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Be honest with me - train as teacher or not?

(35 Posts)
WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 08-Apr-17 15:04:46

I am totally on the fence with this very recent idea I have had! I'd appreciate your honest opinions 🙂

I appear to be in a good position to get a very decent bursary to train as a Spanish teacher. But should I do it?

Pros
1) Have taught teenagers before (EFL teacher) and found it mostly fulfilling and the age group very entertaining and inspiring
2) DH is a teacher so we'd have holiday times together as a family, which means a lot to us
3) there is high demand for teachers in this area
4) it would almost double our household income and we could possibly afford to renew the passports and have a foreign holiday for the first time in six year 😄 (Yes, I shallowly crave 'proper' sunshine!)
5) with two jobs we could increase our mortage and add another bedroom so the kids could have their own rooms
6) I am already aware of the teacher workload through DH and through being school governor for a few years (in our school we fully appreciate the hours and effort put in by staff!)

Cons
1) it's a personal thing but it has always been very important to us that one of us is always here for the children outside of school times (i.e. preschool age, drop off, pick up, etc), and not to have to rely on childcare. This has worked well for us with our eldest two (13 and 8), with one of us being a sahp or self employed and the other employed in order to make it happen. Ideally, and out of fairness too, we would want the same for our youngest, who starts school this year. With teacher training and teacher hours, we would need to use childcare or reduce dh's hours. Please don't try and convince me that it isn't necessary to have this setup. It just means a lot to us as a family and makes us very happy.
2) What if I end up in a horrible school and I end up hating teaching? It would be a waste of time and bursary money. I have seen and heard enough negativity from teachers and head teachers I know to understand it is a strong possibility.
3) I am already well qualified, with a Masters degree. Would retraining as a teacher now just be a waste of my education so far?
4) I just don't want my job to take family time away from me. It's a big deal. I know teachers who live the job and can't stop working. I also know teachers who know how to draw a line between home and work and make use of existing resources etc to save time. What if I end up in a school that discourages effective time management? DH's first school expected staff to be there 8 til 8 or later, it was the organisational culture, with no flexibility even if the work could be done in less time. I also love getting enough sleep, being human and all 😄
5) my father was a MFL teacher when I was a child, about 40 to 30 years ago, and he hated the disinterest and behaviour of the children, the unsupportive ht, etc and left it for something he loved. I know I am not him (am definitely very different!) but I can't help thinking of it.
6) I can only offer Spanish. We moved abroad when I was a child (to a Spanish speaking country incidentally!) so missed out on learning much French or German in school. So I am more limited in what I could offer a school. But would a school be interested in or make use of other skills and degree subjects, albeit more unusual, once you are 'in the door' so to speak?

Will stop there as pesky kids real life will never let me finish this 😄 Will add more thoughts if I get clarity of thought later on ha ha!

Yes or no - should I give it a go?
Any Spanish teachers who can share experience? Anyone who changed career to teach secondary?

Many thanks!

QueenieGoldstein Sat 08-Apr-17 15:09:03

For point 1 on your cons list alone I say it's not for you.

I teach FT and rely heavily on childcare because the hours are not suitable to fit in with school hours for children.

You don't sound like you want to go into teaching for the teaching, rather what it can do for you which, especially these days, is not the best reason to enter this profession.

SkeletonSkins Sat 08-Apr-17 15:18:40

Well, you wouldn't be able to be there for pick up etc so could dh reduce his hours? If not and you don't like the idea of childcare or after school club then the idea is out as there's no way you'll be doing any drop offs or pick ups unless you go part time.

As for the impact on family life, well I think it depends on what you expect. You will be working full time, not until 3.30 or 4.30 but probably until 5.30-6. If you don't want to work until this time, you will need to make up that time at night or at the weekends. I teach and work very very little at weekends or in the evenings, but I work 8-5.30 every day and get home for about 6, having worked through lunch. The people I find that find it difficult are those that expect to be home with their own child by 4.30. Yes, possible, but then you can't complain about doing another couple of hours in the evening as you've chosen to finish early.

As long as you expect this, and know that with such long holiday you will need to work a day out of each, realistically, I do think it's a job that is rewarding and is improving too. But don't think it's a part time, family friendly job on full time. It's absolutely not.

Temporaryanonymity Sat 08-Apr-17 15:27:22

It makes a lot of sense to ensure that you have the potential to earn. Unfortunately, I am a lone parent so have no choice but to work full time. Luckily, I have a professional, flexible job so with wraparound care for my primary aged children I can earn a decent salary.

It is great that you have this choice now but in the interests of self preservation it would do you no harm to train in a career.

Astro55 Sat 08-Apr-17 15:32:39

Would a Spanish teacher be full time? I'm sure there would be part time possibilities as well!

CountryCaterpillar Sat 08-Apr-17 15:35:56

It's unlikely you'd get a full-time post offering just Spanish isn't it?

I'm not sure how you'd manage sick kids/afterschool pickups without using childminders /clubs.

Certainly not a waste after a masters, many teachers have masters, some PhD.. But may be if you give up. I so wish I'd trained in something else prekids as it was such a short career for me (8years) and left me in a tricky spot pensions/work wise.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 08-Apr-17 16:56:44

Well, having two teachers in the family is amazing. We are both teachers and it just works brilliantly. We have so much holiday time together as a family.

However, there is no way you will be able to get through the early part of your career doing all/ any of your own school runs.

I work 0.9 on a type of flexi arrangement which allows me to work 8.30- 3.30. As DS is at a Prep with longer hours this allows me to do all the school runs. However, I was already experienced and expert in my specialist field which is hard to recruit to before I had DS, so I have been able to call the shots.

Handbaghag Sat 08-Apr-17 17:02:44

I haven't read any of the previous posts but finally after 22 years I'm hopefully getting out and doing something else. If I was considering starting teaching now I wouldn't do it again. Job has changed beyond recognition for the worse. Has had catastrophic effects on my mental health. Life's too short to be so stressed. The only plus has been school holidays with kids and DH who's a TA. if you're coping on present income already, I'd say get a job that gives you school holidays but don't teach. Just my personal opinion. To get out feels like I'm getting out of prison.

llhj Sat 08-Apr-17 17:08:02

I don't really know why you've posted as number 1 on your cons list surely negates everything else. You don't want to be persuaded to use childcare and refuse to compromise. Well then? 🙄🤔

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 08-Apr-17 17:20:08

Very quick reply so excuse me if I don't reply individually. Mixed replies. And after walking away from my op and the first 3 or 4 replies, I pondered some more and thought it should definitely be a No.

My first reason against, clumsily written, seems to have given the impression that we would never use childcare. This isn't the case. That Con is essentially one of my own inner arguements against doing teacher training (i.e. that we would lose our nice thread of always being here for the kids in some way). DH going part time or using wraparound care would sort out that aspect, if I did go for it. Hope that is clearer.

Part time teaching spanish alone would be fab though 😄

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 08-Apr-17 18:01:27

Another 2 pros:
I love the language (use of languages generally, too) and feel slight initial excitement at the thought of teaching it to young people, and perhaps inspiring love of the language in them too.

I enjoy sitting with DH when he does planning. He runs his ideas by me and we love bouncing new ideas off each other to make his lessons better. I am of course aware that the novelty of putting together interesting and fulfilling lessons might wear off by the 478th late Sunday night eventually 😄 My Neighbour is also a teacher and you can guarantee that her study light is always on very late in to the night on Sundays!

IHeartKingThistle Sat 08-Apr-17 18:10:48

Teaching EFL is very different. I say this with a lot of experience behind me: for many reasons, teaching non-English people is a breeze compared to teaching in an English school. Flame me if you like, it's true.

WelliesAndPyjamas Sat 08-Apr-17 18:21:04

I have no doubt of that, Iheartkingthistle 😄 For a start, they were at least 50% there out of choice, despite the tendency to being spoilt in that culture! As far as teaching teenagers goes, though, I was pleasantly surprised that they were far more fun as people than I expected. As my dc have grown older and I have met and spent time with more teenagers, I have softened towards them as a group, with some exceptions grin

IHeartKingThistle Sun 09-Apr-17 00:24:56

Oh teenagers are lovely, most of them. I don't teach secondary any more and I miss them. But that's not enough to get me to go back.

FithColumnist Sun 09-Apr-17 14:41:23

Point 6 on the cons list I think will be a sticking point: virtually any initial teacher training provider would only offer you a place if you were able to offer two languages. The second language doesn't have to be a high level- you would really only need a GCSE or A Level equivalent in the second language- but it would need to be there.

catscurledupbythefire Sun 09-Apr-17 14:44:14

You might as well train, you don't necessarily have to use it but it's a useful qualification.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 09-Apr-17 15:20:52

young people, and perhaps inspiring love of the language in them too.
Hmm - if you love a language, then teaching it to conscripted teenagers can take the shine off...
FWIW, I changed career, got the bursary trained as language teacher with one fluent language and one I learned enough of over the summer to teach in teaching practice.
After a while in supply I now happily each unrelated subjects in a secondary school and have negotiated my own Ts and Cs - academies can negotiate so you are not bound to the 'burgundy book' unless you are in a LA school, of which there are diminishingly few now and none anywhere near me.
If you get bursary why not just train, and then loom for a school and conditions that suit you - nothing to lose.

fussychica Mon 10-Apr-17 09:06:20

DS teaches Spanish at a large secondary. He was educated in Spain so is fluent but he is also able to offer French and German. So far he hasn't been required to teach anything other than Spanish, though he doesn't think that will last. He really enjoys it but it is very demanding. He is expected to run an after school club and study groups so often at school until quite late, which wouldn't suit you.

However, if you can find a place that will take you with just Spanish I'd go for it, you have nothing to loose but your sanitygrin

MrsGuyOfGisbo Mon 10-Apr-17 11:56:46

you have nothing to loose but your sanity grin

WelliesAndPyjamas Mon 10-Apr-17 18:33:01

grin well, if it's just my sanity at stake...

WelliesAndPyjamas Mon 10-Apr-17 18:39:36

Such a mixture of replies, though. Not any closer to deciding, but I have more to go on now, at least. Thank you.

The other 2 subjects I could offer (with a degree background) might go in my favour to balance out the lack of any other strong MFLs, if it came to it.

What about in school training? Has anyone ever heard of a school being approached directly by a wannabe teacher with the right background, to suggest training that way instead? i.e. if I knew a school was struggling to recruit in a certain subject, how would it be taken for me to approach them directly?

Phantommagic Mon 10-Apr-17 20:56:35

Another consideration is that there has been more and more of a mismatch between my holidays and my children's in recent years. That, along with their ten Inset days is eating into my husband's leave these days.

monkeysox Tue 11-Apr-17 07:21:48

Wellies schools do employ via teach first but that if a full on, brutal baptism of fire. Usually in grim schools. No. No. No.
What about a college. They offer part time pgce teaching re sit students . A friend with 4 children has trained this way.

needsahalo Tue 11-Apr-17 08:54:41

You can't do it without childcare. It is ruthless. Other people's children are more important than your own. It is not family friendly, except for the holidays. If your husband teaches, the idea that he might be able to reduce his hours makes me smile - it is highly unlikely.

Spanish alone could be problematic. Google 'SKE in MFL' and see if there are any courses in your area to pick up either French or German. Most schools are French/German or French/Spanish so you probably need to be able to offer French at KS3 at least.

If you love languages, it will squeeze the love right out of you hearing 13 year olds massacre the basics and seemingly ignore every structure or rule you have taught them when left alone for 2 minutes. You will be constantly told that it's pointless as they're never going to go to Spain/everyone in Spain teaches English, despite your well-researched evidence to the contrary. Parents rarely back you up 'well, I was never good at languages ha, ha, and everyone speaks English anyway'.

It is a shortage area and there is work. I know of schools that have had to do 3 or more rounds of recruitment to get someone in post. The sticking point in secondary is progress, progress, progress and the fact it's your fault if a child doesn't meet their required progress target. You can't polish a turd, but you're expected to make it shine like diamonds come results day!

You really do need to go in with your eyes open. Spend some time in a local school and take it from there.

albertcamus Tue 11-Apr-17 18:33:52

I second needsahalo 100%, after 28 years in the profession. I'm just recovering my sanity after 2.5 years out (MFL X 3 & Business/Citizenship). Most of the students, parents & colleagues are fantastic, but the job is no longer sustainable, and certainly not compatible with mental & physical health.

OP, you seem to have already made up your mind to go into teaching despite everyone's experiences. I wish you luck, but would personally advise you against it.

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