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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?

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!

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