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PGCE and primary school teaching - the truth for a working mum

(13 Posts)
rachaelmd Tue 04-Oct-11 18:06:55

I work part-time (four days a week currently with an hour commute each way) and have been lucky enough to have secured a place to do a PGCE primary (school-based) starting next September. I have two DD currently in Yr1 and R and have built up my career over the past 17 (ahem) years, so this is a big move for me. Now that the offer is in, I'm beginning to wonder whether this is really the right thing - I know the reality of teaching is tough (I have friends and family in teaching, though admittedly in secondary schools which can be very different) but I would appreciate your personal experiences of juggling parenthood and an inflexible job such as teaching. Its come to mind this week because I've had two separate trips to the doctors for both children, plus harvest festival and I realise that if I take up teaching, this flexibility to work round my family during term time is much reduced, if at all. HELP!

rachaelmd Tue 04-Oct-11 18:09:11

I should have said that all the reasons that took me into teaching still stand - making a difference, inspiring children, being creative and helping shape someone's life opportunities and I've been an LEA appointed school governor so I also am quite aware of the bureaucracy that comes with teaching. So this is not a dilemma about teaching per se, but rather about the pros and cons of work-life balance confused

An0therName Fri 07-Oct-11 13:18:58

I know 2 people who have done PGCE also school based at your stage - the PGCE year was very hard work although rewarding
actually working - depends a bit on your head -one friend works full time but her head is great so the odd time to sports day is fitted in, another got a part time role - that works well - both have to work quite a bit in the evenings and weekend - less for the part time worker but love having the holidays

WinduhPAYNE Fri 07-Oct-11 13:27:27

If you are prepared and able to arrange someone else to do the things you do eg attend the harvest festival (grandparents) etc then it can work.

Otherwise as said up thread, it very much depends on the Head teacher. They are a law unto themselves really.

Is the school nearby and in the same LEA as your children?

rachaelmd Fri 07-Oct-11 13:38:52

Thanks - the course is school based but not a GTTP, so the course is run out of a school nearby but the placements can be a bit away. The course tutor has already agreed that, with notice, I will be allowed the odd afternoon off for nativity play and sports day so the training is not the issue, its the long term way of working. I was assuming that it would be difficult to get an initial teacher post if I wanted part-time. I guess the answer is I need to be prepared to miss somethings but if and when I come to applying for schools, to be clear what the head will allow in terms of flexibility. I was prepared for the evening and weekend working, but was rather hoping that there was time after school ended (say from 4.30 - 7.30) and before the girls go to bed that I could be `mum` and then do the paperwork/class prep later in the evening. Is this cloud cuckoo land?

An0therName Sat 08-Oct-11 22:07:04

I would say 4.30 every day might be a bit early - there are I think often meetings after school - and depends on your commute - but think certainly my friends have time to see their kids, do things like take them to brownie etc

missmapp Sat 08-Oct-11 22:13:26

I teach primary and work 4 days a week. i drop my boys at their wonderful cm at 7.30 am and pick them up at 5.45pm. I miss their school things if I am working that day ( I am doing my school harvest festival on mon which is the same day as ds1's harvest festival so I cannot go to his) I will probably miss ds1s xmas show this year as we have a new head who is not flexible!!!! I work most nights, but do leave weekends free ( except sun night, but the kids are in bed) BUT I have school holidays off and enjoy my job. Teaching is hard and no different to other jobs, I think lots of people think you can work the same hours as the school day, and in my experience this isnt realsitic.

partystress Sat 08-Oct-11 22:18:19

I have just finished NQT year in primary, have 2DCs, now 7 and 11. Was big career change and big drop in salary. Its not family friendly in the sense that the hours are long. I reckon average 55-60 per week in term time. At school from 8-5/5.30, an hour at home 3-4 nights during the week, and 8-10 hours at the weekend.

But, it IS predictable, so for me an improvement insofar as I can commit to lift shares to evening things, after school clubs etc. (Before, while I could probably do school pick up twice a week and book time off for plays etc, I sometimes worked away from home and so making regular plans was tricky.)

Holidays? I worked loads last year, but this year even though moving to a new year group I limited it to 4 days over the summer hols and don't plan to do more than 2 in half term. I do love it too. Not an easy job by any means, and very hard to feel you are doing it well, but I have a smile on my face most of the day.

In terms of stress and hours, PGCE was worse than NQT year, so while your DCs are so little, if there were any courses where you could spread over 2 years, I would say that would be a good option. Jobs scarce at the moment in primary - especially if you live somewhere nice. Good luck whatever you decide.

mouldyironingboard Sat 08-Oct-11 22:26:39

My advice would be to plan your change of career when your children are slightly older. I know two women who have gone into teaching after having a family. One waited until their youngest child had started secondary school, another had children in Y3 and Y5.

cat64 Sat 08-Oct-11 22:38:58

Message withdrawn

rachaelmd Sun 09-Oct-11 20:34:22

Thanks everyone for the advice. Much to think about and I know the PGCE year is hard, everyone tells me so, but I've also done an MBA whilst working full-time (pre children though) and managed that when I was working average of 50 - 60 hours a week so hard work in itself isn't the problem, it's the flexibility that I think I'll miss. Starting my career changemuch later isn't an option for me, I'm already pushing 40 and if I want a succesful second career, I don't think I am prepared to wait another 8 or so years. So, guess I need to make my decision with my eyes wide open, no illusions and prepared for a slog! hmm decisons, decisions

Thetallestsunflower Fri 21-Oct-11 20:34:52

I am considering a PGCE in a couple of years -at the moment I am volunteering in the children's school for experience as I don;t have any! What is a school based PGCE?

rosy71 Sat 22-Oct-11 19:46:59

Dp is doing the GTP atm and it is certainly taking up a lot of time! However, I am also a teacher and don't work as much as he does so it obviously gets easier!

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