Should I take the plunge into teaching?

(30 Posts)
Scweevan Mon 26-Sep-16 13:15:18

I am considering applying to train as a primary school teacher through schools direct (on the job) but I am worried that it would be unmanageable.

I have 4 children, 10, 8, 6 and 2 and, to boot, I am the only adult at home. I have wonderful family and friends network but, even so, life is challenging. I feel as though I would make a good teacher, I want to help children to learn. Also, a professional job would be great for my family's future.

Any thoughts? Be as blunt as you like!

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Munstermonchgirl Mon 26-Sep-16 19:34:05

Are you working at the moment? What did you do pre children? What makes you think teaching as a profession would be better for your family than any other career?

Sorry if that sounds blunt (though you did say you welcome bluntness!!) As a teacher I can tell you that the post grad year of training is really tough. You think it can't get any worse but then you're an NQT and it is. After being in the job for many many years, I now have a healthy cynicism about every 'new' initiative which pops up, I know what works for the children I teach and my subject, and I'm middle management so feel I have more clout. I manage my work load so that I'm in school 7.45am to 5.30/6 pm and only do an hour of marking at home; sometimes even have evening off. In my early days of teaching it was more like 2 or 3 hours a night plus a big chunk of the weekend. I teach secondary btw, but I get the impression primary is even more demanding.

Do I regret going into teaching? No. But I trained fresh from uni, took minimal time off when my kids were born so have a good pension, and as i say I've been around long enough to have the advantage of experience. It can also be great feeling you've Helped a young person on their journey

Would I want any of my own children to go into teaching? Honestly- no. Of course I wouldn't try to stop them but I'm seriously glad they've gone for different careers. I would worry for their well being and work life balance if they became teachers. I have huge respect for teachers entering the profession now -but when you know a massive proportion will leave within a few years, it shows something is very wrong with education at the moment

reup Mon 26-Sep-16 19:46:40

The holidays work well (except for training days) but unless you work in your kids school, work part time or have a fantastic head you will never get to see any assemblies, sports days, open mornings, daytime concerts etc.

I don't what on the job training is like my but my PGCE year was hard work but the NQT year was hell. I got so many illnesses - many to do with stress - back pain and skin flare ups. I found out I can't cope with the constant stress and things have got much more full on since I trained. I gave up after a year and have since done supply on and off which I prefer because I don't have the overwhelming sense of responsibility I felt as a full time teacher. Other people cope really well but often even the best teachers can get very stressed and the constant judging that goes on really feeds any feeling s of low self esteem you may have.

Also having worked elsewhere I really missed working with other adults all day That does happen to a small extent but there's not that sense of of working as a team that I got in other jobs.

Scweevan Mon 26-Sep-16 20:16:00

Thanks for this. I need an honest perspective.

I am currently working in a school as a TA and taught dance, pt, for ten years prior to this. Primarily, I am trying to find career progression but the work load suggests that my children might suffer. The school I work in use my performance expertise but it is hard to find a career path in this field.

Thanks again

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Scweevan Mon 26-Sep-16 20:18:43


My biggest worry is not being able to cope.

Have you stuck with it?

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honeysucklejasmine Mon 26-Sep-16 20:19:35

I am on mat leave from teaching/tutoring. I am not going to go back until youngest dc is in school, and then it will be part time. The workload is ridiculous and I want to actually see my children awake during the week. sad So we're going to have to live in relative poverty until then.

rollonthesummer Mon 26-Sep-16 20:27:14

Nope-I wouldn't recommend it. It's exhausting but not in a productive way. If I had to spend hours planning for wonderful lessons (as I did 20 years ago when I first started and things were 'better') that is one thing, but I am spending hours doing things like...
Cutting out and sticking in learning objectives 3 X 30 per day)

Photographing any practical activities my children do, finding a printer with paper and ink, printing them out and sticking them in as unless I do this. SMT don't believe it happened.

Triple marking

Highlighting things in pink and green that my y1 class can't read, don't understand and don't get a chance to go back and look at.

Levelling every 6 weeks even though levels don't exist.

Planning 5/7 part lessons on paper-in ludicrous detail- with virtually individual targets, with extra detail for SEN, EAL, more able, pupils premium etc etc etc

If the things SMT demanded made my class learn and my lessons good, that would be one thing. They are pointless time-consuming codswallop that give me LESS time to prepare good lessons.

I cannot and will not spend any more of my life doing this WHILST missing out on seeing anything my own children ever do at school.

I don't recommend it as a job-unless you can do supply (not much of that around here as all of the teachers I know who were any good have jacked in permanent teaching and gone on supply) or go part time.

Unless you have a very flexible/local partner or parents willing to have your children all hours, it won't be fun.

Munstermonchgirl Mon 26-Sep-16 20:28:19

Reup has hit the nail on the head about the constant judging. Of course, in any profession you'll have targets and appraisals... It's just that in teaching, you feel constantly judged on things which are beyond your control. You can prepare the most fabulous, challenging and inspiring scheme of work- yet if a kid decides to behave like a little shit, your lesson can be judged unsatisfactory because not every pupil has made progress during it. You can put every ounce of commitment into teaching a GCSE class for 2 years- then some kid has crap going on at home the night before the exam and they flunk it- and you get judged for their result

That's the biggest pressure. You have to be remarkably resilient to cope with that sort of constant pressure. After nigh on 30 years, I've got to that point, but by god the early years in the profession are really tough. The holidays work well when you have school age children, but tbh there isn't any advantage when they're younger (I had to pay nursery all year round so no financial benefit until kids reached school age) And even when they're older I'm not sure the holidays are sufficient pay back for the relentlessness of term time. When I started teaching 28 years ago, most teachers raved about the holidays; now, many of them would prefer standard holidays but a better work life balance and t and c.

Sorry this sounds so negative.... Of course there are many upsides too, such as job satisfaction with certain kids, the chance to study learning methodologies and seeing how children's minds work- it's never dull! But i worry for the well being of the new generation coming into teaching.

GraceGrape Mon 26-Sep-16 20:33:11

I wouldn't do it with 4 kids. Spending time with them in the holidays is great but I think it would be unmanageable due to the amount of work you inevitably have to bring home. I only work 3 days and still have to spend almost every evening after the kids are on bed doing schoolwork.

Scweevan Mon 26-Sep-16 21:04:06

Its good to hear the reality. Seriously, you should all read the wonderful stories on!!!! False advertising!

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1potato2potato3potato4 Mon 26-Sep-16 21:11:27

Oh i'm a single parent to 4 DC too and plan on applying to do a PGCE when the youngest is 3.
I've never heard anything re teaching that makes it sound any worse than my current job (public service) apart from taking work home, which sounds like a bonus as it isn't even an option currently.

CauliflowerSqueeze Mon 26-Sep-16 21:14:58

if you don't mind having to deal with ofsted,
It's a fine life

Seriously, it's the best job in the world with the most fun people (kids) but all the other "stuff" around it is a massive off-putter!

CauliflowerSqueeze Mon 26-Sep-16 21:15:53

Although you get the holidays (most of them) remember that they are unpaid and also that term time is really relentless.

PoochiePoo Mon 26-Sep-16 21:16:57

I've just started a PGCE on a school direct. I am a part time lone parent as DH works away during the week, so I have to do morning and evening school runs plus everything at home in between. So far, I'm coping. Not sure how that'll be the case once my teaching increases (only doing bits here and there at the moment but it's increasing) but so far I'm not regretting it.

DesolateWaist Mon 26-Sep-16 21:51:40

I did in school training.
It was just me and DH, but I had to get DH to look after everything at home. I simply didn't have the headspace to worry about what we would have for dinner or if we had enough loo roll.

cosmicglittergirl Mon 26-Sep-16 21:56:52

I've just gone back after three years off with two small children, and I'm finding it really hard. I really couldn't imagine doing my training with kids. It's incredibly intense.

cosmicglittergirl Mon 26-Sep-16 21:57:27

And I'm giving it up in fact.

reup Mon 26-Sep-16 22:11:05

How is bringing work home an advantage? It doesn't mean you leave work at 4 and then do all the work at home. For. Most teachers I know it means being 10 hours in school school from 7.30-5.30 then taking more to do at home and weekend.

pieceofpurplesky Mon 26-Sep-16 22:18:47

1 potato revisit that comment after a couple of years. I speak from experience - nothing compares you for teaching

Longlost10 Mon 26-Sep-16 22:25:25

what rollonthesummer said, x100. I recently gave up teaching because of never seeing my teenagers, as in taking 30 mins off in the evenings to cook and eat with them was impossible on a regular basis. And I was already working by the time they woke up for breakfast in the mornings, having had breakfast myself at about 4am.


Longlost10 Mon 26-Sep-16 22:29:06

I didn't get the half terms off with them either, as we were expected to work half terms, revision lessons etc. I had to bring my kids into school with me when they were little. And bank holidays too. And the Easter holidays were always given over to revision lessons, and part of the summer for planning. We did get Christmas off together, although I would have been marking.

Quite apart from that, my summer holidays started and finished two weeks before my DC's did, and half terms rarely matched throughout the whole year, so there was never even much of an advantage child care wise, either.

Munstermonchgirl Mon 26-Sep-16 22:49:49

And don't fall for the idea that teaching fits around your own kids' lives better than most jobs. Fwiw my children were always the first to arrive at childcare- in fact, when i first started using a nursery, I had to pay double time between 7.30 and
8 am because that counted as outside normal hours. Most people seemed to be able to drop their children at 8 and be in the office for 8.30 or even nearer 9am. That's impossible in teaching. likewise at the end of the day. On occasions-
Perhaps a handful of times a year I'll be out the door at 4. Every other day it's 5.30 or 6 - later when there's evening stuff on.

If you are passionate about teaching then go for it- it can be incredibly rewarding. But go into it for that reason only- not because you think it'll work well with your family life

SherryRB Wed 28-Sep-16 09:52:39

Fascinated with this thread - I'm not a teacher, never had a desire to be a teacher, though my husband teaches ESOL on a variable contract in a local college.

It sounds like a lot of pressure and stress as a teacher ... when teachers have had enough, what do they do next? What career changes does it set you up for?

hutchblue Wed 28-Sep-16 11:55:13

Yes me too Sherry. It's been a real insight into what it's really like to be a teacher in 2016 with a family and I've learnt a lot.

I had no idea it was such a juggling act and all those stereotypes that I've heard over the years seem very outdated looking at this thread.

I've also never wanted to be a teacher but as one of the poster's mentioned above it looks like if it's your vocation, your calling in life to teach and it's something you love to do then it could be a good fit for the right person.

I guess it means being absolutely clear that this is not an 'easy option' at all but just as hard as any other job and perhaps even harder in some areas.

Good luck Screevan! Have you ever thought about anything else or is it just teaching you want to do?

Scweevan Wed 28-Sep-16 14:24:03

I definitely think I am called to work with children but I think my kids would be making sacrifices for it to work. Their happy childhood is my priority. I am now looking into the possibility of a midway - hlta.

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