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need advice about returning to teaching

(26 Posts)
barbie007 Fri 05-Jul-13 19:33:35

Hi, I worked as a primary school teacher but left when our first dd was born. It is now 12 years later and I'm thinking about returning to teaching. Obviously no one is going to employ me as I have been out of a classroom for so long. So, my question is: should I go on a return to teaching course or should I try to get a job as a classroom assistant for a year or so and then start applying for teaching jobs? What would look more attractive to potential employers? Thanks

Faerieinatoadstool Fri 05-Jul-13 19:53:54

I'm in

Faerieinatoadstool Fri 05-Jul-13 19:58:09

Sorry. I'm in a similar position but not as long away but I'm only an nqt. I was thinking of doing lsa work just to get me back into the swing

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 20:09:54

If there is a return to teaching course I would do it.
I did one, it was one day a week and then I went into my DSs school to practise. It caught me up on the changes, gave me confidence and I met others in the same position.
I then did supply work to get back in.

Redlocks30 Fri 05-Jul-13 20:09:59

After the year I've had, my advice would be, 'don't do it!'

If you are determined though-ring a few local schools and ask if you can volunteer as you're thinking of returning. My aunt has done this; it surprised me as she had to have an interview even for unpaid volunteering! Then you can get stuck in, speak to some current teachers and see what you think.

I have to say that I trained 14 years ago and have been part time since having DC and the job is virtually unrecognisable from when I started, honestly things are so different. What is considered 'good practice' has changed a lot.

Also, read up on any changes you might have missed--the new curriculum changes, phonic methods/screening, APP, AFL, mini plenaries, taking partners, working walls, coloured marking, peer assessment, success criteria etc etc!!

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 20:32:58

I agree- the job is nothing like it was! I agree that volunteering is a good way to start- I did that and then took Head's advice on the course and she was very helpful.

SweepTheHalls Fri 05-Jul-13 20:38:03

We have people come on and do work experience type placements with us for a couple of days a week for a half term, to get their hands back in. Works well.

sheridand Sat 06-Jul-13 08:16:25

I had 6 years out raising kids, i'm working my way back in, slowly, as my kids are still little. I volunteered as a reading partner initially, then became a TA. Now i've just won a position as a HLTA, so i'll get classroom management experience again. It's a nice happy medium for me at the moment and i'm able to learn and relearn while I go.

MiaowTheCat Sat 06-Jul-13 08:55:36

Our local schools are bloody FULL and not taking volunteers! Seriously! I looked into doing that along with supply to rebuild my references since all of my referees had retired - couldn't get in anywhere.

barbie007 Sat 06-Jul-13 10:21:10

Thanks for all. Some of you have me worried...has it all really changed that much?? I qualified in 1994 and taught for 7 years before giving up as we moved/had babies. I'm thinking now that maybe a better way in is to volunteer and do a course rather than getting a job as a TA. Come to think of it, white boards didn't even exist when I left...

TwasBrillig Sat 06-Jul-13 10:23:19

I was thinking of supply. I'm secondary though but had 6 years out. I'm aware its changed and I need a quick lesson an an interactive white board...

barbie007 Sat 06-Jul-13 10:23:22

APP? AFL? lots of reading for me!

Picturepuncture Sat 06-Jul-13 10:28:24

It has changed. A lot.

I would volunteer initially and see how it goes.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Jul-13 11:12:41

You may find it difficult to get supply if you have been out for a long time - and if you did you would struggle if you don't understand things Redlocks mentions. Secondary supply is very difficult to get - cover supervisors are used as they are cheaper.

TwasBrillig Sat 06-Jul-13 11:18:40

I often get emails from supply agencies around here looking for teachers so had assumed that side of things was still alive and well if you weren't relying on constant full time, just looking for experience. We do have some more 'interesting' schools within driving distance so that may affect demand!

Inclusionist Sat 06-Jul-13 11:24:54

I have been teaching 11 years (well, I don't teach any more dreaded SLT ) and yes the job is unrecognisable.

I'm not entirely convinced for the better either. They probably are making standards more uniform, but I would say they joy has gone out of it a bit.

I am sending DS to an independent school where I hope his teachers will be allowed to have lessons when DS just consolidates his learning. Even the odd day when they plan in an easy day just for their own sanity. Perhaps even just do things because they are fun... I think DS will learn more from a teacher who in not on their knees the whole time.

TwasBrillig Sat 06-Jul-13 12:11:43

I never ever thought I'd say it, but I'd love to be able to send my children independent. Having said that my daughter is starting at a good school and her teacher seems lovely and motivated.

exoticfruits Sat 06-Jul-13 14:41:09

Supply agencies need people on their books. I never used one, I can't see the point and dealt with schools direct.

sheridand Sat 06-Jul-13 17:58:19

Depends on where you are. Round my way, county wide, you can't just get on a schools LEA / supply list, or deal direct with schools, as county wide they use EPM.

And for me, it didn't work, as it was often less than 12 hours notice, and I couldn't sort childcare, so working as a Ta or cover supervisor has proven a useful way back in. Although I know I am pretty much universally reviled for doing this by some more radical teachers. I see their point, but beggars can't be choosers, and it's worked well for me.

barbie007 Sat 06-Jul-13 18:06:06

sheridand, why were you reviled?

I am seriously considering becoming a TA. There are some part time ones advertised that would really suit me and next year I would be ready for supply work or even a teaching post. What worries me is getting a years contract as a TA and then applying for posts only to realise that headteachers would expect a return to teaching course. I'd rather do either TA work or a return course, but I don't fancy both. I've worked out that the nearest return to teaching course would end up costing me over £1000 once factored in travelling expenses and childcare. Better off financially doing TA work.

TwasBrillig Sat 06-Jul-13 20:22:44

I tried to get a TA post a while ago. I think they like to look for someone who will stay long term and there is a lot of competition with the school mums here. Its a tricky one isn't it. I'm looking at other careers as well but will see what comes up.

sheridand Sun 07-Jul-13 09:01:03

I think initially a lot of teacher friends felt that I was "downgrading", and also there's a lot of bad feeling that HLTA's are now able to take cover lessons, so depriving supply teachers of income. It's seen by some as "scab" work. That said, I know plenty of teacher mums who have use dit as a route back to tecahing. My school have made it clear that they're happy for me to take advantage of training, INSEt etc, and I made it clear at interview that that was my plan. In the meantime they have a QTS as a TA, and (hopefully!) good quality cover at a price that they can afford!

TA pay is awful, so be prepared for that..... For me it wasn't an issue as something was better than the nothing I was earning before.

As for Returnt ot Teaching courses, I rang up all the Teaching hotlines and so on, and most LEAs no longer run them. I was told, "Once QTS, always QTS" and to find voluntary or part-time work first. Things have changed, so the TA post is perfect for finding out what's what. Since starting, i've been sent on First Aid, safeguarding, and subject training, so it's proven very useful. Safeguarding in particular has changed.

MiaowTheCat Mon 08-Jul-13 09:29:25

Supply teaching is dead. I did it for years, loved it (I liked the sheer variety of what you ended up covering in a given week), was great at it (when you're greeted by the class TA going "oooh thank god it's you - someone who knows what they're doing!" on a morning) and was the regular go-to supply for a load of different schools.

The bookings just aren't there - and as a consequence the agencies are getting up to worse and worse antics - it hit the point where the phonecalls I was getting were "would you work at X... oh but it's only going to be paid for half a day as we're offering them a buy one get one free deal" or "would you do three days' free trial at X school" - by the time you factored in CRBs that you always seem to be getting stung for, petrol and car running costs - you'd be paying a small fortune to work for nothing.

Was never going to be economically viable to pay for childcare to cover doing supply when the kids came along.

barbie007 Mon 08-Jul-13 09:58:26

Thanks, it's beginning to be a bit clearer. This TA post I like is only for a year so I might stand a better chance of getting it as they won't be looking for someone who will want a long term job. I get what you mean! The pay is awful but I'm just looking as a way of getting back into it, so as you say, something is better than nothing. Maybe a tiny part of me thinks.....hmmm....4 year degree, PGCE and I'll be getting paid that???? I don't know, I always enjoyed teaching and thought it was a very family friendly career choice but it just doesn't look like that any more

sheridand Mon 08-Jul-13 18:37:53

Agreed about supply. Years back I did it for a while between jobs in London and it was great. Now I live rurally, and each job is a big commute that needs a car, so that's an expense. Plus the short notice just wouldn't work for me regarding childcare, as i've no family to help out last minute. Once i've factored in the fact that I walk to work, so don't need a car, and drop off and pick up the kids myself, so don't need childcare, the wage as a TA becomes ok. I do intend to get back to teaching though, as things like pensions and so on are so much better. But it wouldn't bother me to be a TA for years until my kids are older and able to cope with a working mum who spends all her daylight hours marking and planning ( they're 5 and 6).

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