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Teaching training in my 40's .... advice please

(59 Posts)
maxisinapaddy Tue 27-Sep-16 12:20:36

So I'm at a crossroad and could do with some advice.

I have been helping out at a local preschool for four years or so....I started on the committee and ended up chair ... I have decided to study for the nvq 3 in early years to be a 'proper' helpful member of staff. I am enjoying it and have enjoyed using my brain again. I am about half way through and expect to qualify by Easter next year. But as those of you in early years know the pay is terrible.

I used to have a 'proper' corporate job before children and marriage. I really wanted a family and left that job with the full support of husband to get pregnant and have a family.

Nine years later I'm a stay at home mum who works two days a week at pre school sometimes more and is studying for the Nvq and running the home etc.

The children are growing up and I would like to have a more challenging job.... I am considering the SCITT scheme for primary teaching. (I have a degree) I am concerned about the work load and keeping the family going. Husband has his owns business and works a lot. I am also concerned about the negative comments on here about the state of teaching at the moment and how stressful it is.

Am I mad...I want to set a good example to my children, we have a very traditional set up at home and that bothers me. When I first left university I did do some teaching in adult education 16+ but struggled with it and ended up not coping. In hind site I was too young and didn't have the experience or support.

I am going to an open day soon to explore options and after I have finished my current course I am hoping to get some work experience at a local primary school...if that works out I would apply to start in 2018. Applying for 2017 seems to soon ?! The children will be in year 6 and 4 at primary by 2018.

What are your thoughts mums net?

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Sep-16 12:34:43

If your husband can't pick up the slack with the kids then it would be very difficult to manage. It is hugely time consuming, you could be going from SAHM to 70 hour weeks.

bumbleclat Tue 27-Sep-16 14:08:13

Yes you're mad, it's not a job that works well with family life at all.

jellyfrizz Tue 27-Sep-16 14:57:59

Sadly I can't be more positive either. I worked in two other countries around the world and it was a brilliant job, so much fun and extremely rewarding and it fitted in really well with my family.

Back in England I was a complete mess trying to fit everything in, ridiculous hours and expectations (much of it doing pointless evidencing, box ticking and recording which was of no benefit to the students). I left.

If you are going to do it, do it while they are at primary, once at secondary there are fewer after school care options. Or wait until they have left home!

hollytom Tue 27-Sep-16 16:26:31

I did a SCITT when my children were 6 and 8. It was a very full on year but I managed to get through it. But teaching has changed since I did it in 2008 and I would not recommend it now. I don't think teaching is a family friendly job at all now.

maxisinapaddy Tue 27-Sep-16 16:28:16

Gosh has anybody retrained and found it a positive experience or are you all over worked and tired? I think I will definitely benefit from doing some volunteer work. Has anyone made the move from pre school to primary school?

needsahalo Tue 27-Sep-16 17:00:34

If your husband can't pick up the slack with the kids then it would be very difficult to manage

Single parent of 3. I manage perfectly well. Lower standards in all sorts of areas than I used to have but it is workable.

I retrained in my late 30s and yes, it is very hard. I enjoy it and am personally disciplined in how I approach planning, marking, paperwork generally. I try to recognise that I will neither be 100% perfect mum nor teacher and that there aren't enough hours, life's too short etc. You need to be a 'water off a duck's back' kind of person, and able to take it on the chin. Shit is thrown constantly - being able to sort it mid air into what you can dodge and what you can't ignore is a valuable skill!

Wellywife Tue 27-Sep-16 17:07:35

Another negative story here too. I didn't complete my PGCE (final placement) having observed the lives of my colleagues. Working every night, and both days at weekends. On my training course for my job now out of 12 people 4 had just left teaching.

General consensus was that the teaching itself was great. It's the paperwork to cover your arse that was the problem.

jellyfrizz Tue 27-Sep-16 17:50:17

OP, my experience was only in one school in England.
I have friends who are teachers who seem to work in more sane schools and manage a bit of a work life balance. IME my friends who are secondary teachers seem to have more sensible management than those at primary.

maxisinapaddy Tue 27-Sep-16 18:11:55

You need to be a 'water off a duck's back' kind of person,

Hmmm this I am not. I tend to be a worrier but this doesn't seem to effect me at pre school possibly because it is more of a team approach.

Food for thought....its will cost quite a bit too train as well, so I need to be as sure as I can be

needsahalo Tue 27-Sep-16 18:14:31

Go and observe for a week - or more. Do it at more than one school. I am secondary - primary seems worse to me. Schools are very individual and one where you fit will make all the difference.

SandyPantz Tue 27-Sep-16 18:16:45

Teaching is the least family friendly job I've ever had!

Your paid hours are only a fraction of your work hours. You will work weekends and holidays and evenings for no extra money, in fact if you work it out per hour it'll probably be less per hour than you get at preschool because in early years at least you get paid for the hours you actually do, even if the salary is less.

Am I mad...I want to set a good example to my children, we have a very traditional set up at home and that bothers me
This stood out, you're not setting a bad example. This is a really bad reason to do teaching, you will only survive in teaching if it is the only thing you really REALLY want to do, not if you think you should/need a professsional job!

maxisinapaddy Tue 27-Sep-16 18:47:18

Ok sandy that hit home!

Thanks everyone for your advice and sharing your experiences.

ReallyReallyReally Tue 27-Sep-16 23:40:25

I did my PGCE in Primary at 40, but due to family commitments I couldn't work my NQT year. I am now a TA and loving it, but we are fortunate that we don't need the salary of a teacher. I don't think I could work the hours a teacher works and give the time I want to to my family, so for me the situation now is perfect.

frazzled74 Tue 27-Sep-16 23:47:51

I have been thinking of a change in career (nursing) ,and was contemplating this too. When people say the hours are not family friendly, what time would they expect to be starting in the morning and finishing in the evening? And what annual salary does a newly qualified teacher earn?

wasninah Tue 27-Sep-16 23:59:29

I did the from preschool to teaching thing. Still teaching EYFS five years on. Single parent. Love bits of it, run ragged though. If you enjoy the team approach you would still have this in EYFS but as the teacher you'd take on the responsibility for outcomes ie be expected to get your class to write in sentences even if many come to you without coherent speech or able to hold a pencil etc. I'd recommend trying a stint in school to see if you like it - and visiting a range of schools as the experience varies so much. I get that you want to set an example to your children - so do I - I like being a full time working professional BUT they do sometimes say they preferred it when we were skint but I had more time. Nothing is black and white about the choices we make as parents, is it!

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Sep-16 00:02:19

If I'm working all day (I'm part time) then a typical day could be dropping DS off at breakfast club (only opens at 8), DD at childminder and just skimming into school by the hair of my teeth at 8:30 for teaching at 8:45. I then work straight through including lunchtime (supporting students) till 3:30 then a meeting till 4:45, pick DD up, go home. Then usual dinner, bath bed stuff. Start work again about 8-8:30 and will most likely still be working at 11pm depending on marking. I've been teaching 11 years, I worked way more hours when I was training. NQT gets about £22.5k.

wasninah Wed 28-Sep-16 00:04:57

Frazzled for me it's not so much the actual hours as the amount of headspace it takes up and how hard it is to switch off; you always worry there is something you could have done differently/better/can adapt next time ...I find the worry quite incapacitating at times. But, hours - 7.45 to 5ish in school, say, plus planning time evenings and weekends. I try to take Saturdays off -to drive my own dc to their various events-

Mozismyhero Wed 28-Sep-16 00:10:54

I'm a secondary school teacher. I got home at 5, did dinner, homework with eldest (6), half an hour family time, bedtime then started work again at 8. I've just finished at midnight. I work part time, never work on my day off and rarely at weekends if I can possibly help it but I always work late on week nights. My husband does his share of the 'house' jobs (washing etc) and puts the DC to bed if I need him to.

It is hard. I often feel like I'm not good enough in any area (mum, wife, friend, teacher etc) but I do still like my job and think it is so important. Education is in a terrible state at the moment, the Tories have ruined it, but I'm clinging on and hoping the wheel will turn eventually.

Naveloranges Wed 28-Sep-16 06:56:24

Hi I retrained at the age of 45. Single parent with one child. I found the training enjoyable but hard as my daughter is a competitive swimmer so I was out early am and often not home until after 9.
I'm in my 6th year now (secondary). I absolutely love being in the classroom with the students. My colleagues are great. It is a lot of work particularly if you are uber conscientious. There is a lot of pressure to achieve results and mark within very tight timescales.
There is also a huge amount of unseen work.
But I'm sure lots of other professions have the same issues. I think the key factor with teaching is the lack of understanding of what goes into the job but I still really love it.

Ditsyprint40 Wed 28-Sep-16 06:59:45

Op, what about a pastoral role? I always wanted to work in education but not teach as I know the work/life balance is crap and I'd hate to be observed and judged all the time. Something like a home/school link worker? Fairly good money and stil v stressful but work/life balance is better.

teacher54321 Wed 28-Sep-16 07:06:24

It so depends on the subject and the workplace. I'm secondary trained but am now a subject specialist HoD in a through school so teach music from EYFS right through to GCSE. I personally think I have the best of all worlds at the moment-very little marking and written work, and lots of variety. But the flip side is masses of reports, and lots of conflicting pressures from working across the different key stages. In Primary the workload and expectations and planning are just huge and you get much less non contact time than secondary. Secondary is hideous if you are a core subject (exam/data pressure) or an essay subject (90 year 8 history books to mark a week, that sort of thing).

However, when it works it's the best job there is. Do plenty of work experience in different schools. I'm lucky because my first job out of uni involved working in a huge number of different schools on an ad hoc basis and I very quickly learnt what I'm looking for in a school. The ethos varies hugely. Good luck!

rollonthesummer Wed 28-Sep-16 07:11:16

Hmmm this I am not. I tend to be a worrier but this doesn't seem to effect me at pre school possibly because it is more of a team approach.

When it comes to observations, data, performance management and capability-you're own your own.

I love the teaching-being with the children is great, but that's about 20% of the job. The rest is just pointless arse-covering paperwork that takes all of your time and doesn't help the children one iota. The observations and triangulation etc is stressful and in my opinion, unnecessary.

I get into work at 7.30 (only part time) on the days I work and leave at 6 then do a few hours in the evening. I've been teaching for 19 years. It makes me laugh when relatives (well/meaning, intelligent ones!) ask me why I don't just change the date on last year's planning and work 9-3.

Ha ha ha!!

Wonderpants Wed 28-Sep-16 07:12:15

I'm doing a PGCE in my 40's. I leave the house at 7am, back about 7pm, which my DC are finding very hard as they are used to me being around. There is still work to do in the evenings and weekends. I'm exhausted- and I'm not even in school placement yet.
But so far, I'm loving it. I feel a bit out of my depth, but I'm told that's okay. I'm doing the bare minimum
as my DC need my attention too.
I think you have to do it for you, because you want it and are passionate about it. Go to the open days, talk to the tutors and look at all the options (I chose against a school ITT).

MissClarke86 Wed 28-Sep-16 07:24:48

I'm 9 years in.

In at 7.30, leave at 6 (because I get thrown out). I do an hour or two an evening at home and work SOLIDLY (and a bit manically) in the day and scrape value from every spare minute.

Yesterday I taught all day, had a leadership meeting until 5, marked as many books as I could until 6, came home and marked the rest. Then I had to continue preparing polished lessons for today as we have a visit from our academy head. (And I'm STILL going over these lessons in my head during breakfast the next day!) Somehow I fit in eating and showering. I also sent a few emails and ticked a few smaller jobs off my list as they build up and irritate me.

Not every day is like this, but it comes in waves. You have to be EXTREMELY efficient and organised and even then will be working to your limit. If you're not, you will just either break or fail. There really isn't an option. You can't just "stop for now" because the workload rollercoaster doesn't stop and it will swallow you up. If you don't tick boxes you will be on competancy.

We have good NQTs at the moment who are exhausted and cry every day (one is 40!)

The workload isn't the bit that breaks you. The constant feedback is what breaks you. It is a job that sucks so much from you that when you are told "this could be better" it feels incredibly personal and almost like a punch to the face. But that never goes away because you can always improve. I'm on SLT and had this yesterday and it has been going around my head all night. I also have an observation next week that I will spend the next week slightly anxious about.

The never switching off is an issue as well. Working such long hours and dipping in and out of it in the evening means my brain never really clicks out of work mode. I sometimes go to bed just to stop thinking about work.

Working with the children is lovely (but be warned, when you have a challenging class like I do this year it is REALLY hard to get ANY enjoyment from the job!) , but if you do voluntary work don't make your judgement based on this. Shadow a teacher for the whole week.

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