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Career change: teaching

(20 Posts)

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Bishbashboom Wed 09-Sep-20 12:05:38

I'm thinking of a career change and im always wanted to go into teaching but I hear so much bad press.
I'm currently in the nhs so used to working long hours, unsociable ones too.

However, I thought I'd ask any teachers on here for any advice? And even go so far as to ask if you would still go into teaching if you were to choose your career again?

OP’s posts: |
Cattiwampus Wed 09-Sep-20 12:08:24

Find the staffroom board on MN.
There are hundreds of threads answering your question.

Ihaveoflate Wed 09-Sep-20 13:00:34


Sorry, ex-teacher here and I left after 14 long years. I'm glad I had the career that I did because it led me to my current position, but I would never recommend it to anyone.

I won't get into a debate about it on here because trying to explain how awful it is to people is very hard when they haven't experienced it for themselves. It also very much depends on what type of schools you end up teaching in - cultures can be very different even in similar settings.

As pp suggested, try over in the Staff Room section for a far less jaded response than mine.

Harrysmummy246 Wed 09-Sep-20 15:37:36

Wouldn't go back to it now, no.

Enjoy private tutoring

sanityisamyth Wed 09-Sep-20 15:41:29

I've just left after 13 years. I do some supply days when I'm not at uni (retraining) and every day I come out thinking that quitting a full time permanent job was totally the right thing to do.

LilyMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 09-Sep-20 17:57:35

We're just moving this thread over to somewhere more appropriate, OP. flowers

kiwibee Wed 09-Sep-20 18:27:11

Don't do it. Pretty poor working conditions that have been gradually declining over the last decade and high levels of stress. With Covid it's hellish.

PenOrPencil Wed 09-Sep-20 20:17:19

At the moment with Covid it is beyond nightmarish. In normal(er) times I would say it’s a stressful job, lots of pressure but in the right school it could be great. If there might be a way back into your old career why not give it a go? We need good people, quite desperately.

Subordinateclause Wed 09-Sep-20 20:44:45

Secondary or primary? They are very different.

MrsHamlet Wed 09-Sep-20 20:53:15

22 years in. Secondary English. It's the best job in the world and also the worst. It's relentlessly hard but you get to change lives. I'd do it again.

BackforGood Thu 10-Sep-20 00:13:32

I'm glad I did it. I've had many, many fab times.
I've also realised how bad the conditions are and have advised all three of my dc against it. shame, as one in particular would make a fab teacher.

Kidneybingo Thu 10-Sep-20 19:13:42

Probably wouldn't do it again. My pay is decent 'cos I'm old! But it's very stressful and I don't find that that really lessens with time because any given year can throw up very difficult classes for example, plus constant change. I do enjoy actually teaching, but I look at all my friends, all on at least the same or more money, and they all have more flexibility, WFH pre Covid, seem to have more ebb and flow of busier and quiet times, plenty of leave, definitely not 4 weeks as people say here, and most crucially, all seem to find it easier to make changes to their work life if they aren't happy. Moving schools can help a bit, but fundamentally, a school is a school.

willingtolearn Thu 10-Sep-20 19:21:30

I'm a nurse from a very acute environment that moved across to teaching early this year, hoping it would be better than the NHS.

It isn't. It has similar under resourcing and overworking but it feels like your shift never ends - you just move to another location (home) and carry on working there, taking the stress with you.

Mind you, I may have picked the wrong year to try it out!

Cocopops2020 Thu 10-Sep-20 19:53:26

I’m considering moving OUT of teaching. Just fillies of bullies. I would never recommend it to anyone. Why not do a few weeks in different school as a volunteer (very difficult now tho as covid wont allow visitors)

Cocopops2020 Thu 10-Sep-20 19:53:37

Oops excuse typos

CraftyGin Thu 10-Sep-20 20:19:20

I love my job.

I lasted my first teaching job where I thought getting pregnant before the end of my first year was a good out.

However, having a PGCE was brilliant, as I could go back into teaching any time I liked. Being a Science teacher, I can pick my own schools.

Having a PGCE has been great for our family. For example, when DH was made redundant and out of work for 9 months, I was still able to bring in a meaningful wage.

I am in school from 7 - 4, and then do not feel compelled to do any work at home. I typically do about 30 minutes max, to answer any emails and do my house points.

Phineyj Fri 11-Sep-20 18:58:25

I have been in teaching 10 years and was a career changer (I worked in the NHS in a fundraising role among other things). I don't regret my move and still enjoy it, however, I have been quite strategic in school choice and role choice to get good conditions. So much depends on the leadership team at any given school! NHS experience does mean you understand how institutions work and how to meet your own objectives within them. I found the education jargon hard to grasp to begin with - it was easier in health where a lot of terms were standard, but schools vary so much. The first couple of years were very hard work, however, and the training is brutal - I also found much of it completely irrelevant to what I actually needed to know. One really weird thing is you have to show you have knowledge of some aspects of education very far from what you've been hired to teach (for instance primary phonics when you're a sixth form specialist) but your subject knowledge is simply assumed - and you can be asked to teach quite random things that don't relate to your subject (mine's Economics but for reasons too tedious to relate here, I had to train in RS). The training organisation also clearly disapproved of both grammar and independent schools. It was therefore not easy to get advice for those environments. You had to lie low at the back of the room...(it may be different nowadays with more training on the job?)

Bottom line - if you like being with young people they can be very funny, energising and insightful and at its best you get to spend lots of time with a subject that interests you. I have made some great friends too and have found other teachers really helpful with resources and ideas, especially when I was a beginner.

Phineyj Fri 11-Sep-20 19:03:39

I do about 35-40 hours a week on a 0.66 contract. I don't work much in the holidays - I spent a couple of weeks this summer updating paperwork and setting exams (I'm a HOD of a small department). I would be unlikely to take a full time job unless there was something really attractive about it - I'd rather be part time and not have to work all weekend.

wasgoingmadinthecountry Fri 11-Sep-20 19:21:34

The first part of my career was secondary and I've now moved to primary.

On one hand I get to spend my time with lovely young people every day - a real joy. On the other we get such nightmares as "deep dives" where colleagues come and tell us what we're doing wrong. Every. Week. To be fair I monitor staff over our 4 primaries too in my management role. The tick boxing, expecting children to all make above average progress etc is the thing that will send me out of the building screaming. Plus pointless meetings. Worst thing, given the extra time we all put in where I work, I feel aggrieved being ordered to stay on site till a certain time on Inset days. I want a bit of autonomy and recognition of my professionalism. It's the time it takes - if you can be happy saying I'll never get it all done and be happy saying this is the best I can manage you may love it.

BackforGood Fri 11-Sep-20 20:59:26

I think @wasgoingmadinthecountry has summed it up well.

It's never been about been underpaid or overworked, it is about the balance of complete box ticking exercises, pointless paperwork and completely ridiculous things you are expected to do. The actual teaching is the lovely part. Over the decades, the % of time you spend teaching has got smaller. That's why it's not appealing anymore.

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