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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?

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.

Casperthefriendlyspook Wed 27-Feb-13 21:56:11

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?

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