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If you had your time over, would you still be a teacher?

(92 Posts)
finn1020 Fri 27-Dec-19 04:32:12

One of my teens is considering training as a teacher, potentially primary. For those of you who are teachers, if you had your time over, would you still choose it as your profession?

What are the biggest pros and cons? How easy is it to gain employment, and do you feel it pays ok with the potential for career progression etc?

OP’s posts: |
rillette Fri 27-Dec-19 08:44:01

This has been asked numerous times in the Staffroom, always with a huge range of responses which veer towards the negative. You will find you get different responses in person than on the internet. Encourage your DC to get some work experience, talk to real teachers and see what they think.

CalamityJune Fri 27-Dec-19 09:01:59

It's personal to each person. Some are more suited than others.

For me: yes and sooner. After qualifying, i got a job in a school that was not teaching, and was put off from pursuing classroom teaching by all the negativity. I have now made the move into the classroom but i'm way behind in terms of where I could have been by now in terms of pay and progression if I hadn't listened to the horror stories.

PenOrPencil Fri 27-Dec-19 09:08:53

There is a huge teacher retention crisis for a reason...
I would suggest work experience or volunteering and listening attentively in the staff room!

poppyeleanor Fri 27-Dec-19 09:48:46

Yes. I don’t kid myself that if I hadn’t gone into teaching, I’d be turning over thousands in the stock market. I had a 2:1 degree from a good university like thousands of other graduates.

I wouldn’t personally like primary at all, but horses for courses.

fedup21 Fri 27-Dec-19 09:54:54

What are the biggest pros and cons? How easy is it to gain employment, and do you feel it pays ok with the potential for career progression etc?

No, I wouldn’t have. I’m miserable, to be honest.

Work life balance is poor.
Easy to gain employment as there’s a recruitment crisis. Read into that what you will.

Pay is ok if you’re old like me and are top of the pay scale, but none of the younger people are processing through the pay scale normally now as schools have no budgets, so it’s likely pay progression will be poor.

If you want to be a head, yes there’s more money. However, it’s even less of a work life balance and huge amounts of stress. Heads are largely removed if a school does badly in an Ofsted though (every 3/4 years!) and that pressure is immense.

MaybeDoctor Fri 27-Dec-19 10:11:03

I would still have gone into teaching, but I would have left at a slightly earlier point in my career.

I strongly advise doing something else first. Schools are strange workplaces and I noticed that 'leaving teaching' was talked of in hushed voices in the staffroom, as if it was equivalent to failure. When I came to leave teaching my prior experience of other jobs (4 years after graduation) helped me to see that leaving teaching wasn't the end of the world and that there might be a job or role for me elsewhere.

YourOpinionIsNoted Fri 27-Dec-19 10:15:10


YourOpinionIsNoted Fri 27-Dec-19 10:17:00

Fat fingers!

Nope. 12 years, more bad than good, serious damage to my mental health, lost all love for my subject.

No career now, no career prospects. If I could turn back time!

fedup21 Fri 27-Dec-19 13:22:41

The fact that the only people over 40 in my school are me and the head is slightly worrying! Our ‘old’ (expensive) teachers were all either removed on compromise agreements or bullied out. Teaching is a job for young cheap staff now.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 27-Dec-19 13:36:21

I would still choose teaching but am glad I took the route I did - I have been in grammar/independent schools throughout my career and have been able to retain a passion for my subject (in fact, I love it more now than I did when I began) and teach it at a high level (have always taught in schools with sixth forms and have always taught that age group as part of my remit). I think if I had been confined to GCSE (I teach a core subject), I would have found that quite miserable.

I have also never had to deal with real classroom management issues: by and large, the kids are very well-behaved and pretty keen to please. I know myself well, and know that I would be a terrible, terrible teacher in some of the more challenging teaching environments and - had that been the route I had gone - this might be a very different post!

Anchovies12 Fri 27-Dec-19 13:40:26

Yes - I trained in secondary science 6 years ago when I was 33 and I absolutely love it. No harder than my previous job in terms of hours/conditions.

TheReluctantCountess Fri 27-Dec-19 13:45:45

No way.

DickDewy Fri 27-Dec-19 13:47:15

Primary and secondary are a million miles apart.

HopeClearwater Fri 27-Dec-19 13:58:22

Primary here. No. I’ve wasted my brain and my time. The pay for what you actually do is rubbish. It’s massively affected my family life for the worse. It’s not a job which is respected (people saying ‘I don’t know how you do it’ is not respect). Staying in the classroom rather than climbing the greasy pole by manipulating data is not respected. I now find myself one of the oldest in my school (I’m nowhere near retirement age). Everyone else has got out. I like the kids and I have some great colleagues. But it’s not enough.

Tw1nset Fri 27-Dec-19 14:07:04


I laugh every single day
I love my job and my subject
Guaranteed weekends ( not a given elsewhere)
Long and frequent holidays
I can be quite flexible about when I do my work ( once or twice a week I leave work on the bell and work when the the children are in bed)
People tend to think I am some kind of saintly genius figure
I have travelled a fair bit with the job
My job is more secure than most

There are times when I have to work far harder than I would like ( same is true for most jobs)
Behaviour can be frustrating
I could probably have earned more doing something else ( I seem to be much poorer than most of my uni peers - but I married a non graduate and am shit with money- I earn way above average salary

Tw1nset Fri 27-Dec-19 14:07:40

For context I am secondary

rednsparkley Fri 27-Dec-19 14:08:31

I'm a TA but I see all the hoops my lovely teacher has to jump through every single day and I give thanks that I am a lowly TA. Nothing would induce me to make that jump

highheelsandweathercocks Fri 27-Dec-19 14:12:27

I'm also a lowly TA and I work with other TAs that are qualified teachers bit opted to drop back down in order to not have the paperwork.

That said, I'm still looking to do my PGCE when I finish my degree in a couple of years. Yes there's horror stories, but you get that in every profession.

onlyoneoftheregimentinstep Fri 27-Dec-19 14:20:18

Yes! I loved the job and worked for three years past my retirement age. My DIL retrained to teach and loves it too. You definitely have to have a passion for it though, and have high levels of resilience, as the pressures can be huge.

SallyLovesCheese Fri 27-Dec-19 14:25:09

Experienced primary teacher here. No, I wouldn't train as a teacher given my time again. I came to it after several years working in retail and as a TA. I've worked in decent schools and also godawful ones. I have been worn down by the constant scrutiny, the pressure on results regardless of the pupils themselves etc. etc. I will never return to classroom teaching. I am an older, expensive teacher and agree with a pp that the profession is hesvy on young, generally less-experienced teachers now. At my last school I was more experienced than the assistant and deputy heads!

I found it easy to get jobs wherever I moved and I do feel the pay is good (if/when you reach UPS). However, I really wished I'd gone into a different area of work, like being an accountant or electrician!

I'd never tell someone not to go into teaching if it's what they want, but to do it with their eyes open and have a back-up plan.

rededucator Fri 27-Dec-19 14:37:00

Which country? I'm in Scotland and I love my job but from what I've read England is much much more results focused and has the grammar/state school malarky

ninaricciapple Fri 27-Dec-19 15:07:58

YY. I think education in Scotland is on the up atm (some areas of severe development needed).

Lipperfromchipper Fri 27-Dec-19 15:16:23

Yes....but I’m a teacher in Ireland where we actually get paid a great wage, work less hours, have a great work/life balance and can take our breaks!

Goatinthegarden Fri 27-Dec-19 15:36:10

I teach Primary in Scotland and I absolutely love it.

I had a career in retail management before teaching and it pays less for probably a similar level of effort, but it’s so much more satisfying.

So much reward and satisfaction from seeing little people develop skills.
Children are amazing creatures to work with and they adore their teacher. Even (especially) the challenging ones..
You get to draw, sing, bake, craft, dance, run around a playground all in a day’s work.

Pay isn’t amazing.
Behaviour can be frustrating - we are seeing worse and worse behaviour in schools due to budget cuts.
Constantly paying for classroom equipment out of own pockets - we don’t have to, but when you haven’t got basic equipment it can be hard to resist.

I would recommend getting a standard degree in something that interests her first and then doing the afterwards PGDE/PGCE for two reasons. The first, if she doesn’t like teaching, she will have other career options. The second, and many people might disagree with me, but I think teaching is a job for people who are happy to go to bed by 10pm on a weeknight. When I was first out of uni, I wanted to be out in cocktail bars after work on weeknights, I was frequently more than a little fuzzy (hungover) round the edges in my first grad job. Others might have different experiences, but I couldn’t have been a teacher in my early twenties, I wasn’t mature enough in many different respects.

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