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Sooooo - should I teach primary or secondary?

(16 Posts)
Clary Sun 12-Jun-11 15:00:36

OK I know you can't tell me, but some thoughts would be helpful.

I have a place to do GTP at a primary school and another (MFL) at secondary.

I have only just had one of the schools confirmed, but now I need to plump firmly for one or t'other.

Both are easy enough commute etc. The secondary is the better school - bigger, really good vibe, bigger staff etc; the primary is v small and while sweet and lovely, not especially set up for GTP training IMHO. (eg HT has twice said I would be "like an extra TA" in the classroom hmm)

However it's not really about the training school, is it? I am unlikely to get a job (IMO) at the primary, tho I guess I may well at the secondary (more likely in general with secondary). But afterwards - there are lots of jobs (well, ish) locally for primary, but not so many for secondary, esp for secondary MFL, esp for MFL with French and German. A quick snapshot last night revealed up to a dozen local primary jobs and only 2 secondary, and both were a long commute.

So is that a factor? Are there more jobs in primary than secondary? Or are there a lot more people going for primary jobs?

Questions, questions. I would love to teach primary, but also enjoy secondary (work in secondary atm) and love my subject (but also love things like Maths - I am a cover sup atm). Am I right in my supposition that there are more opps for advancement and career progression in secondary? I need to consider this as this is a late-in-life career change (long story) and I need to earn good money as soon as I can. Not trying to be mercenary, jsut realistic.

So sorry for horrendous logn post. Any views??

imadgeine Sun 12-Jun-11 16:38:33

Yes there are much better prospects for advancements in secondary. Many people in secondary earning similar to primary heads.
MFL is maybe going to need more teachers soon due to Gove's idea of the English Bacc which will include a MFL GCSE. Wider range of colleagues in secondary. Depends what are your priorities. Why not write a list. Good luck.

lulaloop Sun 12-Jun-11 16:44:48

Primary jobs depend on where you live, the N.W is terrible for jobs.

I could never ever have been a secondary teacher and that was what decided it for me. I enjoy teaching all the subjects, my behaviour management techniques are suited to primary, I enjoy having the same class all day. Would hate to teach English (my degree subject) to such a high level etc.

Which would you enjoy more - teaching is so hard - you have to love the area you teach to keep going.

cheekydino Sun 12-Jun-11 16:48:21

Def more money/prospects in secondary longterm. Have you thought about private prep schools? Would enable more specialist teaching than primary, pay better, and you could teach a mix of things if they needed it. Would involve giving up on the ideal of working in a state school though!

Also - there won't be many jobs around at this time of year, so I'm not sure looking now would give you a genuine snapshot. Most secondaries try and fill their posts by May at the latest.

DialMforMummy Sun 12-Jun-11 17:41:37

Could you shadow a teacher in two (a secondary and a primary) schools for a bit?
In primary you generally have one class for the year, so on the one hand it's great because you get real close to your pupils but on the other, if you don't real gel with them, it's not so good.
In secondary, you can teach across from 11 to 18, so I suppose there is more of a range, it can be more stimulating.

Clary Sun 12-Jun-11 20:14:30

Thanks all
Good point about not a time to be looking for jobs anyway, maybe my "snapshot" was a bit irrelevant.

Also yy re English Bacc, that's what I'm a-pinning my hopes on as it was a different story a few years ago, but hopefully now the kids are going to start doing MFL again!

I have made a list of course! Main adv of primary is that I would perhaps enjoy it more; main adv of secondary is the prospects - but then I had a major wobble when I looked at the job availability!

I work in a secondary school atm but the cover supervisor role is in many ways hideous - no marking or planning it's true, but also no continuity and obv not covering my subject very much! when I do eg a full day of French then I do love it.

My background before the last 12 months was mostly primary, which I also love. I'm a bit weird I know - most colleagues/friends in primary or secondary wouldn't dream of teaching the other one!

inkyfingers Mon 13-Jun-11 13:12:45

jobs for newly qualified are supposed to be v. hard to get. Really check your area and subject (ask a couple of local heads). I guess if you want it, go for it, but to me likelihood of getting a job would be a big factor.

TeamDamon Mon 13-Jun-11 13:20:49

Yes - I was just coming on to be completely unhelpful and say that I knew immediately that I was only cut out for secondary teaching and love teaching my subject to a high level, but I see you've already noticed how weird you are grin

Dozer Mon 13-Jun-11 16:50:46

Secondary teachers earn more as more opportunities for taking on responsibilities with more pay attached.

freerangeeggs Tue 14-Jun-11 21:16:51

I had to decide between primary and secondary too. I very nearly chose primary and I'm sure I would have liked it. I do feel a bit jealous of primary teachers sometimes as they get to spend so much more time on literacy.

However, I like teaching my subject to a higher level. I'm glad I picked secondary.

twinklypearls Tue 14-Jun-11 21:31:59

I teach secondary and love it so am biased. The thought of being with the same class day in and day out all day fills me with horror. Fine it is fantastic if they are lovely but if they are not it must be very hard work. I love the change and variety of secondary.

I have worked with smaller children and I can manage it in short bursts but I do not enjoy it for any longer. Even with my year 7s I sometimes feel as if I have to peel them off me at the end of a lesson.

Also ask yourself how much you love your subject and how important it is to you to carry that on. Be realistic that you may not use much from your degree, although I use a fair chunk at a lower level, but do you have a passion for MFL? Would you like to teach MFL A Level?

I think there are more opportunities for career development in secondary, how important is that to you? However you may be given some responsibility because of your languages specialism in a primary.

Will you be able to cope with the behaviour demands of secondary, although this is where you choose your school carefully. I spent the first six years of my career in tough schools. I did well but in my current school with fewer discipline issues I have found my niche. So do not think that to do secondary you are necessarily choosing the harder behaviour option.

I think the ebacc will create job opportunities for you, however it may create a tougher teaching environment. There are going to be lots of kids who are taking a langauge GCSE because they have been pursuaded by the school, their parents or they feel they should. This can make it difficult to have enthusiastic classes.

As you have said this is not about your training school but the rest of your career. Choose what you want to do, there is nothing worse for the teacher or the kids than someone stood at the front of the room when they do not want to be there.

Would you teach in the independent sector? That may allow you to do some prep work where you straddle the primary and secondary sectors?

roisin Tue 14-Jun-11 22:03:51

Round here there are NO jobs in primaries at all - like gold dust. More in secondaries, especially in core subjects.

Phone a couple of primaries with recent closing dates on jobs and see if they will tell you how many applicants they had.

Personally I would go for secondary, because of many of the issues mentioned already on this thread. But I've known people move from secondary to primary and vice versa successfully, so there will always be options.

I think if you did the GTP in secondary, you would be in a strong position to get a primary job (with the added feather in your cap of being a language specialist) because of your earlier experience in primary. To move the other way would be more difficult I think.

cricketballs Tue 14-Jun-11 23:40:45

I would suggest that you think not so much about subjects/pay/jobs but on what age you enjoy being with for 8 hours a day? When I was training (I am secondary by the way) it was confirmed for me that there was no way I would go into primary following my week long placement in one (felt like a year).

On a personal level I can communicate better with older kids than younger ones (plus they have grubby hands that they are always touching you with!!) So no matter if jobs etc were easier to come by in primary in my area I would still have gone the secondary route for my own sanity!

Clary Tue 14-Jun-11 23:54:45

Thanks again all, that's v helpful.

Have decided to go for secondary! Yay!

Feeling really good and positive about it. I do love my subjects, covered French all day today and it was really good. Funnily enough I like the younger ones at secondary - love working with yr 7s and 8s. My only worry about A-level would be subject knowledge (slight wibble).

I agree re behaviour, but atm my secondary (and indeed my role in it!) is probably showing me the worst of all possible worlds, so hopefully I wil be semi-prepared.

Interesting roisin re what you say about moving from sec to prim - yes I was even thinking that if in a year's time it was clear that secondary had been a total mistake (unlikely I think and hope!) I'm thinking a move to primary would be more of a realistic possibility than moving the other way (impossible I would think, tho there are a couple of primary teachers at my secondary school - in quite specialised roles tho.

Dozer Wed 15-Jun-11 12:10:24

That's great, hope it goes really well for you!

Loshad Thu 16-Jun-11 21:30:28

sounds like a great decision - hope you have a fab year

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