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Secondary Specialist to Primary Class Teacher?(10 Posts)
Hello. I originally trained as a secondary teacher (arts subject, not core) and enjoyed it for a few years. For various reasons, I have ended up being a subject specialist HoD in primary (overseas at the moment, private school although I will be back in UK 2021).
Over the years, I have fallen out of love with teaching the same subject all day and having to know hundreds of children. I think I would like to try my hand at being a class teacher in primary although I know it's a very different beast. I work in a primary school now, so I am totally aware of what the job entails - I just haven't done it. I like the idea of upper primary - year 5 or 6. Now, I've got my wants out the way I realise that this is much harder than it sounds to actually achieve. Has anybody made this switch? How did you achieve it and do you feel it was a good move?
I tried to do it a few years ago but didn't succeed. I have done quite a lot of specialist teaching within primary schools covering PPA and have done a lot of primary supply with a supportive supply agency but have yet to get even an interview for a permanent position. It may depend where you are - whilst there is most definitely a shortage of teachers of all the usual shortage subjects where I am, there doesn't seem to be an issue with primary teachers. Consequently, I guess I've been competing with NQTs who on paper have more primary experience than me! I eventually found a job in the private sector which means I teach my subject mainly in secondary but do some work in the prep school as well which worked for me. For many reasons, I am now counting down my to the end of term and no more teaching - resignation went in a few weeks ago.
Apply for jobs, talk to supply agencies, talk to the specialist PPA organisations (of which there are many) and you will find a way in, I'm sure.
Thanks Lostmyshityear9 sorry to hear you didn't succeed but sounds like you have a nice job. My home in the UK is South East so it's probably an area without a shortage.....I have chatted to a few primary teacher friends who think that my particular skill is coveted in primary schools and thinks I might stand a chance if I make enough applications. I think I might give it a try and see if I can get anywhere within a couple of years.
I did, many many years ago and I honestly think you'd be crackers to even consider it. It's not any better, behaviour is no easier to manage and the workload is even higher. Feel free to pm me if you want.
I am a primary assistant head - over the years we have appointed a few secondary subject specialists but only one has worked out. That one is fab though!
I think it would be better to start in Year 5 so you can learn on the job without the stress of Year 6 SATs accountability.
Would you be able to do some supply for a while to make sure it is what you want? I think there will be a LOT of supply work going and a lot of teachers will have re-evaluated during Covid.
I trained for secondary and hated it, so I switched to primary for my NQT year- but I hated that too. Turns out I am a special needs teacher. I have never looked back after discovering that- it is stressful but I would honestly carry on doing it if I won the lottery. It is important to find your niche.
I am a secondary trained teacher and taught in 3 inner city secondary schools over 10 years. Then I moved to primary teaching one if my specialist subjects as PPA cover. Its been 6 years now and I never want to go back to secondary teaching!
Unfortunately, where my school is there is a real R & R problem and even when we can get NQTs, they don't tend to stay longer than 2 years. (Some don't even complete their induction year.) So my PPA cover title has started to evolve more towards a class teacher position (even though that is NOT actually what I want to do). I would say I probably do about 50:50 teaching of my subject v other subjects. Sometimes more like 40:60.
If primary teaching is what you want to do, it's definitely possible despite training in secondary. You just have to find a school like mine in a deprived area!
My personal favourite year groups are LKS2. Year 6 can be almost like secondary school kids - a nightmare. Sometimes even Year 5 depending on the class. I wouldn't recommend being a full time class teacher though. From what I've seen in my school, the workload is even more stressful than at secondary when you only have one or two subjects to plan, prepare and assess!
Thanks everyone for the helpful responses. Much appreciated as I know it's not a very standard thing to want to do. Im under no illusion that it would be easier in any way- i think I'm just hankering after a change without leaving teaching as I can't imagine myself in a different world completely. Lots of food for thought anyway !
If you do decide to go into primary, I'd recommend you get completely on top of the core curriculum as that will be what you teach more than anything else. Make sure your maths is up to scratch and that you are confident when it comes to all the invented SPAG bits and pieces - those are the sorts of things that more recent trainees or teachers currently in English state primaries will have as an advantage over you.
Primary is a huge amount of work and it can feels
relentless. My secondary teacher DH has never really got his head around how primary teachers teach for a full day, every day (apart from a couple of hours of PPA)... and still manage to get 90 books a day marked - not that I have to do that anymore. It's a brilliant setting to teach in but there's little scope for recycling lessons so every day really is different!
I know someone who has done it - they were secondary, but then took a few years out with their own children. They went back first as a TA in primary for a couple of years, then got an HLTA job and then a teaching post. It took a while though and a serious pay cut to get there.
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