12:57:56

As a teacher, much though I actually love the in-class time with the children, I wouldn't have taken this path if I had known what it would be like. The actual teaching is lovely, spending time with the children is lovely, seeing them grow and learn is fantastic BUT all the paperwork, targets, low pay (for a graduate job), hours and hours of marking etc, leave you so tired and stressed that you can barely enjoy the good bits. I hate the hours spent planning stuff in minute detail, the endless paperwork, the impossible targets.

There is never enough time in a week and the government just keeps changing how they want you to do things. Ofsted now also want you to fail so they can push you into academy status. Our last Ofsted team came in and frightened the children with their manner - I will never forget the poor girl stuttering in fear while the Ofsted inspector barked questions at her, making her doubt herself and what she knew so she'd make a mistake. Or the year Ofsted frightened the Year 2 children so much they were afraid to ask to go to the toilet, staying in that class for TWO HOURS - so two of the children wet themselves during the course of the afternoon.

Mybumissquidgy Sun 20-Jan-13 12:58:01

Do they no longer lend tuition fees for the PGCE? Or the student loan etc? I know a lot has changed with the new fees but might be worth double checking.

ShowOfHands Sun 20-Jan-13 12:58:42

I can type/spell btw, just bfing....

happynewmind Sun 20-Jan-13 13:03:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

janey68 Sun 20-Jan-13 13:06:04

£9000 tuition fees for a one year course? Surely there must be a student loan available if you're a f/t student?

If you're keen, then go for it, though you're right, teaching jobs seem very hard to get into nowadays, particularly primary. My niece finished her training last summer and has only managed to get supply work since then, despite being prepared to move pretty much anywhere affordable in England. If you feel you'll be tied to a particular location because of housing/children then obviously that will be even more restricting, so I would check out these things first. But the money side of it, assuming you get a loan, is just par for the course nowadays.

simplesusan Sun 20-Jan-13 13:08:18

From what I understand, although I stand to be corrected, there is a far greater supply of primary school teachers than demand.
It is specialist science teachers that are in shorter supply for secondary schools.
Unless you have a science degree and an absolute desire to work in secondary with teenagers than that won't be for you.

Agree with aamia there are hours upon hours of planning. however you can do this at home rather than being tied to office hours as it were.

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 20-Jan-13 13:14:38


As a teacher I'd say don't do it. If I were to have my time again I'd not be a teacher. I love the contact time with the children in class, I love the light bulb moments, I love the TEACHING.

However - the performance related pay, the constant threat of OFSTED, the attitude of the general public towards me, the fatc that I have nearly been pushed over into a nervous breakdown mean I don't love my job anymore and I wish I didn't have it!

wanderingcloud Sun 20-Jan-13 13:19:49

FWIW I would caution moving into teaching at the moment. The current government isn't done making huge changes to the education system and what they have done, Performance related pay and Academy status amongst other things, have long term repercussions.

For example, Academy status means schools can set their own term times and pay and conditions for new staff. This means if a head was so inclined they could reduce the holidays and make term times longer. You could end up doing a job with very little difference in your terms and conditions from what you do now. Also, primary is exceedingly difficult to get a permanent position in nowadays. I have heard of primary schools having over a hundred applications for one post around our way. So inevitability some desperate teachers would end up agreeing to work a longer term just to have the security of a job. Currently many of our PGCE students fail to find a job and end up doing supply. I don't like being pessimistic but you need to look very carefully at the realities of the job and how much you want to teach vs how much you want the perceived perks of teaching as they may not be there by the time you're qualified.

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 13:27:05

depends how much you want it
I did GTP and found work this year, it is possible
you are thinking ahead a couple of years, why not use those years to gain the school experience you'll need and see how the land lies then? at least it will give you an idea of the realities and the chance to talk to teaching staff and monitor what's happening with eductation 'reforms', as well as giving you an idea of what age group you prefer, or if you'd like to specialise eg SEN
could you TA to begin with?

DontmindifIdo Sun 20-Jan-13 13:40:13

Just to add, you will often find during a recession, more people look at teaching, either people who have been made redundant who always fancied it and decide to do something more 'secure' (which it is compared to most private sector roles paying similar amounts, once you've actually got a job and done it for a few years), and more new graduates who realise there aren't many graduate roles out there so do a PGCE in order to do something. When most other graduate jobs are looking for unpaid internships, having to work on the minimum wage or just above as a classroom assistant for a year before doing the PGCE looks like a good deal, particularly if you don't have any financial commitments and can live with your parents while you do it.

You might find over the next couple of years a glut of newly qualified teachers appears. In some areas there is still enough shortage of teachers in order to mean most will find work, but in other areas (particularly in towns near a uni that has offered the PGCE) you'll have a lot of competition for work.

noblegiraffe Sun 20-Jan-13 13:41:02

I'm a teacher (secondary) and have a 3 year old. I've been teaching for 8 years. There is no way that I could have done my PGCE and NQT year without neglecting a child in favour of work. Evenings and weekends were consumed with preparation.
As soon as I went back from maternity leave I went part time. It's the only way you can achieve a reasonable work/life balance with young children and such a demanding job, IMO.
I love teaching, but I can't say I'd recommend the early years of teaching to anyone with young children, even before you consider the very real possibility of being unable to find a job in primary.

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 13:53:27

yes you definitely neglect your own dc
as I'm a lone parent I decided it was a risk I had to take to gain some level of financial security
I'm in a position now where there may be a chance of part time, is that a massive improvement noble? mine are 10 and 7 so not v young

FransJam Sun 20-Jan-13 14:15:56

I am another who loves teaching but hates the stuff around the edges - in particular the utter fear inspired by an upcoming ofsted inspection.
I work part time and work long days leave home 7.15, return 6ish (in comparison to school hours) but get the majority of my work done at school. I couldn't sustain that every day of the week and my dc would definitely suffer. The holiday situation is fantastic in terms of fitting in with my own dc.

I don't know much about the performance related pay but I'm not sure how they will qualify it, results won't work. You wouldn't give ten workmen a task to complete but give them a wide variety of quality of materials and tools and expect them to produce the same thing. Bad analogy I know but not all children are academically able, some have strengths in areas that don't 'count' in government statistics (art, sport, music, history, geography - basically anything that isn't lit, num or science) - some have loads of support at home, others have none etc.

Sorry OP, I have got diverted! £9000 sounds like a lot of money in the situation you are in, have you spent much time in school helping out, talking to the teachers, seeing what it entails? Get a real, honest flavour for it before you commit so much time, money and effort into it. Have a look a local government job vacancies to see how many teaching vacancies there are. HTH.

bollywoodfan Sun 20-Jan-13 14:19:07

Thanks for the replies. The reason I was planning on doing it in a few years time is so that I can build a good up a good record of work experience. I was hoping that this along with being a bit older might help me get a job compared to new graduates. I am dismayed to read comments from people who don't recommend it though, esp as you've all said that you do enjoy the teaching part of it!
I really can't think of anything else I would rather do. I work in banking and am treated like shite! Can't be worse than that, surely!

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 14:21:01

who knows, we may have a new government by then

kim147 Sun 20-Jan-13 14:26:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greensmoothiegoddess Sun 20-Jan-13 14:27:08

Christ - don't do it!! For all the reasons other teachers have said on here.

Viviennemary Sun 20-Jan-13 14:27:15

I know a few stressed out teachers who would give anything to get out of teaching. But there are others who love it but as the paperwork and stresses and Ofsted inspections loom ever higher these people will become sadly fewer and fewer. Not sure what you should do in your position. Could you get a teaching assistants job for the time being. And then you would get a better idea if teaching is really for you. But I've heard they are few and far between.

noblegiraffe Sun 20-Jan-13 14:28:12

My part-time timetable (0.6) involves still working 5 days a week, which is different to primary as they normally have job shares. Anyway, each day I usually have in school an extra 2-3 hours on top of teaching (including PPA, lunchtime and an hour tacked on at the end of the day, which might only be a half day) in which I get all my planning/report writing done, and maybe a bit of marking. The only work I take home is marking, and because I've got fewer classes than a full timetable, it's a lot less than I was doing before. So I end up with quite a few free evenings, and I never work Saturday or Sunday daytime and only a couple of hours on Sunday evening. And I very rarely work in the holidays.
I totted it up once and reckon I do 35-40 hours a week, which is a big difference to the 60-70 I was doing full time. I've got my evenings and weekends back and I also get to spend a few afternoons with my DS. I'm no longer a stressed wreck in term time.

BelaLugosisShed Sun 20-Jan-13 14:32:18

My DD is currently doing PGCE (secondary Maths though so she got a £15k bursary thankfully) the workload is very intense and for her first term she was in a school 25 miles from her Uni, now she's in one 10 miles away, she has friends who did primary PGCE last year and they have all managed to get permanent teaching posts, DD has just applied for a job starting September!
From what she's told me, the NQT year is very little pay and very hard work.
I don't see how she could have done it with children, not unless she had a SAHP as support.

Flisspaps Sun 20-Jan-13 14:41:44

Showy you lucky bugger - I've applied (History) but have heard nothing so far from any of my choices hmm

Passed my Professional Skills tests yesterday though grin

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