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What's the best/ worst thing about your job?

(22 Posts)
Glitterkitten24 Fri 17-Feb-17 12:20:44

I'm hoping to apply for primary pgde in Sept this year. I have lots of friends who are teaches (mainly secondary) and my ds is at primary school and I have volunteered as a parent helper quite often, but am under no illusions that I have seen more than a glimmer of what is involved in primary teaching.

What's the best thing about your job? What's the most frustrating thing? If you could start all over again, would you choose teaching again?

I'm in my early 30s so it's pretty daunting starting a whole new career now!

OrangeSquashTallGlass Fri 17-Feb-17 12:52:48

'but am under no illusions that I have seen more than a glimmer of what is involved in primary teaching.'
Very true, well said. It's one of those jobs that you really can't know what it's like until you're actually in it. and then it's too late

Pros:
- if you genuinely like hanging out with children then you'll be a happy bunny
- those moments when a child cracks something difficult/new
- those moments when a child is having just such fun learning (unfortunately is happening less and less now)
- you (sometimes) get to do fun things
- you're always learning
- there's an element of creativity

Cons
- crippling hours: you'll see other people's children more than your own and spend your weekends working
- you always feel guilty about something: guilty that you're working too much, guilty that you're not working enough, guilty that you can't do more to help a child
- shit parents (thankfully rare)
- a ridiculous curriculum that sets both children and teachers up to fail. You will 'fail', the children will 'fail', it will hurt.
- pointless and unavoidable paperwork
- being constantly watched/judged
- being so busy in your day that you don't wee or eat
- behaviour: this varies class to class but just let it sink in that even the best classes are still a class of 30+ children and you will always need to be managing behaviour

BizzyFizzy Fri 17-Feb-17 18:18:21

I had my 30th birthday during my PGCE year.

The best thing about my job is the holidays. I get 20 weeks a year. The worst thing is my line manager.

Glitterkitten24 Fri 17-Feb-17 19:02:29

Thank you both! orange is the job different from when joined?

Bumping for the evening crowd!

Beautifullymixed Fri 17-Feb-17 20:46:18

TA here.
Worst things....
The constant watching and observations. Walks looking at our boards and classrooms. I am a neat freak, so is my teacher, but there is less and less time to do the job in the hours given, so I often do unpaid overtime to get little jobs/boards done.

Zero tolerance for violence being introduced - but often no SLT around to deal with the perpetrators.

Less funding = less staff. Not good for inclusion at all. SEN children left to manage when their 1-2-1 TA is used elsewhere.
Class TAs doing a thousand and one things, expected to look after the needs of many (often conflicting needs), and complete all classroom tasks as well.

Staff leaving = not replaced. See point above.

Coasting staff. Add lazy too. Boils my piss when some staff get an easy ride. angry

The children who constantly talk while you are talking, or you have asked for silent work. Repeatedly = Low level disruption that grates on a daily basis.

Best things....
Engaged in a brilliant lesson, with the kids enthusiasm giving you a buzz.

Using my creativity, as I construct a trolls bridge from cardboard.

Learning a musical instrument with the class - and the children jumping up to help non-musical Miss. grin

Feeling emotional and full of pride, as you watch your beloved class perform a play/song.

Seeing their faces after a half term, and realising how much you have missed them.
❤❤

Glitterkitten24 Fri 17-Feb-17 21:01:42

Why have 2/3 you mentioned 'being observed' please? Do you mean during inspections or just generally, by the management team?

That's really interesting beautifully - I expected it, but am a bit daunted by how long the 'cons' list is compared to the 'pro' list!😂

Dreamanddream Fri 17-Feb-17 21:57:28

Lesson observations
Book scrutinies
Learning walks
Data scrutinies
Handing in planning
Having to justify everything
No time to do anything fun. English/ maths/English/ mathsEnglish/ maths
No art or music or DT or fun.

Hate the job.

Eolian Fri 17-Feb-17 22:03:06

The best thing about my job is that I quit proper teaching to become a supply teacher.

Why have 2/3 you mentioned 'being observed' please? Do you mean during inspections or just generally, by the management team?

If you think that observations only happen during inspections, you really do only have a glimmer of what goes on...

Are you sure this is what you want to do, OP? Approximately 90% of teachers would currently advise you not to become one.

rollonthesummer Fri 17-Feb-17 22:08:16

Lovely bits-being with the children, lightbulb moments, planning fun lessons (I genuinely enjoy how I'm going to teach things), having some scope left to organise my own timetable, afternoon play (!) and the holidays.

Shite bits-constant observations or learning walks by the SLT which are picked apart and used to define your PMR, book scrutinies, changing curriculum, new initiatives and no old ones are ever scrapped to make room in the week, management having ever changing versions of what 'Good Practice' looks like--3 part lessons, 5 part lessons, plenaries, mini plenaries, learning objectives, outcomes, targets, WILF/WALT/WAN.K (I made the last one up) , success criteria, different learning styles etc etc, planning that is pointlessly time consuming that is torn apart by management, having to spend a significant part of my wages on basics for my classroom as there is no money for anything, triple marking in pointlessly green and pink pens writing comments that 4-5 year olds can't and will never read, government changes.

I hate it. I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy.

Glitterkitten24 Fri 17-Feb-17 22:25:28

eolian yes I really think I do! I currently do a job where the world turns whether or not I turn up, it doesn't mean anything, it doesn't do anything.

I've watched my primary 1 ds learn how to read this year, how amazing it is that he 'cant' and now he 'can', how interested he is in soaking up every bit of information he can. I've volunteered with P4s where the kids who aren't getting fractions come alive when presented with coding and are first finished, able to show the kids who are normally 'best' how to do something.
I appreciate that I'm possibly being horribly naive but I feel a spark of passion that I could do something that means something, that I could make a difference to someone and that it matters if I turn up for work or not.

Please don't laugh, I know if you are feeling jaded with the job that what I've said probably sounds overly simplistic and funny. My eyes are open and I know all isn't roses but I do feel like this is what I want to do...

Glitterkitten24 Fri 17-Feb-17 22:26:30

Thank you all, this is so helpful- the good and the bad!

Eolian Sat 18-Feb-17 07:42:49

Aww. I understand, OP. Teaching was all I ever wanted to do and I loved it for years. But it's not the same job any more. I don't think I would have become jaded if it were.

rollonthesummer Sat 18-Feb-17 10:04:15

Please do read some of things the many 'I want to leave teaching' and 'what other jobs can I do?' threads on the staffroom board so that you know exactly what you're getting into.

Gossgirl Sat 18-Feb-17 10:28:47

I love teaching and have on the whole loved my 20 years in the classroom, however I honestly don't know how much longer I'll stay.
The biggest change in my time is it has changed from being a job to being a lifestyle. When I started I worked alongside some great teachers who successfully managed ft teaching, management posts and families and 15 years ago when I had DC1 I joined them. Now we only have 1 FT teacher mum and she would be the first to say she is finding it tough. I am now pt and can't ever imagine going back ft.
With regards to observations, book scrutinies etc. the other big change over the years is the role of SLT. When I started you were trusted to do your job, SLT were there to provide support, advice and keep you up to date with changes, they had there own classes and were very much on the frontline of teaching. Now SLT tend to be out of classroom and there job is to make sure you are doing your job! (And in the current climate of severe cuts to remind everyone how important their current role is and how they couldn't possibly go back into the classroom). This might out me a bit, but when a member of SLT observes you and can't find fault with your lesson, but keeps going on about how you should have nice table covers like teacher X (who teaches infants and you are UKS2) to create a warmer learning environment and then puts that down as your target you do wonder what is going on.

Eolian Sat 18-Feb-17 13:23:27

That's why I do supply teaching. No planning, no marking, no scrutiny, no responsibility for results, no data, no staff meetings, no performance management. It's a piece of cake and you still get to work in schools and help kids.

PumpkinPie2016 Sat 18-Feb-17 16:03:15

I'm secondary so slightly different to primary but I love being with the kids - seeing them 'get' it or enjoy an activity or do well in an assessment /exam. Even kids who are more challenging can be really rewarding to work with. I can have fun with my subject (science) and I enjoy planning different ways to teach things.

I dislike the constant need for data and having to justify that data, learning walks, observations, book scrutinies, meetings after school and seemingly endless paperwork.

I still like the job but it is draining at times sad

goingmadinthecountry Sat 18-Feb-17 22:18:01

Bad: you know what you need to do/provide for children to succeed but can never quite manage to organise it due to staffing, funding etc

Good: when someone "gets it" it's the best feeling in the world. I have Y3/4 this year. Loads of Y3 could not read at all at the beginning of the year. We now have no non readers and they all have a much more positive attitude towards their learning. That's a lovely feeling. Obviously still a long way to go...

WyfOfBathe Sun 19-Feb-17 00:15:30

Best things:
- when the spark goes off and students suddenly "get" something
- when students show a real enthusiasm for my subject
- seeing students mature as they go through the school, or even just in the space of a year (especially the year 7s)
- seeing how students learn, and trying out new ideas
- building positive working relationships with the older students/sixth formers
- my colleagues - obviously not every teacher will like their colleagues, but I'm part of a small, friendly department who get on well
- long holidays, at the same time as DD's school holidays
- school trips abroad because I get to go abroad - which I enjoy - and see the students start to engage with the languge

Worst things:
- constantly changing curriculum and "good practice"
- observations and scrutiny from people who spend very little time actually teaching
- spending my own money on scissors, glue sticks, even paper
- trying to get a student to complete some work when they'd rather be playing truant and smoking in the park
- not being able to "fix" things when you know that a student is struggling with other issues
- not having time to spend with my own DC during term time
- having to teach to the test and tick boxes when I could be teaching much more practical or engaging topics

I do find my job stressful and often frustrating, but I would still say that I like teaching. I'm on maternity leave right now, and I love having time to spend with my DC and no looming deadlines, yet I'm also looking forward to returning to work.

Keeptrudging Sun 19-Feb-17 00:19:47

Best thing? The pupils, they're challenging but I think they're fab!

Worst thing? The headteacher, hands down. Micro managing, control freaky and has no concept of staff as people with lives outside school. Totally unachievable, ever-changing goalposts.

langkaw Wed 22-Feb-17 21:17:22

Best things: funny, quirky, teenagers. I work in a challenging secondary school and on good days I feel lucky to be able to hang out with kids who are so complex, funny and refreshingly honest. On the bad days, not so much.

Colleagues: mine are great.

Feeling part of a community. The whole being in it together thing.

The holidays.

The small victories.

Bad things:

Teaching Victorian literature to kids who haven't got basic phonics. The frustration of not being able to teach kids (SEN) what they need.

The dry tedium of teaching key stage 4 exam classes.

Behaviour. The sheer exhaustion that comes from managing behaviour.

Lack of funding/resources.

The number of egos you have to navigate in a school (other staff)

Again the exhaustion. The hundreds of difficult conversations you have to have every day with kids, parents and staff. The constant 'thoughtful' communication wipes me out.

I like it though.

caffelatte100 Thu 23-Feb-17 08:15:21

I don't regret training to be a teacher, even though many do. The kids are always the most interesting and inspirational part of a job. For me the advantages are:
1) Being a good UK teacher is good way to explore the world, live over seas. There are international schools almost everywhere in the world, (or even to teach English?) and UK teachers are very highly sought after. I met my husband whilst teaching overseas.
2) I now have my own business overseas. I couldn't return to the UK now to teach, I would not be willing to do the job as it now is. Maybe supply, tutoring or helping those who are home schooled but not in the classroom, if I didn't have to financially.
3) I love children's literature, it's my passion and now I can combine with my business, it's a real joy...

junebirthdaygirl Sun 26-Feb-17 09:55:29

Good bits for me after 30 years
Never bored. Day flies
Constantly thinking of new ways of doing things
Children making me laugh out loud
Childrens face when they grasp something
The holidays and regular breaks
Working on my own inititive..not as much interference in lreland
Bad things
Tiredness that is not comparable to other jobs l think but breaks help
Petty diections from Department of Education
Complaining whinging sstaff but dont have that where l work now
I have never been sorry l chose it but in the UK it sounds dreadful.

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