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Teacher Training - School Direct route - advice please!(9 Posts)
I'm 40 years old, have a degree and am thinking of applying for a School Direct (salaried) place next year. Have arranged some school experience with a lead school and am due to speak to DD's school about observing some lessons there too. I want to go into Primary by the way. I'm just worried about whether I'll make it! I'm so bored in my current job but the money is great and my hours are part-time (and very flexible), plus I work from home. If I get accepted onto School Direct my husband will do school drop off (my daughter is in reception currently) and she'll have to go into after school club until one of us can pick her up - no relatives around to help and husband works till later than after-school club finishes. She's OK with after school club but only goes one night a week so am worried about her adapting although am pretty sure she'd be ok. Am concerned about the hours I'd need to put in both in my school direct and QTS year (assuming of course I get that far!) and just wanted any stories to give me a bit of hope - or to put me off together! I should have done my PGCE after graduating almost 18 years ago but it wasn't to be and I just keep thinking I should give it a go.....my whole family are teachers and it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do.....just seems a huge step to take right now and I don't want my daughter missing out! Thanks in advance x
How much support can your husband give at home? Does he ever travel with work or is he pretty much always available? Do you have any local family or really good friends who can bail you out if necessary?
I did my PGCE 12 years ago when my son was in year 3. It was hard work, but so were each of the following years of teaching. My DH "generously" bought season tickets for his football team so he'd take DS out every other Saturday, giving me space to work and not feel guilty. He still does a lot of washing, cooking, food shopping, cleaning - if he didn't do all that I'd struggle.
You need to be ready for it to be a really hard, hard grind for at least the next 2 - 3 years. If it's what you really want to do, you like what you see when you go on into school to observe and you've got full support at home, then why not go for it? I went into my PGCE having decided I'd rather give teaching a go and fail, then regret never having given it a try. I love my job - there's nothing like it - but don't ever, ever, ever underestimate how hard it will be, how exhausted you will be and how much of your daughter's childhood you will miss.
I did SCITT and a PGCE 4 years ago. Like you, I volunteered in a primary school for a few months before to get experience. I was 38 and my children were 5 and 9 when I began training. My husband works 6 days a week (sometimes 7) In law enforcement, often 18 hour days; in short, I am a married ‘single parent’ due to his job! Even with dropping children at 7.30am and collecting at 6pm I found this to be insufficient hours to cover my workload! I was desperate at times, even driving children back to work after collecting them from after school care, resorting to buying ‘drive thru’ meals for them so I could return to work and continue marking/photocopying and using the computer at work/placement school. I remember writing assignments on Xmas day and having to do all my Xmas shopping literally 2 days before Christmas with my children in tow. The observations seem to be the main basis of whether you get through or not. I had 20 in total and am aware of at least 5 people training through my programme being told they weren’t going to become teachers. They had borrowed £9000 for their training as well as student loans! The assignments were purely to gain a OGCE as well and the journals/QTS evidence were used for both qualifications. My NQT year wasn’t quite so bad, apart from the full OFSTED inspection. I barely saw my children however. I’ve now moved schools and work 4 days a week. My elder child, now at senior school, has to let herself in the house and is alone for at least 3 hours before I get home. Our house is too small for an au pair and we simply can’t afford one. My younger child treasures my one day off as she can ‘lie in’ until 7am and have the occasional friend home. In short, I’ve missed all the school plays, never get time to help my own children and cry with tiredness. On a positive note, I feel exhilarated when children in my class make progress and receive kind words from parents. Salary wise, it is, I feel, underpaid, particularly if childcare costs are involved. A friend of mine has 2 children, one school age, one nursery age and has had to give up teaching as she doesn’t earn enough to cover the costs. My advice is, only go in to teaching if it is your absolute passion. You will feel like a teacher/social worker/young offenders counsellor (if with very challenging pupils)/ parent counsellor and have to gently guide your LSA’s through each week to keep a smooth, productive environment. It is more than a job-it is a vocation. The ‘long’holidays will be shortened by setting up your classroom/writing reports/planning/assessment etc. The training is tough- you are very much a teacher as far as the pupils are concerned and will have far more responsibility than an LSA from day 1-it is a completely different agenda to supporting learning. There will be young ‘career teachers’ wanting to get to deputy head as fast as possible and many who seem to live at school and are consumed by their work. I was once told by a year group leader that the profession had changed, it was no longer a ‘job attracting women/part-time mums’ but a demanding role with pupil data being an absolute obsession. It’s important to take your own opinion to this. I’m trying to give high quality education but balance as much as possible. If necessary, I’ll change schools, do temp contracts etc. Importantly, a PGCE is intellectually stimulating; at times, I was completely immersed in theory and findings, it seems headteachers favour SCITT as it focuses far more on classroom practice first hand. Only a PGCE will qualify you to teach abroad and may prepare you to be more reflective on your practice.
Read this: www.suppertime.co.uk/blogmywiki/2014/07/school-direct/
I am almost halfway through my school Direct PGCE year (secondary) and as a single mum of a 7yo, am in agreement that it is the hardest year of my life. The NQT year will no doubt be even harder. But my son is used to being in wraparound as I have worked full time since he was one (like you, I had a flexible-ish and very well paid job - I will take a 55% pay cut when I start earning next year). However, I love it. Best job ever (I'm 40 too and have had a fair few other jobs over the last 18 years). You need gold plated childcare, a militant approach to organisation and resilience like you probably never imagined. Good luck if you go for it!
I have been vaguely looking into 'Teach Now' which is a new programme for 'career change' aspiring teachers. Might be something for you? The programme takes account of the people on it being older, having all sorts of life experiences, and usually also having family commitments. I gather it's only 4 days/week, giving you that extra breathing space, but still you complete the programme in one year. It also includes training/discussion on specific issues affecting 'career changers' e.g. dealing with having to take instructions from people who are 20 years younger than you, dealing with taking a huge pay cut, and ways in which you can use your experience from your first career to enrich your teaching.
It's still very new (so untested), this programme, and for now only in London, but looking to expand.
Thanks for the honest input - I am so torn right now! I've always wanted to teach but I'm not sure whether I can live with missing out on so much with my daughter - she's my only one and I'm not having any more. I've been incredibly lucky so far to have a well paid, flexible job (work from home) and my hours mean I take her and drop her off. My husband can do the school run and we have a very good after school club where she could go if necessary every night - but it would cost a lot! No family close enough to help out. I think I might go and do a few days in schools to get an idea of the work involved but saying that most of my friends and family are in teaching and I already get an accurate picture from them! Is it really fair on my daughter to miss out on time just because I want to follow a dream which I should have done 20 years ago?? I''m not sure the sacrifice is worth it.
Oh and Brilliotic , I found that link yesterday which is when the doubts really started creeping in!!
I wouldn’t recommend it-education is a miserable place to be at the moment.
I am almost halfway through my school Direct PGCE year (secondary) and as a single mum of a 7yo, am in agreement that it is the hardest year of my life. The NQT year will no doubt be even harder
I actually found the year after my NQT year to be the hardest. NQT release time ended (in the days before PPA), expectations massive, curriculum areas thrown at you etc etc
If I could talk to myself at 21, I would seriously talk myself out of it. However, if it’s what you want to do-good luck. Just do go in with your eyes open. Read the posts on the Staff room forum here about recruitment and retention and why people want to leave.
This is the sort of post to make sure you have read before you decide. I have seen so many students and NQTs over the years in tears saying they wish someone had told them what it would be REALLY like beforehand.