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Thread for returning ex-teachers
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FlyTipper · 31/01/2018 17:47

I will be moving back to UK after an extended period out. I used to teach secondary science (specialist degree + GTP year + NQT year + 2 terms employed) but became disillusioned. Recent talk in the news about teacher retainment and going back to the classroom have got me thinking about taking up the profession on reentry. But this makes my thoughts turn to why I left 12 years ago:

  • the headboring numbness from discipline issues
  • high quality prep and assessment (marking in particular) was not possible unless I dedicated all my free time. I now have kids so this seems even less likely to happen
  • loving actual teaching but hating: teaching to tests, teaching topics of low value, seeing other teachers undermine school ethos (kids eating sweets in class, using IT to placate Y11, ignore poor behaviour e.g. verbal rudeness and insults).

    As alternatives, I'm thinking about perhaps trying private ESL teaching - teaching French and maths (science is a lot of prep and marking + safely issues) - going into supply (is that even possible after such a long time out - would I have to pass a certificate or something?) - working in a private or grammar school - working in the LEA or in education more widely (uni, publishing, training).

    I would be fearful walking into a classroom after such a long time out. I fear I would go back to old ways - sweaty armpits, facing a class of 30 undaunted, physically intimidating Y11s, wanting above all to turn about and run out the door!

    What are your thoughts? Are you thinking about going back into schools? What are your fears? What will you do differently next time?
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CraftyGin · 31/01/2018 18:33

As a Science Teacher you will be snapped up. Look at independent schools.

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Piggywaspushed · 31/01/2018 18:46

Be careful about assuming those issues don't occur in private schools!

Jobs in LEAs are thin on the ground and I am not sure what your niche there would be? Likewise jobs at unis.

Educational publishing does have avenues but I am not sure how lucrative or easy it is.

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FlyTipper · 31/01/2018 19:36

When I left the UK, there were still plenty of jobs in support staff (TAs), and further up the food chain in training and, god knows, people who monitor/help teachers/head teachers etc. So I'd vaguely considered that - but yes, I expected with austerity these things may be thin on the ground. Then there is higher and further ed. It was only after I left the UK that it suddenly dawned on me that I could have explored jobs in ed but out of the classroom rather than jacking the lot in. I need more imagination - or advice from you lovely lot. Would love to hear from others going through the same.

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Piggywaspushed · 31/01/2018 20:14

The people who monitor and help headteachers are very very high up the food chain ! It is not a job for someone with barely any teaching experience! Training and general LA roles were hard to get when they actually existed. And Higher and FE jobs are like hen's teeth.

If you look in the TES under 'Other Workplaces' you might find some interesting posts : it is rather subject to where you live. More jobs in urban areas, naturally.

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filga · 01/02/2018 17:04

I don't know where you are moving to, but I'm in London and people I know are paying £60-80 per hour for qualified teachers to tutor their DCs GCSE and A level science. I know quite a few people who are paying undergraduates £40+ per hour.

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Piggywaspushed · 01/02/2018 17:06

Out of London, A level tutoring is pretty lucrative (not as good though !). My friend gets £40 ph for A level.

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MiaowTheCat · 01/02/2018 18:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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ohreallyohreallyoh · 02/02/2018 06:05

I have never taught science but don’t assume it has more prep than other subjects. When I did my PDCE, MFL trainees had to do less hours than all other subjects because our prep was considered longer/harder. So that might leave French out for you!

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 07:21

Really?? I don't think that's the norm...

Maybe English teachers should do fewer hours because all recent studies who their marking takes much longer than any other subject!

Or PE an drama and music teachers should do fewer to acknowledge that they have to do more after school activities.

How bizarre!

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 07:23

although I do agree in principle that you were right to pick up on the assumption that any subject other than science would somehow be less time consuming!

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MaybeDoctor · 02/02/2018 09:24

You are right in that 12 years ago there were a lot of jobs around at the LA level - they have almost completely disappeared.

For reference, the route into those for subject advisory roles was generally to have been a subject leader or HOD with a lot of additional experience/exposure at LA level eg. running projects for the LA, mentoring other teachers etc. For school improvement roles you generally needed to be a HT or DHT.

I think that the routes open to you might be:

Main-scale teaching
Science education in a museum or similar
Science-based publishing

Have you considered doing a postgrad degree in order to top-up your skills? Something like:

www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/courses/graduate-taught/science-education-ma

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FlyTipper · 02/02/2018 09:45

Ooo, more replies. Great response, thanks! Yes, I just imagined that in French you waltz into the classroom and entertain in French!!! Science is a lot of prep - if you do a good lot of practicals that is - plus the usual marking you have for every other subject. But of course it's always to see things greener elsewhere. I remember the Food Tech teacher always had time on her hands to do clubs and extra stuff, while I felt as though I was sprinting a marathon.

I have a PhD in biology and have taught A-level Chemistry so I know these things are in demand. However, I DIDN'T realise the tuition was garnering so much pay! Shocked at 40 quid an hour. I get 11 Euros for English and Maths tuition at the moment.

Maybe Doctor I haven't explicitly thought about more qualifications, but I can see the sense. I would definitely be open to doing this, so great piste, thanks. Miaow - I sympathise with your predicament. There must be so many people in your shoes.

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MaybeDoctor · 02/02/2018 11:03

I think Miaow's situation shows something very wrong with the system as a whole - I came across some similar difficulties after only a year out of employment. My HT from one post had moved on and the school had no record of my reference. Agencies also made a real difficulty of accepting that I had been a SAHM for a year. If I went further back, new HTs in schools where I had previously worked refused to provide a file reference as they had no personal knowledge of me.

There should be a central registry where your most recent reference remains until replaced by another.

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MaybeDoctor · 02/02/2018 11:05

What I am saying is: she is qualified, she is experienced and she wants to teach. There is a teacher shortage. How could we join the dots here...? Hmm

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FlyTipper · 02/02/2018 11:09

Many women must take career breaks for family then come back to the profession, surely? I do feel there is a lack of planning and thought going into recruitment. Do supply organisations require up-to-date employment record? All my previous contacts in the UK have expired. My current employer is French so I doubt that'll count for much. Perhaps my only serious option is more training? Hmm...

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 12:24

I don't see that as a huge hurdle. If you were applying for a job you could contact the school and explain your situation. As you are science they would probably bite your hand off to get you, even before interview!!

It doesn't feel terribly like you want to go back to classroom teaching, though?

The food teacher was probably running clubs because they (and drama, music, art, PE) are basically expected to! All teachers in all our schools work hard in ways that are not necessarily seen or understood by teachers of other subjects.

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FlyTipper · 02/02/2018 13:14

Things have moved on - for example, the academies and free-schools didn't exist 12 years ago. Back then, you did clubs if you wanted career advancement (I mean, in my experience, which is admittedly narrow), it wasn't expected. I am exploring all options with regards to jobs. True, I left the classroom for very good reasons. I can't think why I'm considering a return. Except, except. It's what I trained to do. I still do basically teach, but not in a school setting, and I enjoy the interaction and the creativity. I miss the salary and social standing (but when I did work, I had no time to spend my salary and no social life to bask in my elevated social standing Grin). Sigh.

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 13:17

I think you could find the social standing has moved on too. Sadly.

I reckon you ought to look for part time in a nice school for a while (maybe a middle school if you have them near you or a small private school) and ease your way back in. You could supplement with marking/ tutoring!

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MaybeDoctor · 02/02/2018 14:05

Agencies can be very strict about references - see my experience and that of Miaow upthread.

Schools sometimes just want to go via an agency for supply work. Or they are happy to employ teachers on casual payroll. It really depends...

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monkeysox · 02/02/2018 16:01

Teaching is very different from 12 years ago Confused

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ohreallyohreallyoh · 02/02/2018 16:44

Yes, I just imagined that in French you waltz into the classroom and entertain in French!!!

Then you are clearly not cut out for language teaching.

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FlyTipper · 02/02/2018 17:03

I was being tongue-in-cheek hence the three exclamation marks. But I don't think it controversial to say that science teachers have a heavier load than other disciplines. Even if you just think about the number of hours spent on risk assessments...

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 17:26

fly no one is going to look kindly on you if you keep making sweeping assertions about other teachers' workloads...

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FlyTipper · 02/02/2018 17:48

I apologise - no doubt just negative memories resurfacing.

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Piggywaspushed · 02/02/2018 18:28

You need a school where someone else does those risk assessments! Pretty sure our science teachers don't.

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