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AIBU to ask for honest opinions about teaching

(16 Posts)
crankyblob Thu 12-May-16 10:26:30

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to teach.

I have completed work experience but was alarmed by the comments made by teachers at both schools. The turnover of teachers was also really high compared to when I was at school. Even at my DC school the turnover of staff is high! DS has had 3 teachers already this year and I really do not think this one will last either! (this is an academy, does that makes a difference???)

I have also seen many threads on Mumsnet which is making me nervous. I will be taking a considerable pay cut and I will need to pay childcare which I do not do at present.

I think I would like to go into SEN teaching.

Please tell me all, the good, bad and ugly!!

acasualobserver Thu 12-May-16 10:32:02

I am now retired but my knowledge is recent enough to advise you very strongly to do something else. By the time I left teaching I hated my job.

MsFiremanSam Thu 12-May-16 11:01:27

I've been teaching for nearly ten years and it is very, very tough at the moment. Sadly schools are becoming more like exam factories by the day, run by people who often don't give a jot about children but are fixated on multi-coloured spreadsheets with seventeen tabs which track every breath a pupil makes against a target pulled out of their backside.
People will tell you other jobs are stressful, but look at the retention rates, increased numbers ringing support helplines, amount of vacancies in your area. I can't see it getting better any time soon.
I used to love teaching but I doubt I'm going back after my mat leave. I choose life!
I don't mean to be flippant. But my advice would be to think very carefully and talk to as many teachers as you can before you make a decision.

crankyblob Thu 12-May-16 11:03:03

Thank you for your response.

Could I ask is it the actual teaching? Politics? Paperwork?

CremeEggThief Thu 12-May-16 11:06:18

Go to the staffroom section and read a few threads.

ConferencePear Thu 12-May-16 11:12:00

If it was only the politics and the paperwork I might still recommend it.
Now though almost every word you utter in the classroom is prescribed in detail and the children and their parents know it. A colleague who taught French to a bright, high achieving GCSE class thought he would widen things a bit by trying to teach some modern French culture and played some current French music to his class. One of his brightest boys asked, "Is this on the curriculum ?" Teachers have to teach to a set of criteria laid down by someone else which, in my opinion, kills it dead.

SukeyTakeItOffAgain Thu 12-May-16 11:15:50

I left before the rate of change and paperwork for utterly insane. What pushed me out was the enormous class numbers I had in too small a space, stupid unrealistic targets being forced onto children who could barely string a sentence together and the fact that I as a teacher was expected to be able to get these children, who had little or no idea about how to behave properly because of the shitty, non existent parenting they received, to a level 4 or 5. Early years should be about teaching children to listen and speak properly so that they're then set up for actual learning, and instead they're having the most insane expectations foisted on them. Meanwhile, successive governments (well this one in particular) are doing nothing about the fact that these children are in such a state by the time they start school - they can't speak properly, they can't use the toilet, they can't play with others without fighting, they can't use a knife and fork...oh but they're ready to learn about subordinate clauses etc apparently.

I'm afraid it was all just beyonde to fix.

nonline Thu 12-May-16 11:16:02

OH is a teacher and enjoys the actual teaching, sadly the positives of that cannot outweigh the negatives of the workload, bureaucracy and related stresses.

He works late every night and we have no quality family time unless it is scheduled well in advance.

The only upside is that he's been doing it long enough on reasonable salary to now go part time and consider options...

Go volunteer in a school. Ask the teachers for opinions (the classroom is a tiny part of what they do). One friend got told off by head for telling a student teacher it was a crap job and he wouldn't recommend it - but he didn't want to lie.

That said, it might be a little better in an SEN school...

SukeyTakeItOffAgain Thu 12-May-16 11:17:02

Sorry about the typos. For "for", read " got". For "beyonde", read " beyond me".

CookieTin Thu 12-May-16 11:19:30

Be careful asking teachers, we're a miserable lot if asked and like to vent in the staffroom.
It's tough, but rewarding. Don't expect it to be all, or mostly, magic moments with inspiring minds and life changing achievements. But it sometimes will be.
I love it, mainstream primary SENCo, mixed catchment.

blueskywithclouds Thu 12-May-16 11:19:31

I love teaching lessons and I enjoy planning and don't even mind marking to an extent. What is really grinding me down is the constant changes to systems from management in response to whatever the latest academy whim is. The constantly having to fight to make a professional opinion heard. Teaching to tests and having no option about it. Groups of people walking into my room doing a 30minute "learning walk", with clipboards making notes. Being told I HAVE to do xyz during an observation rather than using my own judgement.
I have always been judged as good/outstanding (even though they aren't meant to give judgements like that anymore). I'm relieved because colleagues who are struggling are being ground into the dirt. This is my 5th year and I have no intention of this being a forever job anymore.

The only reason I stay is because I love that my day is never boring! I like chatting with students and making a difference. I like thinking up and trying new ideas. I know if I left I would find something more boring but less stressful. At the moment I'm hanging in there.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 12-May-16 11:21:16

My DH works in a Secondary school and says the children are horrendous. Awful language, swearing, fighting, complete disregard for the teachers and parents who aren't interested.

He no longer classes his job as teaching but more 'behaviour management' for 6 hours a day.

I appreciate this isn't all schools though grin

He also hates all the politics.

Ifailed Thu 12-May-16 11:22:17

I agree with nonline, spend some time in school as a volunteer. You'll get to see how things are for real. I admire your desire to teach, I believe it is very much a vocation, but one that's a lot harder to do than most people realise.

jellyfrizz Thu 12-May-16 11:33:36

I'm afraid I couldn't recommend it either. There's a reason that everyone is leaving.

Sadly schools are becoming more like exam factories by the day, run by people who often don't give a jot about children but are fixated on multi-coloured spreadsheets with seventeen tabs which track every breath a pupil makes against a target pulled out of their backside.

I wholly agree with this ^^. It's not about the children anymore, it's all about ticking boxes and producing good data.

It's so sad for everyone involved because teaching can be the most fantastically rewarding job and it is our children who are missing out when good teachers leave.

I taught overseas (in two different countries) for many happy years. If that were an option I'd highly recommend it.

I have no experience of SEN schools in England so things could be better in that sector.

teacherlikesapples Thu 12-May-16 11:35:03

I love teaching, the relationships with the children, seeing them progress and reach their potential, supporting parents & making connections with them as well. That is the good stuff, and can be massively rewarding.

However, in recent years I feel more like a political hot potato. Policy changes & budget cuts have had a massive impact on our day to day role. We cannot access the same level of support for children & families, we are having to do spend a great deal of time on paper filling bollocks to produce meaningless stats, so they can see what they are getting for their money . Combined with the media hatred of teachers, and the fact our pay has been frozen for years. It has slowly been sucking the joy out of the role.

So honestly, I would strongly suggest something else. Maybe become an ABA therapist? There is a shortage, they get paid quite well in comparison & they have the opportunity to make a massive impact. Often privately funded often to, so you won't be bullied around by funding cuts as often. Good luck with what ever you decide smile

jellyfrizz Thu 12-May-16 11:39:40

Oh and this
I love teaching lessons and I enjoy planning and don't even mind marking to an extent. What is really grinding me down is the constant changes to systems from management in response to whatever the latest academy whim is.

I really don't mind working long hours if it makes a difference for the students but spending hours and hours changing everything because of someone leaping onto the latest bandwagon is just a monumental waste of time and energy.

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