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Is teaching worth it?
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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 13:24

I’m 32 and I have 3 children aged 10, 8 and 5. I have a first class social sciences degree. I had a good few years out at home when mine were all super little and then I landed a pastoral role in a secondary school. After two years I left. Wasn’t treated great by SLT and the behaviour worn me down. Felt depressed for a while afterwards and low in confidence. During my time there I assisted teachers in certain lessons, and delivered whole school assemblies on my own so I do have some skills.

Anyway I took a few months out to recover and I now have an interview next Friday for a part time primary TA post. Obviously I am considering teaching If I get on well with this but I have this horrible feeling I’m just wasting my time. I don’t know any happy teachers. Do you think the profession will change any time soon?

I guess all I can do is give this a go. Thanks in advance.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 13:28

Forgot to mention, I can afford to be a TA, and I am happy to wait until my children grow older to really give it a good shot, but then I’ve read teaching can be quite an ageist profession? Is this something I should be concerned about?

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rosesinmygarden · 16/10/2020 13:55

I left in 2016 and am so glad I did.

Schools in general are really horrible places to work with so much bullying and unprofessionalism. The work life balance is non existent and teachers' mental health us very low down on the list of priorities for most schools.

My friend left and has gone back but only as a PPA teacher. She's in a nice school but all the same problems are still there she says. She's been asked to take on a class many times and simply says it's not worth it.

You will likely miss every single one of your children's school events and will be constantly told you aren't good enough. You will be set unreachable targets and criticised by anyone who comes in to support.
I did 18 years at the chalkface and dearly miss the nice things about my job but wouldn't go back for a million pounds. I habe some wonderful memories but I missed so much of my daughter's childhood that if I could go back, I would not be a teacher again.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 14:11

@rosesinmygarden

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. You have confirmed what I suspect. I like to go in with my eyes wide open to things. Perhaps I should see this role as temporary until I look at other options. Obviously I haven’t got the job yet, but I interview well.

I feel like every public sector role has issues at the minute. I have family and friends who are nurses and social workers, and who have advised me against. All the teachers I know are not happy other than one who is an early years teacher.

What a shame. I love working with kids, and I really want to have a profession. I don’t just want to have a soulless private sector job.

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rosesinmygarden · 16/10/2020 14:31

It is such a shame. There are days when I miss my old job so much. I was Maths leader and also organised all the school plays, concerts, recitals etc and ran Young Voices every year. Those were the things which I loved most about my job. In a class of 30, you are unfortunately never going to be able to to help every child and it is incredibly frustrating. As a TA though, you may well get to really have an impact on certain children. I would seriously consider it if I ever get fed up of what I do now.

Interesting that your EYFS friend is happy - is it her school do you think? EYFS is a huge amount of work and so much of it has to be done in school as unlike other year groups a lot of the work is preparing resources and activities which can't be taken home. Maybe she is really lucky and has found a school who treat her well.

I did really enjoy teaching, especially before I had DD. It's the type of job which takes over your life though and doesn't fit particularly well with family commitments.

I do still teach - just not in schools. I run my own successful private tuition business and I also do some teaching work for the local authority going into children's homes who are not well enough to be at school and teaching them from home. I also write educational materials and am an assessor for trainee TA's doing their NVQ's. It's all really interesting stuff, which allows me to do the fun parts of teaching, without all the rubbish!

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qwerty1972 · 16/10/2020 15:10

Teaching is wonderful: I can't imagine doing anything else. That said, I teach for an online school where I feel valued, lecture freelance for a local university and have a few wonderful private pupils. I personally wouldn't want to go back into school teaching (unless it was a one teacher school on a remote island).

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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 15:10

@rosesinmygarden

Yes it’s her school. She did leave one that she said was horrible. This school she teaches in now sounds a lot better. I fear that the good schools are now in the minority though.

Glad you managed to find a niche with your career. Back to the drawing board for me I think (long term). I’m more than willing to give the TA position a try, but won’t be under any illusions about a potential advancement into teaching.

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MrsHamlet · 16/10/2020 17:48

I'm a happy teacher, mostly. I love that I make a difference. I love my subject. I love my role.
It's bloody hard work and it can be terribly hard, politically, emotionally and practically. But I love it.

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Subordinateclause · 16/10/2020 18:21

As a primary teacher, I think in the right school, on an M5+ salary but with no extra responsibilities then yes it is. In the wrong school and lower down the pays scale, probably not.

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Meredusoleil · 16/10/2020 19:18

As a part time TA I think you should have a good work/life balance imho. We have several part time TAs in my school (mostly 4 days a week but one does 3) and they have been with us for years!

Good luck with the interview.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 20:29

I think my work/life balance will be fine as a part time primary TA, it’s just a shame the profession is in such a dire state. It would be nice to go into a new role with hopes to progress, but as I’m the sort of person who doesn’t tend to cope too well with micromanagement, it would be a bad idea to think I could handle the stress of teaching.

I know you have to make these decisions for yourself but when the overwhelming majority of people I know are advising me against it, I think I should listen.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 16/10/2020 20:32

I’m quite stubborn and I tend to NOT listen, however I’m not special, and if the majority find teaching unpleasant, then I’m pretty sure I would.

I presume the majority of teachers stay put in the roles because they’re not willing to take a pay cut elsewhere? I’m the sort of person who will move on quite quickly for the sake of my well-being.

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Fleabagster · 16/10/2020 20:33

My friends who teach in independent schools are all happy... worth considering.

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MrsZola · 17/10/2020 13:39

Many, many teachers who previously loved their jobs are running for the hills. The life span of teaching is the lowest it's ever been. There's very good reasons why this is happening so I'd definitely take a cue from that.

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Worriesandwobbles · 18/10/2020 12:19

Being a T.A doesn't pay particularly well, but if you have younger children the hours and holidays are perfect. I have often been asked why I dont train to be a teacher (I have an English degree) but I like the fact I can walk out the door and leave the job behind. No planning, marking, observations etc. I actually took a paycut this year to move to a different role that I knew I would enjoy more. I love my job but not sure how I will feel when my own children are older.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 18/10/2020 15:34

@Worriesandwobbles

Can you see yourself training to be a teacher when your children get older?

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Worriesandwobbles · 18/10/2020 21:25

No its not for me. I know I couldnt cope with the stress. I meant more that I won't be restricted to school hours or hols when my youngest is a teenager. My older children get paid more per hour at the local supermarket than I do ! I would love to have some time in the week at home when no one else is there ha and I waste half of every weekend catching up on housework. Also, I love working with children but I dont enjoy the politics between staff behind the scenes.

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Hibbetyhob · 19/10/2020 09:15

I love my job. On the whole.

But there are enormous frustrations too - basically that there is never enough time, or capacity, or money to support every child in a class of 30. So a lot of the job is constantly feeling like you’re failing someone / everyone. That’s a very hard place to be, emotionally & mentally.

Apart from the holidays (which are brilliant) its not family friendly...my dc are very used to going to school when they’re poorly (obv not currently with Covid!!) and know that mummy & daddy won’t be at school events.

The school you’re in makes a huge difference - I’m in a brilliant school now and that’s the only reason I’m still teaching. I also work part-time and that lets us still have family time at weekends (dh teaches too so always has work at weekends... when I worked more so did I and it left no time together).

It can be a very fulfilling role and you get to work with awesome people. The pay is pretty good once you’ve moved up the pay scale - I’d never earn what I do now on 3 days in another job without a lot of further training / experience!

I really really hope my dc don’t choose teaching as a career though.

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viques · 19/10/2020 12:29

I’m quite stubborn and I tend not to listen

I think you will find being a part time TA in a new school quite hard then.

And possibly they will find you hard going too.


Good luck with the interview anyway.

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Rabbitholebonkers · 19/10/2020 16:24

@viques

It was not said in that context at all. I have worked in secondary schools successfully as a support member of staff. I was asking other teachers if they thought it was worth transitioning from a support member of staff, to a professional.

I usually tend to make my own mind up about things, but when large numbers of people from the same profession are warning me against it, I am taking the advice. Not sure how that equates to being annoying.

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cherrypiesally · 19/10/2020 21:27

It will depend what phase you want to teach and what subject. I’ve been teaching sociology and either geography or history for over 20 years and I love it. I’ve been in a stressful school with hard kids, and loved it until new management changed the ethos, then moved to another school which I love and have been there a while.
Yes it’s stressful, it’s not child friendly except for the holidays but there is a lot of job satisfaction in the right school. I’m lucky as teaching a small Non NC subject means I’ve nearly always managed myself or had minimal interference though. I really enjoy teaching older students.

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Iamnotthe1 · 20/10/2020 06:47

I love my job. However, I only love it now because of very specific things:

  • I work in a great school with a strong yet sensible leadership team,
  • I have an amazing TA who is worth her weight in gold,
  • I'm a member of SLT and so have a greater degree of control over the things that affect me and other members of staff.

    There are ups and downs, of course, but being at this school and in this role has made a huge difference to me. If I'd remained at my former school, which had a very toxic environment, I'd likely still be feeling undervalued and unhappy.
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Rabbitholebonkers · 20/10/2020 08:08

Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

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CraftyGin · 20/10/2020 18:07

I am a generally happy teacher.

What I have found really valuable is that a PGCE can open doors (mine is in Science).

Since getting my PGCE in 1994, I have had career breaks and still managed to walk into new jobs. I am quite fussy, so will not stay in a post I don’t like. It is really so easy to get another job. I don’t think I am an amazing teacher, btw.

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likeafishneedsabike · 20/10/2020 19:11

The pity is that you sounds like you would make a good teacher! Realistic, opened minded, willing to listen - all good qualities in a teacher but it’s not a great profession to enter at the moment. I work part time to allow me to parent alongside teaching, but it shouldn’t really be necessary to work part time in order to have a weekend. When you think about it coldly, that’s a bit daft and a sign that teaching isn’t a sustainable job for adults with responsibilities.

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suk44 · 21/10/2020 02:55

My friends who teach in independent schools are all happy... worth considering.

On the other hand the job security is probably a lot lower in private schools right now and over the next few years. A number of schools have already permanently closed since the first lockdown and if it's anything like the last recession, then more schools will almost certainly fold or have to merge. Terrible timing for the pandemic to hit as a lot of schools in the sector were already under serious financial strain due to a huge increase in pension contributions, which has resulted in a significant number of schools having to withdraw from the scheme.

And don't do what some people do and assume working in a private school must mean good working conditions/supportive management. One example..

www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/teacher-relives-emotional-nightmare-13k-18894588

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