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Should I become a teacher?

(44 Posts)
namechanged4u Wed 12-Jun-19 23:20:10

I wanted to get some advice from people who are currently in the teaching profession.

I'm really unhappy in my current work situation. I'm self employed and work doing accounts for my husbands business, and I hate it. I don't have any real qualifications, have just worked in call centres and admin jobs prior.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher but chose to go travelling instead of to Uni. I'm at a point in my life now where I am considering going to Uni and getting a degree in Primary Education with QTS. I have got some experience of working with children (not in a school) and during my A levels I did a few placements in schools, but that was about 14 years ago.

The trouble is, I know quite a few people who work in schools (teachers, head teacher, TAs, HLTA) and all of them have told me not to do it. That it's not what it used to be, too much red tape, etc. It's not that I don't believe them, but they've all only ever worked in schools whereas I've worked in some really awful jobs so I wondered if that was distorting the perspective from both sides somewhat?

So I wanted to ask here, what you really think about teaching, is it a good time to study and become a teacher, or would you tell me to run a mile?

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Thu 13-Jun-19 10:48:15

The government will tell you it’s a great time to become a teacher.

The recruitment and retention crisis in teaching will tell you otherwise.

If you are looking to go to uni, I would suggest a subject degree then teacher training just to give yourself more options should you decide, like many, many others, that the job isn’t for you.

CatAndFiddle Thu 13-Jun-19 11:25:27

I had a 10 year career in the private sector before becoming a teacher, so can offer a bit of insight here. Firstly, there is a massive audit culture in teaching. Even in the most basic of admin jobs, management will assume that if you are asked to send an email, or update a file, you will do it. In teaching this is not the case. You are not trusted to just do the job and there will be random work sampling, learning walks, half termly observations etc. etc. because you just can not be trusted to teach. This doesnt seem to ever go away, no matter how experienced you get.
There is also the problem of poor classroom practitioners escaping quickly into slt, thus reducing their timetable, teaching less, becoming even worse teachers... and then going round telling everyone else how to do it. I would say this is very similar to private sector though, where incompetent brown nosers and psychopaths climb the ranks quickly.
I find the pay is poor. Teachers who have done nothing else seem quite pleased when they get to UPS3 (approx 40k), but it takes about 11 years to get there. So most teachers are about 33 when they earn this amount, but often that is doing 60 hour weeks. I earnt this amount, adjusted for inflation, by the time I was 27, and did a 45 hour week for it. In teaching, I have never worked so hard for so little financial reward.
Funnily enough, it is the low status of teachers which has bothered me the most. The parents dont respect teachers (as society doesnt), and the kids pick up on this. The children can be downright rude.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 16:13:24

No. Quite frankly. Don't do it. It is a thankless task. Noone is ever happy with what you do. What you do is never enough. You are always made to feel its your fault the children aren't progressing. Don't do it.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 16:14:14

Run for the hills....

AuntMarch Thu 13-Jun-19 16:17:23

I worked in a school. I got a degree with a view of going into teaching. I see the pressure on teachers and how they are pulled in directions they don't want to go (having to teach for tests rather than for children's love of learning mostly) the endless reports and how much time is spent ticking boxes instead of inspiring children... I couldn't do it. I'd be miserable! And the amount of work they do evenings/weekends/holidays means the actual hourly rate is appalling.

Nuffaluff Thu 13-Jun-19 16:27:11

I think noble has some very good advice there. Too many people leave teaching within five years of starting.
I also had a good laugh at what cat said. She’s right about all of it.
Having said that I went into teaching when I could have chosen any other career path. I chose my vocation over money and status. I still manage to enjoy most of it after twenty years.
Some people go into teaching for the wrong reasons - because it fits in with the school holidays, because they think it can’t really be that hard, because they think it’s a 9-3.30 job, because they can’t think of anything else to do. If you have always wanted to do it, I say go for it.

CatAndFiddle Thu 13-Jun-19 17:13:26

Just to add, despite my earlier rant, I do actually enjoy being in the classroom.

millimat Thu 13-Jun-19 17:22:12

No no no. There's absolutely no way I would let my children go into teaching. They wouldn't anyway as they have seen the silly hours that I work. There's very little job satisfaction nowadays because slt are always asking for more.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 17:38:48

If you have always wanted to do it, I say go for it.

I had always wanted to do teaching. I have spent the last 17 years as a teacher. I love the classroom but sadly its not enough. I am in the fortunate position where I am jobshare and only work three days so I am now off more than I am working but there is NO way that I would go full time again. Not a chance. Sad too because the teaching element is what I love but its everything else. I am in Scotland and when I listen to teachers who come up from England I realise its SO much worse down South but honestly, its becoming that way up here..gradually. My dd is 12 and once uttered that she would like to be a teacher and when I told her the reality of it she has never said it since. Until they change things, teaching is for mugs.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 17:40:33

...and as for school holidays, well it means you are also tied to having to go on holiday at set times. Feel guilty for having to take time off sick...the list is endless.

superram Thu 13-Jun-19 17:41:57

I’ve just left after 19 years. I loved the kids and my colleagues and was in a nice school. However, too much work to do at home and even when I wasn’t doing it I felt bad-that was what killed it for me. I was grumpy at home and felt like I wasn’t doing a good enough job at work. Lose/lose and terrible for mental and physical help. I may go back but I need a break.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 17:43:40

Silence on the other side of the phone when you say you cant come in because you are unwell because it puts others out or the headteacher because she feels pressure to stand in but has been out of the classroom so long she lacks confidence so is generally unsupportive of any absences. Others not happy because they have to cover for you. Lack of resources, pressure on you to teach without resources, not allowed to photocopy and spending your own money on glue sticks because if you don't, it makes your own life harder in the class.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 13-Jun-19 17:45:32

Who knows how much money I have spent over the years on resources for my class. The latest is we have no colour copying without permission. Its a joke. These are the things no one tells you.

Theworldcouldbemymollusc Thu 13-Jun-19 17:48:50

No don’t do it. It is shit. People treat you like shit. The pressure is enormous, the pay awful, the hours long and then you have to spend most of it on resources - until you burn out after 2 years

LolaSmiles Thu 13-Jun-19 17:49:53

Oh the colour copying thing is irritating.

If you go in with your eyes open and choose your school well on qualifying then it can be brilliant.
I career changed to teaching and really enjoy It, but a few years ago I was in a different school and ready to quit the profession due to the impact on my work-life balance.

Phineyj Thu 13-Jun-19 18:21:31

If you'd like a degree, do a degree and then see how you feel.

PencereTencere Thu 13-Jun-19 18:25:36

If you decide to do it, I would seriously recommend steering away from a combined BA + QTS degree. The training on them is generally good as it offers a decent whack of time in different school settings but the transferable skills aren't great if you decide later down the line you don't want to teach any more.

I trained on one of these degrees and although I don't regret my choice of career, I do regret the path I took.

Basketofkittens Thu 13-Jun-19 18:41:28

I’m a classroom volunteer at my child’s primary school. I really enjoy it and the staff have been very encouraging and said I should apply for teaching training. It seems to be a very supportive environment in this particular school.

From my experiences, all the teachers I have been with take their full lunch breaks and don’t work crazy hours but I know they do marking in the evenings and some work during holidays. Again, I realise that’s this only one school!

A friend of mine is a teacher in a prep school and enjoys it.

I’m a former military officer. I’ve worked as a health and safety advisor but really want a change.

SparklesandFlowers Thu 13-Jun-19 18:46:13

I would say don't do it. I went into teaching in my late 20s. I'd always wanted to be a teacher but worked in retail for some years before training. Ten years on I'm on UPS3 and leaving classroom teaching at the end of this term.

I can't wait.

It's everything people have said above. It's not being treated like a professional but someone to be constantly scrutinised. It's parents not supporting you but instead complaining. It's constantly hearing about budget cuts. It's losing all the teaching assistant support in class gradually, until you're spending all your time with 30 7-year-olds and barely having time in the day to eat your lunch and have an adult chat. It's differentiating five different ways for every lesson, managing SLT expectations for your teaching and then marking 60 books at the end of each day in pink and green pens with your WWW and EBI and next steps, before planning the next day's lessons and differentiating five ways and so on ad infinitum. And on top of that being expected to do all the paperwork the school demands the threat of being denied your pay progression because little Freddie thinks chucking rubbers in your lessons is more fun and does zero work and means your class doesn't make the 80% working at or above expectations.

Do a degree and get some time in a school and go and see what teachers are up against. If you then still want to teach, then good for you and go for it!

piefacedClique Thu 13-Jun-19 18:49:00

Nope! It’s a Fucking miserable existence my school!

mizu Thu 13-Jun-19 19:05:14

And don't even consider going into FE. We don't have incremental pay.

I've been teaching EFL/ESOL to 16-19s and adults for years.

I run the department, I have been given opportunities to be more senior meaning fewer classes but haven't taken them up as the best part of the job is the classes and the students who are a joy.

23 years teaching in total most of them here, 5 abroad and I earn £29,500 and that includes the curriculum leader bit. And not wanting to brag but I'm a good teacher and ours is the department that is suggested when new teachers need to see great practice.

It's a tough job. Rare to have a lunch break. Lots of resources to create and never enough time.

I'm still here because I love the students and the job is local.

I would not want to work in a school despite the better pay though, the workload is worse.

pineapple95 Sun 16-Jun-19 00:46:20

No. Don't be a teacher. If you have other options, take them.

MrsZola Sun 16-Jun-19 19:24:49

Another vote for no here. Not the job it was, for all the reasons stated above. I left without a job to go to as the only wage in my house because my MH was in tattters. I was told (after 30 years) that I was crap and facing capability. I now teach part time, recently had OFSTED and been told all teaching in the school was good with outstanding features. If this job hadn't appeared, I'd have left the profession completely.

ThePurpleHeffalump Sun 16-Jun-19 19:42:44

Why do you want to be a teacher?
If travelling distracted you, and you didn’t go to university once you’d been travelling, and you didn’t work with children as a career choice, what was motivating you to dream of being a teacher?
What do you think you’d be doing as a teacher?
Lots of jobs are very hard, physically and mentally.
Teaching is the only one I’ve done where management doubt your ability all the time, no one trusts you to do the job, even after years of experience, everything from a lost jumper to Ofsted is a top priority with no prioritising and you are on stage having stuff metaphorically and often physically thrown at you for 6 hours. Then you start on the other half of the job.
So if your dream was some sort of fantasy based on St Clare’s, Matilda or Hogwarts, it’s not like that.
Or you can believe the government propaganda.

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