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Returning to teaching after 7yr break... worried

(43 Posts)
Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 19:18:19

I taught for 7 years before leaving to have my children and would have described myself as a good teacher (motivated, interested, caring and at times inspiring with the wind behind me), but after so long a break I am petrified about going back. I feel like I have lost all of my confidence and ambition.

On top of that is the concern that I have pretty much failed to keep abreast of the changes in education since leaving and am daunted by how to even catch up with what's going on. Can anyone recommend the best way to do this?

And how do you get your self-confidence back after so big a break? Oh, I teach Secondary.

MothratheMighty Mon 03-Feb-14 19:35:04

Short-term supply.
That way you are using someone else's planning and get to see how the school dept functions. Or a job share so you can get up to speed with support, and be able to attend the training, INSET and SM/Dept meetings.

rollonthesummer Mon 03-Feb-14 19:41:40

Just don't (sorry)!

MothratheMighty Mon 03-Feb-14 19:44:52

grin
Well
Yes
I wonder where Arisbottle is, she's usually really positive and dynamic on stuff like this.

phlebasconsidered Mon 03-Feb-14 21:20:21

I did it after 7 years! I completed a year of supply and HLTA work to get myself in the flow again, and i'm just about to take over a Year 5 class next week (eek!) I'm bricking it, frankly, but I've got to do it to see if I can still do it, IYSWIM. I have a good after school club, but I know i'll end up taking work home, am already, in fact, trying to get up to speed with the classes levels and so on. I've just spent the evening planning symmetry lessons.

Not only that, but I swapped from Secondary to Primary, so the change was massive. I think of it as being an NQT year, again. Oh joy!

longtallsally2 Mon 03-Feb-14 22:16:50

I went back into secondary after 15 years out!! Didn't mean to go back, but went for an interview as a cover supervisor and love it. Being in the classroom was a real duck to water experience for me. Taught a lesson during the interview and it was as if I'd popped out to get a cup of tea, rather than been away, had an alternative career found a husband, and had two kids!!

When are you going back? Got any teacher friends? Get yourself into your local secondary as a volunteer, and observe lessons/pick the brains of someone who has been at it for the last few years. They should love having an extra pair of eyes/hands in the classroom, and you can observe what has changed and what (the vast majority of stuff - ie the kids) is just as you left it

DrNick Mon 03-Feb-14 22:17:53

i did short term contracts and supply

loved it

Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 22:17:54

rollon have you had a bad experience going back? The workload is a massive part of my concern because I teach English and I'm getting really worried about losing my evenings and weekends and my home life suffering.

But then the benefits of the holidays are great when you have school age kids. I feel so conflicted.

Phineyj Mon 03-Feb-14 22:21:13

How about a bit of private tutoring to get back up to speed with syllabuses? I found it really helpful when I was thinking of changing career into teaching, and this is the prime time of year for it.

LizzieVereker Mon 03-Feb-14 22:23:12

As a fellow English teacher I can see why workload worries you. Definitely devise and stick to a marking timetable so that you don't drown. And I will happily send you any of my millions of Powerpoints/ SoW/LPs if that would save you any planning time?

Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 22:26:50

That's a possibility Phineyj. I have been a GCSE marker for the last two years, but that only gives me limited access to one syllabus.

Are my concerns rational? Is it possible to re-enter teaching and not suffer a nervous breakdown before the year is out?

Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 22:28:59

Wow Lizzie, that's extremely generous! Thank you. I'm jumping the gun a bit anyway because my youngest doesn't start school until September and there's every chance that I won't just be able to walk back into a job when I want to.

IHeartKingThistle Mon 03-Feb-14 22:34:00

Recently ex English teacher here (if that makes sense!). I don't know what advice to give you but yes, teaching has changed a LOT in the last 7 years, and yes you will lose your evenings and weekends. I've just come out though so I'm probably not going to give you the viewpoint you want!

rollonthesummer Mon 03-Feb-14 22:35:49

Unfortunately, I never left ;)

I have been teaching for 15 years but have jobshared since having my first child. I hate it-just hate it and it's really starting to get me down; I bore myself with how miserable I am about it! The only saving grace is that I am part time; I'm not sure I could get up in the mornings if I wasn't.

It's when I talk to people-friends I trained with/my SIL-who left when they had children and didn't go back, about what it's like now, that I realise how much it has changed. It was hard work when I first started, there's no denying that, but the paperwork has probably tripled and none of it is for the good of the children or make the lessons better, it's just time-consuming.

The things that I don't think existed when I started teaching, that I think have no impact, or indeed a negative impact, are things like

Performance related pay-your targets are arbitrarily set by SMT with no input from you. If you don't meet them, you pay/threshold etc is affected.

Learning objectives (which have to be written in the right colour otherwise nobody will ever learn anything.)

Success Criterias-??!

Peer/self assessment. I am fine with this, but don't want to have to do it in every lesson and have to prove I do it on every page of their books. I teach Y1-sometimes a thumbs up is more than enough for me.

Marking in set colours (again, God forbid if you pick the wrong shade)

Mini plenaries (note the plural. 3 part lessons are soooo last century)

Talk partners

Intervention groups for anyone working below the expected level. Differentiation just doesn't cut it anymore.

Lesson observations by several members of SMT at once/visiting headteachers/tramps from the street. If you aren't Good or Outstanding, they return in 2 weeks until you pull your socks up or your name is put on a special list.

No whole class teaching-this is BAD. You have to plan and teach different lessons for each group simultaneously to fully meet their needs. If Johnny is gazing out of the window or scratching his bum-it's because you're boring him.

Lolly sticks-hands up are a big no-no.

Don't keep them on the carpet for longer than 8 minutes. This is BAD, too. Except when you send them off after 8 minutes and they don't understand the task. Then you are BAD.

Erm, have I forgotten anything. I'd like to work in an ice-cream shop. I like ice cream...

This is slightly tongue in cheek obviously, but only slightly!

DrNick Mon 03-Feb-14 22:37:11

Plenaries are totally out now at ours.

Stopmithering Mon 03-Feb-14 22:38:28

A friend of mine has just returned to teaching after an 8 -9 year break having children. She came and observed me for a day, I talked to her about accelerated learning cycles, collaborative learning, Kagan structures blah blah blah. She applied for a job and got it.
If it's what you want to do, you'll pick it back up quickly. You did it for 7 years!
(Having said all that, I would have a break from teaching right now in a heartbeat, if I could. It could just be me, but I have never worked so hard on just lesson planning as I do now. And behaviour is draining. And , and, and ...)

LizzieVereker Mon 03-Feb-14 22:41:11

Sorry, I misunderstood and thought you had just returned to the fold! Offers still open when you do though-good luck!

IHeartKingThistle Mon 03-Feb-14 22:41:41

I knew the end had come for me when we were told at a staff meeting 'Under no circumstances should you let an inspector catch you talking to your class.'

Sorry, but occasionally I used to quite like to teach them something. hmm

Stopmithering Mon 03-Feb-14 22:41:55

I feel your pain, rollonthesummer

DrNick Mon 03-Feb-14 22:42:36

Yup. Teaching out of fashion. You throw resources at them. They FOFO

Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 22:52:36

I don't recognise what you've just described. Wtf.

Glittermud Mon 03-Feb-14 22:57:55

Now I'm wondering whether I should actually go back at all. I was never a fan of paperwork back in the day so you've just described a special circle of Hell to me.

But then - the pay! - the holidays!

IHeartKingThistle Mon 03-Feb-14 23:03:11

Would you go back full-time? You will have to factor in before and after school childcare costs.

DrNick Mon 03-Feb-14 23:05:46

Thd fun. Young people. Best job ever.

Stopmithering Mon 03-Feb-14 23:07:02

I worked in the same school for 20 years.
It's always been a go-getter type of school so staff are well-used to working under pressure.
In the last year or two, though, it's gone mad.
Schools are obsessed by Ofsted success.
What rollon says about having to be good or outstanding, otherwise you get put on the naughty list, is true.
And if it were just a naughty list, that would be bearable.
But it's not.
It's possibly weeks of extra observations, providing evidence of everything you do in every lesson, reasons for every move you make .....
Staff in our place are on their knees.
I was told off by our head for saying "no" in the wrong way to a child.
And told off because a lazy fecker of a kid was working at level 4C when his target for the end of the year was 4A. It was December. I thought I'd worked bloody miracles but clearly I know nothing.
Bitter, me? Well, yes, sadly.
Anyway, good luck, OP!
(I'm hesitating about posting this - don't want to be a complete misery. Hopefully others will be more positive)

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