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So I'd be mad to retrain as a teacher, but how mad?

(25 Posts)
Madcatter Tue 03-Apr-18 20:07:32

I'm currently in a reasonably paid job in advertising. On paper it's brilliant. Lots of perks etc. It's sucking my soul away though. I've been working 12 hour days for the last 2 weeks and have just had a terrible feedback session basically telling me I'm not working fast enough. I think there's just a limit to how good you can be at something you don't care about. And I really really just don't care.

I love literature and art and critical thinking and I love the idea of being able to engage young people and helping them to formulate their ideas about the world. Is it really really best left well alone?

I know the workload is big but is it achievable? I'm looking at KS3 upwards. My biggest worry is that I have RA and lots of medical appointments. Any advice on how this would work? I don't have children (and can't on my medication) so I've no concerns about the family friendly aspect as I know teaching is a disaster where that's concerned. Any advice/warnings appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
thatone Tue 03-Apr-18 20:11:42

It's do-able but just a skim of some of the previous threads will give you an idea of the realities. The key is to find the right school for you. You will always be thinking of work but if you're like me, you may not mind that too much if you feel it will benefit your classes. I teach Primary though and despite the workload, I enjoy the challenge.

BobbinThreadbare123 Tue 03-Apr-18 20:11:59

Yes. Don't do it. Your days and the feedback would be the same, and the creativity bit is rather stifled in schools. Art teachers are not just that these days, in many schools.

phlebasconsidered Tue 03-Apr-18 20:14:45

Don't. The stress and the hours will be equal but you get no support in schools at all with illness or time off. None. You will be scrutinised for every absence and get no help.

Teaching is hugely demanding physically, even in ks3 and above and it's hard to keep well. I also have an autoimmune disease and am expected to just get on with it. All my medical appointments have to be made in the holidays or evenings. During a bad flare up period I left teaching for several years as it was completely incompatible. My medication keeps things under control now but I am always exhausted and that leads to more flare ups. I'm searching for a way out.

Skatingfastonthinice Tue 03-Apr-18 20:22:06

Go for it. Otherwise there will be no teachers left for the next cohort of children coming through as so many leave for well-documented reasons.
Just don’t be ill, or take time off or you’ll be in competency procedings asap.

Madcatter Tue 03-Apr-18 20:23:18

phlebas yes that's precisely the kind of thing that worries me. I already struggle with trying to manage appointments with work and I think it's the physical drain and from reading here the lack of support that I'm most concerned about.

I don't mind a heavy workload or thinking about work at home when it's got some kind of value or achieves something.

OP’s posts: |
Skatingfastonthinice Tue 03-Apr-18 20:26:20

Do you like teenagers? Even at their worst?

Skatingfastonthinice Tue 03-Apr-18 20:31:09

Have you read the thread ‘ Grey-skinned, hungry children’?

thecatfromjapan Tue 03-Apr-18 20:33:52

I think you'd find it hard to get a job with RA. Which is, frankly, a really shocking state of affairs. It's illegal and unethical (seriously - what message does it send to children with SEND if they encounter few teachers with disabilities?) - but I think that is the genuine state of play at the moment.

I suspect the moment you brought it up in an interview, you'd be bottom of the list for employment. And I suspect that if you didn't bring it up in interview, you'd find the school subsequently very unaccommodating. Which is illegal.

This makes me very angry.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 03-Apr-18 20:46:30

"madder than Mad Jack McMad, the winner of this year's Mr Madman competition."

Madcatter Tue 03-Apr-18 21:09:54

thecat I appreciate the honesty. I suppose thinking about it, it doesn't surprise me. It seems to me as an outsider that academy chains are commercial organisations but without even the veneer of accountability.

I don't mind an all consuming job. To be honest I've always been drawn to live-and-breathe-it type things. So the workload itself isn't the issue. But I do fear that schools increasingly view teachers as resources to be extracted and aren't supportive.

OP’s posts: |
Madcatter Tue 03-Apr-18 21:16:52

If anyone has any brainwaves as to what i can do with a bachelors degree, almost 2 masters degrees, nearly 10 years in digital advertising, a love of literature, art, politics, and critical theory and excellent writing skills that'll keep me financially solvent, do let me know grin

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Tue 03-Apr-18 21:23:21

What subject? What's your degree in?

Lilonetwo Tue 03-Apr-18 21:30:33

I think there's just a limit to how good you can be at something you don't care about

In teaching there is a limit to how good you can be no matter how passionate you are. But as a teacher you often feel your best is not good enough, which is very disheartening.

Lilonetwo Tue 03-Apr-18 21:31:39

My post doesn't make sense blush
Sorry please ignore me, completely exhausted

Piggywaspushed Tue 03-Apr-18 21:35:19

Also, if you deeply love all those things, teaching can be disappointingly anti -intellectual these days... sad to say.

I am an English teacher. Love of literature helps but we tend to teach what we have to/ are told to (and it's worse in most schools than mine in terms of choice). I do love teaching film studies.

The critical theory you mention rarely comes into play.

Piggywaspushed Tue 03-Apr-18 21:47:26

What about museum or gallery work?

onanotherday Tue 03-Apr-18 22:33:48

I m in the don't do it group, but to be fair I've done 26 years and looking to move to something else for last few productive years.. lots of ideas but physically and emotionally drained. If you really feel up to the challenge why not take a week off work and do a weeks observation at your local comp. Then consider your position. Good luckthanks

PumpkinPie2016 Wed 04-Apr-18 19:30:01

I teach secondary (though Science not arts based subjects). I do love my job but the workload is really heavy, particularly in the run up to exams - I've had some very long days recently and barely any free time at weekends. I am on Easter hols at the moment but finished the term feeling completely drained.

In terms of your RA - only you will know how it affects you but teaching is physically demanding so you need to hate that in mind.

Teenagers are great but as someone up thread said, you have to be able to like them even at their worst - you really do need the patience of a saint some days!

I wouldn't say I am in the 'don't do it' camp because, as I said, I love what I do but I would advise anybody to go into it with their eyes wide open. Is it possible for you to spend some time in a school to get a feel of what it's like?

monkeysox Thu 05-Apr-18 08:19:05

With your ra can you stand all day?
I worked for an academy chain where we were not allowed to sit during lessons. At all.
It was an awful place.

LiquoriceTea Thu 05-Apr-18 08:22:04

I think you'd struggle physically. (I have cfs and left teaching.) However a private school might be easier.

PGCEwoes Thu 05-Apr-18 09:25:38

You'd be totally mad if you have significant health problems and I think this comment sums it up:
"Also, if you deeply love all those things, teaching can be disappointingly anti -intellectual these days... sad to say."
Passion for your subject and loving "the idea of being able to engage young people and helping them to formulate their ideas about the world" despite what all the ads say are not required in teaching.

BobbinThreadbare123 Thu 05-Apr-18 09:51:29

PGCEwoes you are so right. There is an awful anti-intellectual streak in teaching, and joy for your subject does not get you far if you don't toe the line and thrash the results out of the kids.

OP, I have a chronic illness and battled along for years teaching. I also enjoy a very busy job as I cannot bear to be bored or idle. However, I was thoroughly punished for a short spell in hospital (we're talking a week) during which I set cover while attached to a drip. Head was not sympathetic and acted like I'd caused no end of trouble. This is not unusual unfortunately. I've known diabetic teachers get into all sorts of pickles due to lack of breaks and the sheer exhaustion of the job.

Appuskidu Fri 06-Apr-18 18:38:32

I don't mind a heavy workload or thinking about work at home when it's got some kind of value or achieves something.

I would say 90% of what I have to do as a teacher doesn’t have any value to me or the children.

My biggest worry is that I have RA and lots of medical appointments

I expect you would end up on capability proceedings-you certainly would in the last two schools I’ve worked in.

love literature and art and critical thinking and I love the idea of being able to engage young people and helping them to formulate their ideas about the world.

Sadly, I don’t think anyone in SLT would give a shit about any of that-it’s now solely all about the data. Teaching isn’t Dead Poet’s Society no matter how much we’d like it to be.

FlameOutTeacher Sat 07-Apr-18 18:08:24

I hate sneaking into these threads, feeling like I'm shitting all over people's dreams. But I cannot imagine a worse time to come into teaching for a single, childfree twenty-something in perfect health so if you're anything other than that you'll be fucked.

There is no flexibility in teaching. Medical appointments are difficult and even if you find a supportive SLT (rare) your colleagues will end up covering for you. Resentment builds because the budgets are so tight and goodwill is at an all-time low.

You can sit in the staffroom and watch your colleagues get more exhausted and run down with every week that goes by. We crawl into holidays shattered and spend the last few days working because we finally feel human again. For you to have to deal with RA as well as 'normal' teacher exhaustion would be incredibly difficult.

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