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Tell me honestly about your career as a teacher

(76 Posts)
ChooseTheLifeYouLove Sat 09-Jul-16 20:10:09

I am looking for a career change and have considered teaching but I don't know what it's properly like day to day. I have a degree so could do a training course. I currently work in a technical field and earn approx £60k per annum so know I would have to take a pay cut but was hoping for a better work life balance and a long term career (what I do now is contracts).

If you can I would love to know the hours you do each week, your salary, best bits, worst bits and would you recommend overall?

Thank you.

mrgrouper Sat 09-Jul-16 20:11:31

I have a place for School Direct in September but considering not taking it up. I do not think people with Asperger's have the skills to teach sad

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sat 09-Jul-16 20:11:33


I'd say don't even think about it.

PotteringAlong Sat 09-Jul-16 20:12:59

I've been teaching for 10 years. It's still the best job in the world.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sat 09-Jul-16 20:15:25

I've been teaching 20 years. ..the kids are great, the colleagues are great. Everything else is crap.

suze28 Sat 09-Jul-16 20:15:31

It takes over your life until the summer holidays, then you get a decent break.
I did the PGCE (primary) four years ago aged 41 and don't regret it at all.
Teaching is relentless with the targets for progress, changing goalposts, assessment, always striving to improve etc.
Think long and hard about a career change and try and get some first hand experience in a classroom. Teachers will be honest with you about the day to day demands of the job.

HuckleberryGin Sat 09-Jul-16 20:16:12

I left last year after 12 years. Lots of my friend are leaving after 10 plus years. Great, dedicated teachers. I now work full time as opposed to part time as a teacher and have a much better work life balance- I actually see my kids in term time!

I'd love to go back, if the regime of blame and bullying desists. I wouldn't recommend it as a career.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 09-Jul-16 20:17:58

You lost me at "better work life balance". Which is why I will not be going back in September.

But to answer your questions:
Hours I did each week - 60-70 in term time, but with long holidays obviously where I was not doing so many.

Salary was main pay scale so about £32,000

Best bits - the actual teaching. Worst bits - all the other stuff, data, reports, working evenings, working weekends, never feeling as if I had finished, missing out on family stuff.

Would I recommend? Well, you can only give it a go. How hard would it be to get back into your current occupation if you tried a PGCE and realised it wasn't for you?

MsColouring Sat 09-Jul-16 20:18:19

Dont do it for work/life balance - there's times of the year when it's pretty much all work - other times it's easier.

If you are going to do it, do it for the love of the job. There is honestly no other job in the world I'd rather do - even with all the government changes recently. But there are times when I wonder how I'm going to find the hours in the day and the energy to get stuff done.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sat 09-Jul-16 20:18:39

Oh and I did 17 years.

Pearlman Sat 09-Jul-16 20:19:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsTatum1980 Sat 09-Jul-16 20:19:34

I love it. I've been teaching around 10 years and I am an assistant headteacher. I earn around £52k a year and have a pastoral focus which I absolutely love.

There are many unhappy teachers where I work and pressure has increased! But whilst I appreciate I teach a reduced TT due to my additional duties, I wouldn't want to do anything else. The pastoral role means that I laugh, cry and nag on a weekly, if not daily basis, but the students are just brilliant.

For what it's worth I also teach in a socially deprived area that is regarded as challenging. Still the best job ever for me and I ensure I have a work life balance by working harder some weeks than other. I know that if I want a weekend away, I need to be in early and work at home the week before. I also have 2 young children.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Sat 09-Jul-16 20:21:01

You'd probably be okay to be honest.

But I would really hesitate over leaving a £60,000 post for teaching.

Shizzlestix Sat 09-Jul-16 20:24:45

Starting salary likely to be mid twenties even with previous working experience. Top salary without promotion is max £36000. Depending on subject, you can get a (badly) paid Schools Direct placement where you have a timetable and are straight in at the deep end. PGCE style courses are unpaid.

Day to day, I leave about 5 having been in by 8am. I don't get a lunch break, I'm currently ridiculously busy. 3 months off a year in the state sector is fab, but I work solidly from 8-5 with time just to go to the loo. This means I don't generally take work home in the evenings.

It can be very frustrating with constant new initiatives, marking all the time, kids not caring, parents not caring, depending on which school you work in.

It is incredibly rewarding when kids demonstrate what they've learnt and it's a privilege to work with youngsters and be able to support them and watch them progress. It makes the insane hard work and stress worth it.

HandbagCrab Sat 09-Jul-16 20:25:01

You'd start on 22k and only get 60k if you were a deputy head or higher in a large secondary. It is unlikely in the current climate that you would get more due to having industry experience.

The pension is career average not final salary so perhaps wouldn't be great for a career changer. Academies consistently cut pay and conditions for all but the highest in the foodchain. Short term contracts are not unheard of and schools are making redundancies.

I'm saying this because you go to work to be paid and the good bits of teaching would not compensate you the £38k you'd lose initially and would struggle to ever regain. Plus there is no guarantee of a job for life or a decent pension at the end of it.

I would not recommend teaching in England to anyone at the moment, certainly not someone such as yourself that has such good earning capacity.

Graceflorrick Sat 09-Jul-16 20:26:48

I was a teacher, it was horrific! You couldn't pay me enough to go back to it.

mrgrouper Sat 09-Jul-16 20:33:51

I have been doing the School Experience Program, which you will need to do if you want to do teacher training. Had a pretty shitty experience on it tbh. Two days ago got told off for talking too much to students, so yesterday I sat there with a teaching book before lessons and got told off for "not being aware of my surroundings". Decided not to open the book again and then in the afternoon the teacher went on about it again. She then went on about how "renowned" her lessons were. Felt like walking out.

nobodysbabynow Sat 09-Jul-16 20:35:07

I'm in my 23rd year, still love teaching and never get bored. But don't do it for work life balance. Or money! I earn 39 thousand as a top of the scale teacher with subject responsibility, and won't ever earn more unless I go into management, which I don't want to as it's the teaching I like.

happypoobum Sat 09-Jul-16 20:36:42

PMSL at the "improved work life balance" sentiment.

I love my job, but I probably put in an average of 70 hours a week. I usually work through most of the school holidays too, lesson planning, tracking, the paperwork is utterly overwhelming

Best bit is the classroom teaching, worst bit is the repetitive and largely irrelevant paperwork.

MrsMook Sat 09-Jul-16 20:39:43

There is a lot of scrutiny that's come up in recent years. It's very target and progress driven, unfortunately the "product" the students are complicated human beings that don't necessarily behave according to statistical averages.

The difficulty is that the boundary on when enough is enough doesn't really exist. Maintaining a work life balance, especially if you have a family is tough and a lot of guilt is involved.

Jobs are available at the moment because so many people are walking away. Academisation is eroding terms and conditions. Teachers have become pawns to political whims that are not based on effective pedagogy. Change is happening at a relentless pace before outcomes are evident and there is no resourcing of time or money to facilitate this.

I spend a fortune on stationary so my students can have "beautiful books" because they don't provide it, the school can't afford it, and I'll get it in the neck if it's not done. Teachers are everyone's scapegoat, the politicians, the students, the parents.

The financial rewards for working a minimum of 50 hours a week for the level of professionalism involved aren't fantastic.

There are many satisfactions from the teacher-student relationship, and that should be the core of the job, but it increasingly feels like a side show.

Contracts are increasingly issued for a year initially, particularly for NQTs. You can pass your NQT year but not be kept on. I qualified over a decade ago when jobs were scarce locally and have survived my entire career on temporary contracts and supply.

To survive, you have to love the students and your subject, be resilient, organised, great at politics and have a high energy level and few external commitments. Sadly a love of statistics and spreadsheets is becoming essential.

SisterViktorine Sat 09-Jul-16 20:50:24

14 years in- very specialist role- 38K. Been up to SLT, didn't like it because I hated not teaching and having to tell hardworking, stressed colleagues they were crap, so came back down again.

Love my job because a) I work 0.9 b) I'm too experienced for my level of responsibility so I'm not stressed c) I got lucky and found a school where I adore the Head and she puts up with me.

I would not start over again in mainstream now. Not ever, not if it was the only job left in the world.

siilk Sat 09-Jul-16 21:00:11

Work life balance! Ha ha!! No worlife balance. I've been teaching 17 years and it has never been worse!

Missdread Sat 09-Jul-16 21:01:08

I left after 4 years to have my kids and don't know if I'd go back to be honest. It's an all or nothing job and when I was a young slip of a thing I would happily do 7.30 - 6 and take 2-3 hours worth of marking home but not now with my own kids at home too. The time when the kids are in is EXHAUSTING as you are "on point" the whole time, putting on a show, presenting your wonderfully planned lessons and doing it all with a smile while having to deal with behaviour problems aplenty, children with additional needs and your headteacher changing the timetable at the drop of a hat. By 3pm you are knackered but this is when the work really begins. Assessment meetings, planning meetings, scrutinising raw data, setting up/tidying away the stuff in the classroom, report writing, IEP writing, parents meetings and of course the after school clubs you are expected to run. Hence the not getting any marking done until you get home, by which time you are so exhausted you do it on autopilot, flop into bed and do the whole thing again yhe next day . Weekends mean at least one day at the laptop doing the medium/short-term planning for the following week's lessons, writing the daily plans and organising the resources so that when you get into school on Monday you just have to photocopy and organise the classroom. You can't teach a lesson without planning it in advance. The holidays are normally a week of planning on the laptop the entire term's overviews and things like ability groups, IEPs and homework planning as well as some time in class taking down all the displays ajd putting up new ones for the new term (the children can't walk into an empty classroom!). This is all for the princely sum of around £21k per year starting salary. You will never earn more than £30k unless you go through threshold so don't believe those lying adverts telling you you can earn 60k as it's rubbish. Sure, as head of a large school but never as a bit standard teacher . Am I selling it?😂 I was overjoyed to escape after I had my first child and just can't see how I can put myself through it again.

IonaNE Sat 09-Jul-16 21:17:51

10+ years in another country (Europe) - wonderful. About 5 years in the UK (in various schools and settings, including leadership position) - hell. Don't do it.

FuzzyWizard Sat 09-Jul-16 21:21:55

I love it but work-life balance isn't great.

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