To ask teachers/school workers...(136 Posts)
...whether the benefits of working term time only are worth it?
I work in a sales job 4 days a week as I have 2 pre-school age children. I commute 90 minutes each way 2 days per week and do 2 days per week at home, so the kids are in nursery 4 full days.
I have been considering various routes into teaching but I am feeling that leaving them in nursery 5 days a week, with no flexibility, is a lot. I obviously have to balance this with the fact I will get more time off during the year to spend with them however.
Has anyone else retrained as a teacher/TA etc post children and felt that it was a good option for them and their family?
Thanks in advance.
I trained as a TA but the work can be difficult to find on a permanent basis. My contract finished on Friday and my position is funded. The school still don't know when that funding will be received so have been left in limbo.
In terms of being a rewarding family friendly position definitely but I was a SAHP and did lots of volunteering during that time in playgroup and schools and was a midday. You really have to be sure that you want to work with children. I think that is the first question you need to ask yourself. Good luck whatever you decide.
One of the best things about teaching is knowing that I will always have the holidays off with my dd. Yes, there is plenty of work to be done in the evenings and at weekends but for me this has been a great choice. Plus I love the children and my wonderful school!
Working every evening and weekend is fairly normal as a student/NQT.
I'm an experienced teacher with two small children and I can only manage the workload and see my children by being part time.
Thanks very much bearleft! I have looked at TA jobs as a way of gaining schools experience (I have previous experience as a reading helper at a PS) but the uncertainty of temping scares me. I hope it works out with your contract.
Oops! Really should have added that I teach part time! That greatly enhances my enjoyment of the job!
I agree it is not a family friendly job and I have been doing it 12 years, I would not recommend it to someone with small children. Yes the holidays are good but you miss out on a lot of term time activities for example, assemblies. sports days and plays. Also, the hours are very long and at the job is very stressful. Having said that, I am fortunate to work at a school who understand the basic idea of a work life balance, I think they are very rare. I am also very good at managing my time and ensuring I work as little as possible at home this has taken years to master!
The problem is that it isn't remotely flexible during term time. So child care when they are ill, training days will be a headache. Plus you won't ever get to see your own child's assemblies, sports days. You can probably kiss goodbye to a lot of evenings and weekends
TA work is very low paid and often with child care costs on top it doesn't always make it worth it.
Only go into teaching if you actually want to teach. It may be term time only but you will spend half your weekend working and be desperate to get the kids into bed so you can get marking done.
A TA role might fit better around the children but a lot of people want to be TAs because it fits around families so there is a lot of competition for jobs. It is a skilled job. We have a couple f TAs who are trained teachers.
The hours are really full on, especially when you're new...so it's a full day in a demanding job, then come home make dinner, sort out your DC, put them to bed and then do marking, paperwork, lesson planning etc. Most of your weekend is also taken up by work.
Term time only isn't actually term time only, there's work to do during holidays still and INSET days.
On top of that, there are staff meetings, parent's evenings, extra curricular stuff and that's all on top of your normal day.
Then there's the fact that it's really inflexible, so no going to anything at your DC's school as you can't just take time off for that and you need childcare for when your DC are ill.
The holidays are a massive perk when you have young children but it's obviously very inflexible. When I was f/t I never saw a sports day or a Christmas production. I couldn't ever go in for child shows parent or special assemblies. Other parents could leave early/start late or take a half day. Not possible in teaching. It's worth it but nqt year is a lot of work including your weekends
I am nearly full time (4 1/2 days) and have managed to get a bit of flexibility - occasionally I have been able to swap an afternoon to watch an assembly or have my PPA at home. But it is give and take. I have on several occasions to extra-curricular activities at weekends.
I'm a teacher. My son has just fished year three. He is in childcare from 7.30 until school starts, and until 6pm after school. Often my holidays don't tally with his, so he spends very long weeks in childcare. I never get to go to events at his school, such as sports days or shows because they are in school time.
But I do get chunks of time to spend with him in the holidays which do match, like this summer one.
If you're a 'binge work' kind of person then yes. It's pretty full-on during term time and, obviously, you'll never meet your kids' teachers/ go to any of their school events such as sports day or assemblies. I'm having a real nightmare with childcare at the moment....and think it's fairly likely I'm going to have to pay for my daughter to be in full time, year round nursery despite the fact she'll actually be with me during the holidays. And I'll always need wraparound care even when she's in school, so there is no financial saving.
Cracking holidays though!
There are other jobs encourage term time working, have you looked into that? Some businesses where the peak time is winter.
Many school admin jobs are term-time only. I work at a prep school (not a teacher) and our school secretaries and director of admissions only work term-time. The bursar works all year round but I'm not sure if it's the same in state schools.
The flexibility thing isn't as big a problem if you have a partner who can take annual leave - if you're both teachers, or a single parent, it's harder.
To give my view -
I used to work full time including weekends and would be at work 8-6 as a minimum. As I was a manager if people were ill or more needed doing than staff had done, it fell to me to do it. If there was an issue on my day off, I had to go in to fix it (often taking my pre-school son with me). I could hook a holiday but more often than not would have to change it due to company issues. I even took phone calls every day from the assistant manager during holidays when I did get them. Saturday's off were NEVER an option and December was written off as being part of my life at all.
It took two years but first of all I used my precious day off to go into school and help out with anything needed. I stress that it shouldn't be with the class/year of your child or you miss out on a lot since you can't have frank discussions with the teacher. During that first year I put in an application for PGCE and was given the feedback of needing more varied experience. I was lucky that I was able to leave my job in agreement with my wife that if I was not successful again I would have to find full time work. I dedicated two days a week to primary school and made myself available for TA / Cover Supervisor work three days a week through an agency.
In January input in another application and will start my PGCE in September. It was the Cover Supervisor work that really put the strength to my new application since I wash managing class behavior on a daily basis and could give examples of how I had dealt with certain issues while at the same time showing that I didn't have an idealized view of teaching (anyone being a Cover Supervisor will definitely see a warts and all side to school)
Yes I know the work will be hard going however I know I won't receive demands to work at times they won't suit my children and I can enjoy at least one block of time with them a year.
I have just quit teaching because I've had my DD. This will be controversial but I think it really depends what subject/age group you want to teach. Secondary English teaching is an absolute killer in terms of planning (government constantly changing goal posts), marking (tonnes of written work) and pressure from management/parents (everyone needs a C in English!) I can't imagine, say, an Art teacher or a primary teacher putting in every evening and weekend during term time but I'm sure they'll be along in a minute to correct me! Teaching is a lifestyle choice like no other and I don't think secondary English full time is compatible with family life.
My sister is a teacher and ends up with less holiday than I do as she spends lots of it preparing (both physically going to get classroom ready and lesson planning)
She also works harder at evenings and weekends than anyone I know (and I come from a family of actuaries, bankers etc). She may be extreme but from what I see it's incredibly hard work and not that family friendly.
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