41 year old TA and stuck!

(17 Posts)
cazb78 Sun 12-Jan-20 16:31:05

Hi all,

I expect this post is similar to many that have been put on here over the years, but I need some help.

Here's my history in a nutshell. I'm 41 and have two children, 14 and. 11. I have a degree in Music and American Studies (why, oh why?!) In my 20s I worked at a university in alumni relations (sort of PR/Marketing). When I had my second child I gave work up for four years and so for the last 7-8 years I've flitted between various low-paid part-time jobs in retail and then four years ago I re-trained to become a Teaching Assistant. I work three days in a lovely local school and I do enjoy my job - mostly.

But somehow I just don't feel satisfied. I am lucky that my husband earns a decent wage, but in comparison my salary is minimal and to be honest I'm tired of him calling all the shots about where money is spent etc. Don't get me wrong, he never is mean and I am very lucky he is so good but I would like to contribute more and make this relationship more equal.

I have thought about training to be a teacher but everyone keeps putting me off. Has anyone else completely changed direction successfully? Has anyone else been a TA and changed career or used the qualification in other child-related careers?

Life seems hard at the moment. My mum has dementia and has been in a home for just over a year and I visit as often as possible. I guess this has stopped me from pursuing further training just now, but I suppose I can't continue to put my life on hold forever and there's always weekends.

Please help! I need positive stories to inspire me!!

Thanks for reading.

OP’s posts: |
RainMinusBow Sun 12-Jan-20 16:35:28

Don't become a teacher! I was one for 15 years but now a ft 1:1 SEN HLTA. The pay is appalling but my MH is soooooo much better!

My OH only earns slightly more than me working ft in social care and with two boys (and another baby on the way) money is tight. But I don't for one second regret leaving the profession!

ilovesushi Thu 16-Jan-20 14:49:28

Could you do something with your music degree? Music education? Is there a local music service where you live that might have opportunities?
Good luck!

MotherOfDragonite Thu 16-Jan-20 14:54:47

There are absolutely options for you! Your years of teaching assistant experience will be valuable in other roles in education -- as you have identified, you can definitely move towards becoming a teacher by doing a PGCE. But that's not the only option.

What are your priorities in a career? Do you have any restrictions in terms of hours per week, location, etc?

Are you more interested in working with primary school or secondary school students?

What jobs have you previously found most fulfilling? Think about why it was. It might have been the people you worked with, a sense of purpose or value in what you were doing, the size or type of organisation, working pattern etc.

Letseatgrandma Thu 16-Jan-20 14:56:58

I wouldn’t recommend being a teacher, it’s a terrible place to be at the moment and not really a sustainable career move.

MotherOfDragonite Thu 16-Jan-20 14:59:24

I disagree about being a teacher! I have friends who have retrained recently and they are really enjoying it (though, as always, working long hours). It is a valued profession with a certain 'status'. You can also work in independent schools as well as in state schools, and it is easy to change location and find new employers.

RainMinusBow Thu 16-Jan-20 17:11:22

Thing is, a lot of newly-qualifieds start out loving the job but after a few years of relentless pressure and ridiculous workload they begin to change their minds. Not sure of the exact statistic re teachers leaving but I know that retention is a huge issue. I stuck it out in primary for about 15 years before it totally wore me down! My family would all tell you (esp my kids) how much happier I've been and how much more present since I left smile

RainMinusBow Thu 16-Jan-20 17:14:08

Quick Google...

Of the teachers who qualified in 2017, 84.7 per cent are still in service one year after qualifying. That’s slightly lower than the previous year’s one-year retention rate of 85.1 per cent.

Worryingly, the five-year retention rate has also dropped to 67.7 per cent for those who qualified in 2013, compared to 68.5 per cent in the previous year.

MissClementine Thu 16-Jan-20 17:35:00

I can very much relate to how you feel about not being satisfied. I’m a couple of years older, similar age kids. Had quite an exciting career in a niche area which I enjoyed but lots of travel and was unsustainable when I had second child. Took a couple of years out (did some voluntary work and courses) and now in low paid charity role part time. I find it really boring and unfulfilling (other than that I’m helping a great charity)

I’ve been searching for jobs today but don’t want to return to previous industry and am loathed to return to full time work. Feeling really stuck and quite low. Husband on good salary but I don’t want to stop working as I want to contribute and not be out of work.

sandwiches77 Sat 01-Feb-20 09:03:44

OP similar story here too. I worked as a TA when my kids were primary school age, moved to the school office when they were a bit older as I thought those skills would be better on my CV as TA is quite liming. Once kids became teens, left school office for a succession of full time admin role and they have all been pants that is sucking the life out of me.

Had coffee with a senior work colleague who told me to consider what I wanted for my future. Great advice but not that easy, I don't have a degree. DH has a low to OK salary, we have a bit of debt, 3 teens.

Been looking at jobs, but only more low paid, boring jobs around... I'd be moving out of the frying pan into the fire

Piixxiiee Sat 01-Feb-20 09:15:33

I'm a teacher, if you enjoy working with the kids I would go down the teacher route. Start PGCE if you can.

hairyxmasturkey Sat 01-Feb-20 10:12:11

I beg you don't considered teaching. Hideous job. Yes I trained and walked away once qualified.

But I can understand how you feel- it's not fair that TAs are not valued more. You're doing a really important job.

hairyxmasturkey Sat 01-Feb-20 10:12:55

Consider *

missyB1 Sat 01-Feb-20 10:16:37

I’m a TA, my long term plan is to train as a youth counsellor and hopefully work in a school in that capacity.

museumum Sat 01-Feb-20 10:18:04

What’s more important to you? Earning more money or being more satisfied in your work? I’m sure there’s mileage in you combining your TA experience with your music degree. It could be very satisfying but probably won’t earn a big salary.

Mandarinfish Sat 01-Feb-20 10:19:29

I think that you should train as a teacher. Yes some people find it stressful and drop out, but others make a good career out of it and how will you know unless you try?

atankofskunks Sat 01-Feb-20 10:33:59

Musician here too OP. Surely with a music degree you have options? Private tuition/music hubs/peripatetic teaching??

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