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If you are a secondary science or maths teacher

(20 Posts)
CookieDoughKid Fri 29-Apr-16 20:51:05

Is your job incompatible with being a mum of 2 young dcs? Ive just applied to a local (outstanding ofsted inspected 2015) secondary school to volunteer and assist the Maths teacher and they were very receptive to talking to me. It all seems doom and gloom on mumsnet but surely in a well led and academic school there must be some upsides? I feel too much of a waste of brain (for society) being at home. I love being a SAHP and will continue to do so for a bit longer but think I'm only 40. I don't have enough for a pension and need to do something now or at least edge into something meaningful when my dcs become more independent. My DCs are 6 and 8.

I have a STEM background and thinking of teaching Maths but only have A level maths grade B, and a 2:2 in Chemistry . 18 years working in software and business.

Any thoughts? Any positivity to encourage a newbie entrant?

Stargazing25 Sat 30-Apr-16 08:49:28

I think it is definitely possible but ONLY in the right school. You just need to be picky! An outstanding school doesn't necessarily have an understanding SMT.

I work in a great school. I have a 0.8 contract over five days so that I can collect my kids from school. Kids are fab and the head is amazing. However, even there the PGCE students are cracking up with the demands.

You need to make sure you have excellent childcare sorted and a support network around you. Be prepared to be working into the evenings and most of the weekend. Are you able to commit to that?

CookieDoughKid Sat 30-Apr-16 10:48:42

Thanks Stargazing . I thought stem subjects are in shortage but I see quite a few jobs vacancies at secondary level for learning support assistants and stem teachers requiring a 2:1 degree minimum. Are we really not a in a crisis anymore or are these schools being really picky?

Haggisfish Sat 30-Apr-16 10:52:29

Only because my mum essentially runs my life and looks after my children between 8am-6pm four days a week. We are in a crisis but there's no point recruiting shit teachers that you will spend time and money training, only for you to have to get rid of them. Some schools can be picky as they have a reputation for being a good school and so can be more selective.

Haggisfish Sat 30-Apr-16 10:53:52

Can I ask why you are choosing maths and not chemistry? Methods of teaching maths and the academic rigour required now are far higher than previously. Have you looked at the syllabuses to check you know it well enough to teach?

Haggisfish Sat 30-Apr-16 10:54:42

Final thought! I love teaching but it is incredibly hard and I work in a good, well led and well managed school.

CookieDoughKid Sat 30-Apr-16 11:08:44

I only got a C grade at A level for Chemistry and I think my 2:2 Chemistry degree was a reflection of my natural ability. Maths was alays stronger. Chemistry at degree level was really really hard . I'm not kidding. But then I did not have a good upbringing and the school i went to, well it was probably bottom of the league table. The school closed down. And I was only 2 out of a 100 kids that got more than 5 GCSES. I digress, I feel I could have done better had I had the right support. I think having a 2:1 isn't everything. Im pretty tough as a result and had a stellar career. It's just exasperating as I feel I don't have a good chance if the schools would only consider 2:1s and above......

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Apr-16 11:28:36

A degree in chemistry won't get you onto a maths PGCE, if that's the route you are thinking of and schools-based training might be a bit dubious.

You should consider doing a subject knowledge enhancement course to get your maths skills up to scratch.

As for whether teaching is compatible with young kids, having the holidays off with them is great, but being a grumpy tired stressball working evenings and weekends in term times is awful, and I'm part time.

LilaTheTiger Sat 30-Apr-16 11:31:59


DP teaches science at a nice prep. He works 60+ hours a week. We don't see as much of him in term time as we'd like, and he has no time to do anything but prep, teach, mark.

But the holidays are great.

SpoonfulOfJam Sat 30-Apr-16 11:45:39

I am on mat leave with ds2. I've always been a full time maths teacher. Ds1 spent 50 hours a week in nursery. I barely saw him in the week- both exhausted. Tried to prioritise him at the weekend. Always behind with work. Never up to date with marking, lesson planning rushed. I was doing too much and all of it very badly.

I'm fed up if it. My children need to come first. I'm asking if I can reduce to 3 days a week and pick boys up from nursery before 5 pm on work days.

I will have to work at the weekend, at least 8 hours for this to work. But I'm going to give it a try.

We seem to hire a lot of cover teachers at the moment- maths teachers doing long term cover, so without all the responsibility of the classroom teacher. I figure that even at half strength, I will still be better than what a lot of our kids are having to put up with.

We are an outstanding academy by the way.

CookieDoughKid Sat 30-Apr-16 13:26:42

Doon Sounds awful. I'm really sorry to hear that. I may look at other careers too but it seems teaching just isn't an attractive option full time.

Stargazing25 Sat 30-Apr-16 13:57:23

Yes, we are in a recruitment crisis! My school has had real trouble trying to find a physics teacher - it is a well know excellent school. We have a physics PGCE student in our department at the moment. They applied for the job and didn't get it.

Like Haggis said, there's no point employing crappy teachers who will give up half way through the year!

NotQuiteThere Sun 01-May-16 15:39:03

See Stargazing, your comment has disheartened me! I am trying to find a job as a maths teacher because my contract comes to an end this summer.

I think I'm a good teacher, and my class results would back that up. My NQT assessment reports are very good, as are my lesson observations. The schools I'm applying for are excellent, popular schools. I've had 3 rejections so far and starting to think about other possibilities come September, but I'll be sad if I couldn't make it work. I don't think I'm crappy, but perhaps others do and they're not saying so!

OP, I'm not sure that teaching is compatible with having a young family. I am working most evenings and weekends. My dh takes the dc out at least one full day on the weekend to allow me to keep on top of the work. I feel pretty crappy about that. I have expensive and reliable childcare, and parents who can usually step in if I need them to. I am low at the moment, and asking myself what on earth I am doing with my life.

The holidays with dc are amazing, though. So relaxed. I love spending that time with them.

GinandJag Sun 01-May-16 17:12:41

I am a science teacher who switched schools last year. Consequently, my CV was in the system. I have been absolutely inundated with job opportunities. Even with a permanent job, I still get 10+ calls a day.

I wouldn't be overly worried about your degree classification. Most schools don't really care. Personality and passion for your subject is far more important.

I would say that if you want to teach in the maintained sector, you need to be comfortable with all three strands to GCSE.

You need to actively want to teach, rather than looking at what you can do with your degree - although at least voice this in a covering letter or interview.

I haven't had a problem teaching with you DCs. It's important to have robust childcare systems and/or a flexible DH, and be willing to dose up borderline DCs with Calpol. My DH has been the go-to parent for dealing with sickness and it has always worked out for us, despite 5 DCs and a huge travel commitment.

Haggisfish Sun 01-May-16 18:42:03

Notquitethere-you should have had some feedback? I'm surprised you haven't got anything yet!

PrincessHairyMclary Sun 01-May-16 19:20:45

I suggest looking for a job as a TA you'll be able to use your experience in maths, IT and science and get to see how a modern classroom is run. Very different from how it was when I went to the school I work in just 15 years ago.

We get the holidays off and leave at the end of the day not having to do anything else. We do not have to take part in parents evenings and just do a twilight training session every 1/2 term and a dept meeting once a month. I'm normally home by 3.30 or 4:30 on a twilight/meeting evening. Once you are in a school you could be used as a cover supervisor or instructor to get some experience teaching and seeing if it's for you before embarking on the training, your school might then sponsor you for your placement. Pay is not great at just over £10000 a year BUT if you add up the extra hours a teacher puts in outside of school the hourly rate works out about the same if not better.

NotQuiteThere Sun 01-May-16 20:43:10

Hi Haggisfish,
First interview feedback was very positive about the lesson, with some good tips about interview technique. They ended up re-advertising, not sure if an appointment was made. Second application did not go to interview, no feedback. Latest interview, feedback was very sparse. I think they didn't like my style of teaching, as I received one line of negative feedback about the lesson (all of the students were able to carry out the required skill by the end of the lesson, so I thought it went quite well!). My interview technique still needs work, which I agree with. The nerves get the better of me at interview, I need to learn to conquer them.

NotQuiteThere Sun 01-May-16 22:04:30

(Sorry for hijacking your thread, CookieDoughKid).

Stargazing25 Sun 01-May-16 23:03:51

Oh no! NotQuiteThere I didn't mean to upset youflowers I'm sure that you are a perfectly wonderful teacher. You have got good results and NQT reports.

I'm awful at interviews. Maybe that's the problem?

Don't give up! The notice period hasn't come to an end yet. There will still be people resigning. You will be at an advantage then.

NotQuiteThere Sun 01-May-16 23:31:56

No worries Stargazing smile. I need a kick up the backside anyway! My imposter syndrome has been in overdrive recently, just need to get a handle on it.

I love where I am currently teaching, and I think that most of my students like being taught by me. Had lots of positive comments and thanks from colleagues and parents too.

It isn't the end of the world if I don't get a job by September. I could spend more time with my dc!

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