Primary PGCE - job prospects?(17 Posts)
Right, so I'm a bit confused at the moment and I'm looking for advice please.
Youngest dc has just started full time so I thought now I had the freedom to pursue teaching. It's something I have always been interested in but just couldn't commit to it. But there are a few things making me doubt how I'll manage.
I have 2 dc in primary, is childcare going to be a big problem? The school they are at doesn't seem to have great options, before school club starts at 8am and after school club goes on til 4.30pm.
What kind of hours can I expect to put in?
My husband is just about to start a job 1 hour and 15 minutes away so he won't be able to do much in terms of drop off and pick up.
I'm not sure if there is a shortage of jobs for primary teachers? I'd rather not have to struggle to find work after all that effort
Personally I get into school around 8 if not before. I rarely get away before 5, it's generally closer to 6.
I don't think that 4.30 after school club is going to be much help at all given that a couple of days a week you are bound to have some kind of meeting.
If you do get away in time to pick up at 4.30 then you will have a lot of work to do at home.
Shortage of jobs depends entirely on your location. I got my first job in Essex, and I had my choice of jobs - I was the only applicant for the school I eventually went too (which I loved) and turned down another job. Now living in the North West and there are about 100 applicants for each job. If you want Part-time, or a reasonable commute… no chance.
With the other part, again it depends on location. One of the reasons I'm not currently teaching as breakfast club opens at 8am, and most primary teachers are in by then. A 4.30 pick up everyday would be virtually impossible. If you live in an area like Essex, you might be able to manage it.
As for hours… a good week was 55-60 hours. At certain times of the year, it was more like 70. And it's got a lot worse since then. I read someone describe those considering going into teaching at the moment as like running into a burning building saying those running out can't handle a bit of smoke. Having said that, I don't regret doing a PGCE as it's given me a lot more options.
Thank you both for your replies.
chocoholic1234 that burning building analogy made me and simultaneously!
Yes I was quite surprised that the after school club only went on until 4.30pm. I don't think there are many families here where both parents work or if they do they have fairly flexible jobs.
Unfortunately there aren't many childminders close by either.
I've just got to find a way around it I guess.
I'm in the West Midlands by the way, speaking to a NQT, there doesn't seem to be a shortage here...
May I ask chocoholic1234 what options were open to you after doing the pgce?
We're really struggling to recruit this year - seems to be a shortage round here. I think teaching is a great job with a family - though you will have to get a bit creative with finding time to work and with childcare as it isn't flexible at all.
The teachers at my daughters school bring their primary aged kids into their classrooms or let them play in the hall before / after school. When the before / after school club was in the same building they used to drift into that too.
The option to move to Essex to teach, to teach abroad if I wanted to, tutoring, teaching EFL. Currently I'm working as a TA - all the best bits of school life, without the hours or the responsibility (and without the pay, but the hourly rate is not too dissimilar). While my children are primary age, I wanted to have less stress and not worry about work while I'm with them. When they got older, or things become financially difficult I can go back into teaching (just maybe not in this area of the country).
I'm going to be brutally frank with you here. Teaching is NOT for most people a family friendly job at all. With parents evenings and staff meetings etc there is going to be an issue with you being about to collect at 4.30.
I work 0.6 and have to leave at 4.45 to collect at 5 and that is a struggle. I then do another two hours in the evening when the kids are in bed and more on the weeekdn. That is despite me cutting every corner possible and being very focused and quick. I also work from when I get in at 8 relentlessly without stopping for break or lunch. That is in an extremely supportive school with a lovely HT. Sadly those are few and far between. Please be very clear what you are letting yourself in for as I do full time hours despite only getting paid for three days. I have also resigned a senior management position to lessen workload. Things have changed dramatically over the past few years and there is a reason why over 50,000 teachers left last year alone (that's one in every ten). Things are very bad in Education I'm sorry to say and it is only going to get worse. It breaks my heart to say this as someone who always wanted to be a teacher but everyone I know would leave if they could. You have to really want to do it and go in with your eyes wide open or you are in for a horrible shock. There is a reason so many teachers leave within the first five years. I'm so sorry to be so negative but the impact on the children of a hideous curriculum, relentless testing and target setting and a data driven obsession by the powers that be is having a horrible impact on children and it makes me utterly furious.
LyndaLaHughes thank you for your honesty.
Having been a stay at home mum for the past 5 years it is a worry for me as I'm used to being able to give time to the kids. If I had to cut that drastically it would most certainly effect me (and possibly the kids!)
I love playing and working with children, seeing them grow and learn but I'm aware unfortunately the teaching no longer involves mostly that but lots of box ticking exercises instead.
I'm really sorry but if you want to keep spending a lot of quality time with your own kids, teaching might not be a wise move. I cannot think of any member of staff who would be able to collect kids at 4.30 every day (even TAs would struggle particularly on staff mtg or planning mtg days).
In all honesty, teaching is one of the least family-friendly jobs there is. It was my second career and I decided to do my PGCE as I was freelance and didn't want to stress about last minute childcare (ironic huh?) and lack of financial security any more. I knew it would be tough and went in with my eyes wide open but was still shocked by the hours you have to put in.
I have absolutely nothing to do with childcare - DH does school drop offs and I am very lucky that I have close family to do school pick-ups. I am in school for 8am and lucky to leave by 5pm. That's often my choice but not always - there are meetings, parents' eves and training that you are constantly expected to go to. If one of my own children is sick, I am the last resort to get a day off work to care for them. And my school is very supportive of teachers who are also parents.
It's not just the hours though. It's the headspace. I often come home and I have given my all at school. The last thing I want to do is help my own kids with their homework (I do, of course, because that's what you do as a parent but it's still hard work!!)
I am sad that my kids are getting older so very quickly - I feel like their younger childhood has flashed me by and I wasn't there as much as I should've been. Terribly sad but true. I'm now at a stage in my career where I am far more bloody-minded and can see through the unnecessary bullshit...I am now not prepared to do any pointless tasks and will down tools when I've done 'enough' (this takes a while to get your head around. You will never have done 'enough' as there's always something else to do but fuck it, my own family are just as important)
Go in with your eyes wide open. But you must be prepared to give up a lot of your time. And if you've been with your kids for 5 years, that will be a wrench.
On the plus side, you get to spend a lot of the holidays with your kids. But I have often had to drag mine in while I sort the classroom (they get to play with all the other teacher-kids so they love it.)
By the way, my older DS (age 9) has just popped his head round the door, seen that I'm still on the computer and asked me why can't I get another job because it's time for me to do bedtime not 'more working'. He shudders when I jokingly asked if he wanted to be a teacher as he cannot understand why anyone would want to do it - he always sees Mummy working!!
Mind you, I did point out that it pays for his Lego...
And I didn't tell him that I've actually finished working on the computer and I'm just MNetting (sssh).
I do have a half hour of maths marking still to do for tomorrow though...
My DH went in to primary teaching not long ago. Our plan was always for me to reduce my working hours once he had finished PCGE and started paid work, so that we could share the pick-ups/drop-offs (I worked over an hour from home so like your DH couldn't do either when working full time).
We found the PGCE year really difficult in terms of child-care/time to study and prepare etc. During his training placements he was often asked to meet with his mentor/discuss planning with the class teacher etc either before of after the school day. Then he had lots of assignments/preparation to do which meant late nights as I was not usually able to get home until after children's bed time and (understandably) the children wanted attention when they were at home so it was impossible for him to work until they were in bed.
As far as availability of work goes, there seem to be quite a few vacancies around where we are (fairly rural area) but most teachers around here work live at least half an hour away from home as they prefer not to be constantly bumping in to pupils and parents in the shops/pub etc. Suppose that's a matter of personal preference.
I now do all the school runs but DH is able to leave early if he needs to do it instead. However, there is a once a week staff meeting that goes on until about 5 and several after school parents' evenings/information evenings/school celebrations per term that he is expected to attend.
In short, his job enables him to see far more of the children than mine did when I worked FT, he is able to work relatively locally and can get away when he needs to. However, I think he would find it difficult to leave school for a 4.30 pick up every day and this would definitely not have been possible during the PGCE year.
Are there other after school clubs in your area that are open later? Where we are there are some that open until 6 and will collect children from other schools (they are run by a private provider but located at schools).
I get to work at 8am every day. When I used a childminder who herself didn't start until 8am I was arriving at work at twenty past. Not a problem in terms of being viewed as late, but now I can get in at 8am it's much easier for me in terms of getting stuff done.
I have to stay once a week until 5pm for a staff meeting and rarely leave earlier than 5pm on other nights due to the time I need to get the marking and prep done for the next day as well as all the other paperwork needed.
It's also difficult to have any time off for attending your own child's Christmas concert/harvest festival/school fairs and sports days etc. So not necessarily a family friendly job - apart from the holidays of course, but some days of those are spent in the classroom too.
Thanks for the replies. I'm still considering it and hopefully will arrange some full days in a primary to get a better idea of the workload and time management required.
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