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Would I BU to train as a primary teacher?

(65 Posts)
Chocolateorangegoblin Mon 24-Apr-17 12:34:48

I am currently a SAHM and thinking of options for re training. Would it be a bad idea to train as a primary teacher?

I have always wanted to do it but I've heard so many horror stories about having to work 60/70 hours a week and it being really stressful and not enjoyable.

So any primary teachers out there can you tell me what your job is like? Or anyone training to be a teacher are you enjoying it? Thank you.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:43:27

It's definitely not family friendly because it is long hours and plenty of work to do at home.

It was my career, but there is absolutely no way that I would do it again.

Sorry, probably not what you want to hear. Have you done some volunteering in a school so you can get a flavour of it, or tried for a job as a TA?

peachgreen Mon 24-Apr-17 13:10:36

I did it for a year and a half. It was hellish. It's incredibly hard work, long hours and very intense - you're always "on". I would never ever EVER go back, not even for the benefit of the holidays.

If you're a teacher, your job is your life, at least for the first 5 years. It DOES get easier after that (usually) but it's always a massive commitment, more than I'd be willing to give for a job.

I agree with Foxy - try volunteering first to make sure you're comfortable in a classroom environment and to get an insight from teachers in your local area.

Rainydayspending Mon 24-Apr-17 13:15:08

I am a qualified teacher. I haven't taught for some time. I certainly wont be going back to it until my youngest is at secondary. It's not a job that fits around anything.

FairytalesAreBullshit Mon 24-Apr-17 13:19:25

Teachers work crazy hours, the oh so generous holidays are a myth as you spend them working.

Secondary Ed maybe slightly better, stuck to a single subject, even then it's still loooooong hours.

Sunnysidegold Mon 24-Apr-17 13:21:30

I think lots of people have this idea that teaching especially primary is great for mum's due to holidays and the ever popular 0hrase "sure you finish at 3 o clock". I am about to visit up after 15 years as I've found it drains my time and energy for family. I also suffer from anxiety though so I know my decision isn't purely based on the job. Teaching is very rewarding but I found I spent so much time working at home or late at school that my work life balance wasn't great. I'm sorry our first replies have been negative, I think there just comes a point when you want to leave work at work and be able to switch off at home. I found training exhausting and did this pre children. I would definitely suggest volunteering but ta work would give you a better picture of what the day is like. Good luck.

Sunnysidegold Mon 24-Apr-17 13:27:22

Sorry you asked as well what day was in school for 7.45 setting up for day, teach through to lunch., 30 mins for three I would have a meeting or club to take. Prepare or paperwork until half five, quick tidy up, home for 6. Check my kids' homework, make dinner, kids to bed, tidy up, Mark some books, tv, bed. The big thing for me is when I have other things to do on top of day to day work like writing plans or reports and they take up more of my evenings.

Best thing is working with children, watching them enjoy learning. Worst thing is paperwork. Although holidays are long it's annoying for things like going to your own kids' sports days and plays, and being able to take a day off or morning off during term time

Trenzalor Mon 24-Apr-17 13:29:55

I had no life working full time. I lost friends and did nothing at all during term time. Holidays were spent sleeping or a great chunk working. I love teaching, but I cannot do it full time any longer. I work part-time and that takes up enough of my time at home as it is.

Trenzalor Mon 24-Apr-17 13:35:28

My full time day was: in school 7:30 preparing (a lot of photocopying/marking), from 8:50 til lunch teaching. At lunch time choosing how much of a break to have or whether to start on the marking (three lessons in the morning so around 90 books potentially). Teaching from the end of lunch until 3:15. Waiting for late collections until at least half past. Twice/thrice a week meetings from 3:30 until at least 5. Marking a prep for the next day. Leave when the school shuts at six. Get home, make food, mark books, adjust lessons etc. Had to sleep by ten or I can't function the next day. Minimum of one full weekend day planning lessons/making resources.
Part time: in school 7:30, prep for day (photocopying mainly), teaching 8:50 until lunch (although children come in at 8:15 and I'm expected to supervise them despite not officially starting until half eight). Work through lunch to get through marking (only two morning lessons and a smaller class so much easier). Teach until 3:15, late collections until half past. Quick half hour meeting one day. I leave when the marking is done. I have a class of 23 so it's doable. I still get stressed having to then rush and collect my daughter/find dinner etc.

Trenzalor Mon 24-Apr-17 13:37:15

BTW full time was before I had a child. I don't know how people manage it - they are amazing.

Beeziekn33ze Mon 24-Apr-17 13:44:58

OP try going into a school as a volunteer or as a TA. Then you'll find out what that school is really like to work in.
If you do decide to train you don't necessarily have to be full time. There are part time jobs including class shares.
Some people enjoy the flexibility and stimulus of supply teaching which gives you the opportunity to assess schools without long term commitment.
There are still teachers who enjoy their work and combine it with having a family. Everyone's experience is different.

Beeziekn33ze Mon 24-Apr-17 13:46:02

OP And of course there is always the private sector to consider!

Ewock Mon 24-Apr-17 13:46:38

Worked ft before and after my 1st dc. Easier when no child very stressful and full on doing ft with dc. In school by 7.50am prep set up for the day until 8.40am. Out to playground to collect class. 8.50 to lunch teaching. 15 min break in that time which i used to set up for next lesson and quick toilet break. Lunch used marking books from morning sessions. Most days 2 sessions so 60 books to mark. Eat at desk. Afternoon teaching till 3.15pm. After school meetings twice a week sometimes more. Mark afternoon books/sort plans for next day if they need changed/prep for next day. Then there is everything on top report writing, assessment, medium and short term planning, new iniciatives to input, possibly things to action from the meetings, sometimes parental meetings if needed. Sort out guided reading books, sort class room stock etc I could go on. You need to be able to multitask to have a hope of coping. Is a great job but very time consuming and can be extremely hard. After having 2nd dc I will be going back pt.

Devorak Mon 24-Apr-17 14:20:08

I'm in my third decade although not a classroom teacher any more and love it as much as I ever did. It is hard work but anyone working all weekends or 60 hours isn't doing it properly and needs to reassess their suitability.

A PGCE or equivalent is the hardest thing most teachers will ever tackle so I suggest you don't enter it lightly. TA for a year. You can test the water and see if you like it.

It's a job that can work well if you teach at the same school as your children attend but day-to-day, it isn't necessarily great. I've worked at independent schools so after school activities and other things like that make the alignment of time at school are easier.

You're unreasonable to jump in but notunreasonable to consider it.

EdmundCleverClogs Mon 24-Apr-17 14:47:59

I know someone who did it, didn't even complete the course it was so awful. To be fair, the school they were placed at had ridiculous expectations, they were expected to be able to plan and run lessons from the off and had zero support when they needed it (teachers too busy to run through lessons and such). The expectations of teachers these days are beyond unreasonable, the whole sector is in crisis. In fact, the horror stories I'm hearing is making me not want to send my child to school in a couple of years' time.

I second becoming a TA. You could work up to HLTA, they can also cover/run classes but without the full stress of teaching.

Usermuser Mon 24-Apr-17 15:21:13

I did about 9 months of a PGCE and can honestly say it was the hardest time in my life. The workload was horrendous. I was up working until 3 in the morning some nights as were the others on my course. Weekends would also be filled with planning and marking. (Prior to this I'd done a fulltime MA and got distinction while working part-time without ever feeling at all stressed or overworked so I am reasonably good at time management.) It didn't help that I had the devil incarnate as a mentor, but even without her destroying my self confidence and undermining me in front of the pupils, the workload and the other teachers all saying that they had come to hate the job was enough to make me drop out.
I have a relative who is a doctor. The people she most often signs off work due to stress? Teachers and police officers.
Sorry to be negative, OP, but if you're prepared to do 60 or 70 hour weeks, go into banking or something. At least then you'll have a good salary to compensate you for giving up your life.

jellyfrizz Mon 24-Apr-17 15:32:41

It is hard work but anyone working all weekends or 60 hours isn't doing it properly and needs to reassess their suitability.

I don't think that's necessarily true, it really depends on the amount of ridiculous and pointless paperwork and endless meetings demands of the school you are working in.

BrutusMcDogface Mon 24-Apr-17 15:44:02

What they all said! ^

Don't do it if you want any kind of sanity and family life. However, if you're willing to sacrifice a few years maybe you could train, complete nqt year and then find a part time job. I think if your own kids are in school full time, you could work part time but do much of your "homework" in the days you have off whilst they are at school.

I taught for 13 years, part time after having my kids. Am never, EVER going back. I fear for my own children as the pressure and expectations are so high for children as well as staff.

BrutusMcDogface Mon 24-Apr-17 15:46:38

It's a shame because there are aspects of teaching that I do miss; helping children achieve, having rapport with a class, the entertaining things they say each day! I miss reading them a story at the end of the day (which tbh we rarely had time for, anyway! sad)

However, I quite like my happiness and sanity, grin and me quitting teaching was the best thing I could possibly have done for my children.

DeliciouslyHella Mon 24-Apr-17 15:47:06

It's the only career that offers 13 weeks of holiday and just 6 hours of contact time a day... yet the government has to put out flashy expensive ads to recruit people. Think about that for a second. Tells you a lot, doesn't it?

I've been teaching for almost a decade now and will be leaving the profession shortly to become a SAHM. In reality, being a teacher isn't particularly compatible with family life. Although there is a certain amount of flexibility around your working hours, in that you may choose when and where you work outside of the school day (and you will need to, there's no doubt about that), inside the core contact hours, there is zero flexibility at all. The children are fabulous, but the system is broken. Teachers are leaving in their droves - good teachers at that.

Devorak Mon 24-Apr-17 15:53:57



I think we've discussed this before but if anyone in my school was working these crazy hours, I'd call them into my study and support them or sack them. They're either good teachers with poor time management or skills to maximise efficiency or poor teachers who were making up in time that that they lacked in ability.

There are bad schools, bad teachers and bad management but being a teacher isn't necessarily a job that means you work way and above contracted hours. At the same time, I couldn't do a PGCE now and survive and an NQT is no picnic either. I do think that teaching is (perhaps after Doctors and surgeons) the most important job imaginable and if it needs to be PG only and tough to sort the wheat from the chaff then it's necessary.

In my time, I can think of three teachers who I desperately wanted to continue in their profession. One had a sick child and would have continued had she not been pulled away. One was ill themselves and he needed time out and another married a very rich man (and fuck it, I'd have resigned too!). Others have either contributed wonderfully but come to the end of their journey or had been struggling through for a while to some extent or another and it was time for them to find challenges elsewhere.

ZilphasHatpin Mon 24-Apr-17 16:06:33

It makes me so angry to read what teachers have to do/put up with. It's one of the most important careers you can do and teachers are being failed consistently, leaving them stretched paper thin and many not coping at all. It's awful. Our government needs ripped apart for what they have done to schooling.

Devorak Mon 24-Apr-17 16:18:01


I realise you're 'on trend' but I have cried twice in my years due to professional reasons. One was something which affected a single child and was terrible and the other when Labour introduced academies.

sailorcherries Mon 24-Apr-17 16:20:38

I completed a PGDE when DS was 4 turning 5, my probation year was his first year of primary and I secured a permanent job at the end. I've just went off on mat leave.

My average day - didn't arrive in school until 8.45ish (I've always been placed in schools 40ish minutes away from home with no traffic, can't go earlier due to childcare). On a Monday morning I'd quickly gather my printing and photocopying for the day ahead. Write up the first lesson on the board and out to collect class at 9am. Teach until 10.45am, then have a break. I tend to spend 5 minutes tidying up once the class are away and setting up the next lesson. Then a quick 10 minute toilet stop, catch up with the other staff and bite to eat. Teaching from 11am to 12.15pm. Spent 15 minutes tidying up and prepping for the afternoon. Half hour lunch and then back to it from 1pm to 3pm.

After school I'd either have a 1 hour or 1.5 hour meeting or a 1 hour club once a week.

I'd then mark books from the day, although I was getting better at marking and offering feedback during the lesson, but it was still normally 75+ pieces of work a a day. I'd then do my printing and photocopying for the next day and set my board up for the morning.
I'd normally leave at 5.30 latest, sometimes 5, depending on after school commitments and how much marking I could do as they worked.

I'm then home for dinner, some time with DS and to do bed time. Then I work for another hour or so and bed for me.

At the weekend I work another 5-6 hours trying to plan the week ahead (our school wants weekly plans) and source/make resources for lessons.
During holidays there is planning but also more detailed forward plans due.

There is also reports, assessments and parents nights to factor in.

It isn't family friendly and I'm considering part time or leaving after mat leave. I need to work for 3 months after mat leave as I'm taking OMP as well as SMP. My baby isn't even born yet and I'm dreading it.

Willyoujustbequiet Mon 24-Apr-17 16:21:42

Nearly all my family and friends are teachers. Including my ex who did it as a mature student.

Yes it is hard work and yes it can be very stressful at times but its a very rewarding career and all of my circle are basically happy with their lot and certainly dont work till they drop.

There's far worse jobs out there so if you're interested I would go for it.

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