Tell me what's good and bad about being a teacher...(28 Posts)
....and how you go about becoming one. Please.
I've been considering a change in career but would like some opinions on the job as I fear I'm looking through rose tinted specs at the moment! And I would also be interested to hear how you all got into it? I graduated 10 years ago with a third in a useless subject so not sure how I'd go about it?
All advice and opinions gratefully received!
the actual job is great- whatever bad bits there can be really do get lost in all the good (for me, anyway)
the only real downside is when people are negative about teachers, teaching, and our education system- it seems a lot of people hold us beneath contempt. i always think that's weird, they are perfectly happy to give care of their kids to us for 6 hours a day
I was just thinking that I wish I'd started teaching 10 years earlier, then I'd be done by now. It used to be a wonderful job.
Used to be an amazing job. Long hours in term time, but the children made getting up every day worthwhile. It was fantastic watching them grow as people and in their achievements every single day. You could look back on each year knowing you'd made a difference.
Now it doesn't seem like it's all about the children any more. They aren't real people, they're data. There's no time to grow them as people, as members of society, to really get to know them. It's all about ticking boxes.
I taught Year 6 for years - children used to come back to our school fair year after year to tell me how they were doing, what GCSE choices they'd made, what college they were going to. I knew each and every child as individuals and made sure I made a difference to their lives - be it purely academic or social/emotional as well. I tried to encourage children's dreams, to make them believe they could go to college one day if they worked hard even if no-one in their family had ever finished school. I taught children to read and watched the joy of discovery in their eyes. I wrote what needed to be written on their work, and sometimes just wrote 'Excellent' and didn't correct the spellings, so they knew they'd done really well.
Now I couldn't do that. I wouldn't recommend the job as it is now. Once, it was the best job ever!
I have never said that my experience is everybody's , on the contrary the collective wisdom of MN teachers is that you have to be pissed off, over worked and knackered.
You are lucky, Arisbottle. But we've talked about this before and you don't seem prepared to accept that your experience is not everyone else's.
Best bits-having y8 children telling each other they are going to opt for my subject, an email from one of last year's y13s thanking me for getting him through sixth form, the banter, seeing the children 'get' what I've taught them.
Worst bits-having to evidence every single sodding thing you ever do. Having to worry about the children reaching often unrealistic targets based on results they got in core subjects 5 years before.
I don't think I'm broken either .
I forgot another thing - when you read homework and they understood the lesson and even improved on it! Also when they decide to study 'your' subject at university.
Best bits: the children, the children and the children. I'm teaching P1 at the moment and they're starting to read actual words! I did that!
Worst bits: the job never being finished; there's always more to be done. Coming home so knackered you've no patience for your own child, having used it all up on other people's. Never being able to attend events at you own child's school. A constant stream of new initiatives, and the feeling that what you're doing is not enough. The salary is average.
I must be extremely lucky then along with friends who are teachers in other schools.
They chose perfectly wisely. The schools are changing for the worse.
I am not broken , if you choose your school wisely you will not be broken .
Every day is different
Young people are often fascinating and sometimes funny.
It is a job that gets you in the gut, I had an ex student drop in to see me this evening who has just started a levels at a local college. She was quite troubled, lacked confidence and despite being very clever she never believed in herself. She called by to say thanks and to say that I was a main reason that she was now studying . Of course she is the main reason - not me - but what an amazing thing to here .
Great holidays - I don't work in them - so 12 weeks a year in which I get to play out by SAHM fantasies whilst being paid.
Flexibility - once a week I am home
for 4pm - great for family life. I also get to have a relaxing family breakfast once a week and stroll into work at about 8:15 to 30,
Linked with that you can plan the hours around the children. You can also take your work with you. I often mark whilst watching the children at an activity.
I get paid to talk about a subject I find fascinating.
Great pension and decent pay. At secondary level fantastic career progression available .
Pretty much every teacher I know is either at breaking point, nearly at breaking point or broken.
Best bits - homemade card from very reserved child in my class that had a picture of me on the front and a lovely message inside. I suddenly got something in my eye.
Best bits - "Oh, I get it!" from one of the weakest mathematicians.
Best bits - "Can we do more writing this afternoon?", followed by a chorus of 32 pleas to do more writing, pleeeeeeease?
Not-so-good - unhappy parent blaming me for not being psychic, it's all my fault that child has been unhappy (since 2 terms before I even joined the school) and generally shouting at me at 8.45am.
Not-so-good - it's 00:20 on a Friday morning. I'm on here to wind down after planning all of next week's literacy. I'm not sure what maths we're doing today as my colleague is doing the plans day by day.
the best bits are definitely working with young people (I much prefer KS4&5), the 'light bulb' moments, the fact that no two days, two hours, two minutes are the same.
The worst is the ever changing curriculum, paperwork, pressures to gain results that are so far out of reach its ridiculous, and all the other issues we are currently going to be striking about (not the pensions!)
Best things are working with young people -- they can be very funny and I learn things from them every day (today I learnt of the existence of this).
I like working somewhere it is okay -- encouraged even -- to be intelligent and think about stuff.
The holidays are good although I generally spend at least 50% of them working.
The downside is the immense amount of bureaucracy and paperwork, the workload and the politics -- no different to any other public sector occupation though really. Also, the early mornings.
If you really want to teach, there will be a way. There are many routes to train and being able to teach and learn matters more than what a long ago degree was in (you do need to be able to pick up subject information quickly, however).
Best bits are july and August :-)
I love the fact that no two days are the same, you have great conversations with the kids.
Worst bits include regularly staying up very late planning lessons and marking.
Plus gove is an idiot.
Apologies for lack of caps!
Thanks all for your replies, plenty to think about there!
Oh, and I got into my PGCE in Secondary English with a 2:1 in Media Studies...
The best bits are the 'light-bulb' moments, the times when you see one of your pupils just get it, when you read something they've written and you realise they've taken in and understood everything you've said.
The worst bits are the planning and marking...
Well, my degree is in Ancient Greek and I'm hod for English in an ordinary state secondary with no classical subjects so sometimes non-secondary subjects can be okay but you need a correlation with a mainstream subject and you have to train with a specialism.
As far as the third goes, I guess it might depend on why you got it - mitigating circumstances? It might make it difficult, as giraffe says.
Oh, and the marking can be the very devil.
You couldn't do secondary if your degree isn't a taught in school subject. When i did my primary degree i had to have 2 A levels in key primary subjects (English / maths / science etc)
The big kids (I'm secondary) are brilliant. Some of them can be absolute fuckers but even the fuckers are brilliant some of the time. It is very rarely boring. Teachers are great people to work with, largely not po-faced and mostly pretty bright but wearing it lightly, iyswim. I would say that all of the upsides are to do with the people in one way or another.
The downside is that if you are not good at it, especially if you don't accept that you're not good at it, it can eat away at you; every judgement, every criticism, every kid whinging about your lesson, can feel very personal indeed. Fuck up as a teacher and you can feel as if you are a fuck up as a person. How happy you are in your job often depends enormously on your school and its culture but you won't necessarily know that in your first school - hard to tell whether it's you or them if things start to feel wrong. The training year can be hell on wheels. Some people (on here especially) show precious little respect for teachers but I don't encounter this much in real life.
The holidays are great. Don't believe any teacher who tries to downplay the holidays. We deserve them, certainly, but there is no denying they are splendid and that others are right to be jealous.
Apologies - I notice I'm quite fucky tonight. Get yourself into a school and find out what it's really like. Take off the rose-tinted specs but don't let others put you off without trying it.
Ohhhh don't say that giraffe! I was worried my third would be useless! Not in a position to do another degree unfortunately.
Primary I think. I've never really considered secondary though?
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