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Retraining as a teacher with young children

(108 Posts)
Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 09:29:57

Has anyone retrained with young children? I'm looking at a pgce (part or full time) or school direct. A teacher friend advised me to wait until dc are at least in reception class due to workload. This is another 3 years away.

I currently work part time in an unrelated profession and I'm just looking for some ideas. I also volunteer one day per week in a school.

I looked into level 1 TA roles but this would require a huge pay cut and level 3 would mean going to college for a year.

Is retraining realistic with young children?

OP’s posts: |
BetweenTwoLungs Sun 06-Mar-16 09:34:07

It's realistic if you don't mind them being in nursery/childcare 8-6 most days and have someone to care for them at the weekends while you work.

Teaching is just about manageable in the right school in a year group you know well after a couple of years. The first couple of years are really hard and you have to work outside school hours A LOT.

They're only young once. I'd wait.

GinandJag Sun 06-Mar-16 09:38:10

I did did it with a toddler and a baby. I found it easier than working in industry, tbh.

calzone Sun 06-Mar-16 09:38:18

I truly truly don't think it is sensible.

Possible? Maybe.
Manageable? Maybe.
Sensible? No

The workload is Massive and Endless.

Your children are young and will still need you for a while yet.

I have worked in school for 8 years as a TA and would never train as a teacher. The only teacher at school who seems to have cracked it is the woman with a mother who lives with her and who does all the mum stuff for her so she can work. She cooks, cleans, school drop offs and pick ups, washing, ironing, homework......but that isn't why I had children.

Good luck if you do go for it though.

Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 09:48:42

Thanks for the replies. I've read quite a bit on forums tes etc over the years about the options and workload.

What is it specifically that makes the workload so immense?

OP’s posts: |
GinandJag Sun 06-Mar-16 09:54:51

I have also wondered this.

A PGCE student gets a reduce timetable so there is time in school to plan and reflect.

You need to be well organised to keep on top of paperwork, and a good time manager. You also need to be very focused and decisive so that you don't waste time by faffing about.

If you have already worked in a professional environment, you will already have these skills, hopefully.

colander1 Sun 06-Mar-16 10:04:47

It's been years since I did my pgce but I wouldn't recommend it with young children. Wait until they are in school. Otherwise you really will miss so much. I have worked in industry and in teaching, and teaching is by far the most stressful and with the biggest workload. My two are older and I was a sahm until dd2 started school, but even now the work load is ridiculous. You'll never get the time back when they are young. Teaching can wait and it isn't a profession I would recommend at the moment anyway sad

Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 10:13:29

Thanks Gin, my current job involves drafting documents, proof reading and sending to clients, so I'm not a procrastinator. I appreciate that preparation for lessons, marking etc must be time consuming even to the most organised. Are trainee teachers given some sort of existing lesson plan as a guideline?

Did you do school direct or a pgce?

OP’s posts: |
mercifulTehlu Sun 06-Mar-16 10:16:12

Livelifefortoday - it is quite hard to explain to a non-teacher why the job is so unmanageable these days. But I am pretty amazed that anyone who has read any articles, blogs, online chats about being a teacher in the current climate would touch the profession with a bargepole. They must either think that the thousands of teachers are making the problems up, or that they will be able to cope fine because the problems won't faze them.

You do get the occasional person like GinandJag who has worked in industry and finds teaching easier, but they are very unusual cases in my experience. The profession is not haemorrhaging teachers for no reason. The huge stress and misery that many (or perhaps even most) teachers are experiencing at work at the moment are not caused by a lack of professional skills and an propensity for faffing about.

I am resisting going into a rant about why being a teacher is shit, because quite frankly I have spent enough emotional energy ranting about that to last a lifetime. I'm sure there are vast swathes of ranting across the internet which could enlighten you about the details.

If none of the current comments in the press and on other media are enough to put you off OP, then the best of luck to you and I hope it works out. Nobody can deny that the profession needs more people.

mudandmayhem01 Sun 06-Mar-16 10:19:56

Depends on your family set up does your partner/ spouse work long hours ( assuming you have a partner) will they step up to do more childcare, housework etc. This a whole family decision, if it benefits you all in the long run it could be worth it

Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 10:21:34

Thanks Colander, hopefully things will improve in time. It is surprising that teaching doesn't seem to be a family friendly career and that there aren't many part time options.

OP’s posts: |
Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 10:30:12

Thanks merciful for your honest response! I think non teachers like me who have had a career already and are disillusioned by it do look to teaching as a professional that provides satisfaction. I have dealt with huge stress, long hours, office politics etc and although I found it very difficult in my 20's, I look at things much differently in my 30's.

But that said, you're right, there is reason why the professional is hemorrhaging good teachers and hopefully this will change in time.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Sun 06-Mar-16 10:49:48

Training as a teacher at the moment would be like running into a burning building while everyone else is running out and thinking 'well they probably just aren't good at dealing with a bit of heat'.

I'm not hopeful that anything will change any time soon, the government is in denial about the issue and there are still hugely disruptive changes in the pipeline yet to come.

KohINoorPencil Sun 06-Mar-16 11:03:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mercifulTehlu Sun 06-Mar-16 11:09:23

It is still family-friendly in some ways - i.e. in theory the actual teaching hours allowing you to pick your kids up (assuming you can get away at 3:30 every day and do the rest of your work later after your kids are in bed) except when you have after school meetings, training sessions or parents' evenings of course.

The holidays are an undeniable perk, especially for those of us whose partners are also in teaching and get to have all the holidays together as a family.

I think one thing to point out though is that the idea of teaching being a hard job but worth the slog because it is so satisfying was once true. Unfortunately it has not only got (immeasurably) harder, but also considerably less satisfying. That is certainly my experience when I compare the job as it was 20 years ago with how it is now.

Difficult behaviour, piles of marking and planning - those are always going to be what the job entails. But decades of government interference in the day-to-day function of schools have steadily eroded teachers' ability to actually do what the job ought to be. This has a direct and massive effect on how satisfying the job can be.

If your teaching ability is constantly restricted and hampered by unnecessary and counter-productive policies and your time taken up by innumerable, pointless and unrealistic data-crunching and target-setting exercises and it is assumed that you are essentially lazy and incompetent until (repeatedly and time-consumingly) proven otherwise, then you tend not to be in a good position to give your enthusiastic all to your pupils.

It is hard to convey how depressing, frustrating and exhausting this is to someone who has not been a teacher in the last 20 years. People who have only experienced school as a pupil or a parent simply (and understandably) don't have any concept of what goes on behind the scenes. School seems like it should be a simple enough thing - prepare lessons, teach kids, mark work. But schools are businesses these days. And unfortunately they are run accordingly.

So much for me resisting the rant...

mercifulTehlu Sun 06-Mar-16 11:11:02

Ignore my rambling. Just read noblegiraffe's first paragraph - sums it up nicely grin.

Sparklycat Sun 06-Mar-16 11:11:50

* I have dealt with huge stress, long hours, office politics etc and although I found it very difficult in my 20's, I look at things much differently in my 30's*

What you've said up there is describing teaching perfectly, it won't be any different. In my view the office politics/bitchiness is much much worse in teaching than in other places I've worked and many many of my teacher friends in different schools agree. It's sometimes like being around kids all day rubs off on the 'adults' hmm I also don't need to mention the huge stress or incredibly long hours. If you're going into teaching looking for something g different to the above you'll be disappointed sorry!

wtffgs Sun 06-Mar-16 11:16:30


wtffgs Sun 06-Mar-16 11:27:06

Sorry - distracted by mithering DCs! That should've read. "No, for the love of God, don't do it!"

The hours are stupid, the stress levels are ridiculous and none of it is good enough anyway. It's a shame because the actual teaching is great. sad

There is a reason for the recruitment and retention crisis in education.

IHeartKingThistle Sun 06-Mar-16 11:31:41

Yep, what giraffe said.

rollonthesummer Sun 06-Mar-16 11:33:05

I wouldn't recommend teaching to anyone at the moment. It's a miserable place to be. Insane workload, constant pressure (you are only ever as good as your last observation) -if you had a duff one, they'll be back bringing paperwork, clipboards and support plans which will be used to manage you out. Progression up the pay scale is now difficult-it's not automatic so if you don't reach the arbitrary levels set for your class, you'll find yourself stuck on M2 for a long time. Pay portability no longer exists so if you move schools- unless you're a secondary maths teacher-you run the risk of being put back down the scale.

Triple marking-I won't waste my breath talking about it, but it takes bloody ages.

Assessment for every subject every half term-using random new levels that no one understands.

Learning objectives, success criteria, constant changing goal posts.

Older teachers are becoming a thing of the past -if you're much over 45, you're considered a dinosaur and are treated with derision in many primaries round here. They want young, cheap and flexible-fine if they only stay 2/3 years, then they can be replaced by another. Experience is not of value. Very worrying when your retirement age is 67 and there are NO teachers even over 50 to be seen as they've all quit in despair, gone on ill health orbeen capabilitied out. Who is going to employ all these (expensive) teachers their 60s?!

I did my PGCE 20 years ago, back in the halcyon days (!!) and it was bloody tough then. Luckily my husband (then boyfriend) did all of the cooking and housework because I didn't have the time. The NQT year was harder as your class was all your own responsibility, but sadly, the year AFTER the NQT year was probably even harder as you lost all the nqt time out and then had subject responsibility thrown at you.

I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole, OP. People are leaving left right and centre for a reason.

If you still want to do it after all that, then good luck!

jellyfrizz Sun 06-Mar-16 11:49:04

If you really want to do, do it now as nurseries have longer opening hours than schools so child care will be less of an issue.

Like many others though I couldn't recommend teaching in England as either family friendly or providing satisfaction, most of the nonsense that you have to spend all your time outside school doing has no benefit to the children. It just makes you angry as it is so pointless and inefficient. Don't worry about procrastinating, you won't have time for that!

Livelifefortoday Sun 06-Mar-16 12:11:26

Thank you for your replies, you all come across as lovely people, and great teachers. It's so sad and discouraging that government interference etc has caused such despondency in the teaching profession.

I hope I didn't come across as condescending. To hear the reality so blatantly is an eye opener. Of course, I'd heard it before, but always thought I could deal with it. Maybe the way forward would be to work with children in a less formal context.

If it's any consolation, parents like me and my friends think that the work teachers do is amazing and we all appreciate your hard work.

OP’s posts: |
jellyfrizz Sun 06-Mar-16 14:08:02

livelifefortoday, in answer to your question I did my PGCE with a 3 year old and a baby. It wasn't easy but it was doable. I was also working as a TA at the same time. I did have help with looking after the children though.

I don't regret having done my PGCE, I've worked with so many lovely children, parents and colleagues and worked overseas for a number of years, which was brilliant. It really makes me sad and angry that things have got so bad for teachers in England.

GinandJag Sun 06-Mar-16 15:30:30

Life, I did a PGCE at a university about 50 minutes from home, and similarly distant school placements, compared with a 5 minute work commute.

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