Any ex science teachers on here?

Home Forum Chat Forum Any ex science teachers on here?

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 47 total)
  • Any ex science teachers on here?
  • Hi,

    I’ve been teaching science for 9 years now and I’m thinking of leaving teaching for something else.

    70 hour weeks with constant pressure and hundreds of tasks to balance are sucking the joy out of life.

    If you packed in science teaching, what do you do now, is it better than teaching.

    I’ll miss teaching kids but as thats ~20h week and the rest is paper shuffling I doubt I’ll miss the profession.

    Martin

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    ive been a scientist for the last 14 years and Im thinking of packing it in to become a science teacher!
    Its the remorseless push for publications and difficulty in finding anything approaching a long term contract thats doing for me.

    Im not sure that helps.

    @Kimbers – come and teach at my lad’s school please, pretty please with knobs on, one of which will be the current Head of Science

    Kimbers, teaching is pretty long term but if the school doesn’t need you you can still get made redundant although its much rarer for my teaching mates than non teaching mates.

    Narrows one job off the list- scientist!

    Is biochemistry going to be as you describe?

    MrSmith
    Member

    Make crystal meth in your shed? Evidently it can be quite lucrative.

    Too high a chance of a mobster taking exception to having their turf muscled in on and knee capping me 🙁

    oldboy
    Member

    Slightly off topic, but I left university teaching recently because of the constant pressure to research/publish, when all I wanted was to do the best for my undergraduate students. Apparently that doesn’t figure too highly in the general scheme of thing anymore. At my university teaching came a very poor second to research. I was once even accused of overteaching by my line manager!

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    Martin yeah I did a biochemistry degree then been in genetics and mostly cancer research since then, salary isn’t great , funding these days is harder to come by than ever best I’ve ever seen is a 3 year rolling contract and they are rare lately.
    I really enjoy the research side of it but it can be frustrating and labs need to publish to survive, some team leaders handle that pressure better than others. There is more stable work to be found in lab management side of things but it’s not very exciting, health and safety officer being the extreme example of that which requires further qualification but can pay better.

    jag61
    Member

    Martin
    I think that is a quite widespread feeling throughout the profession. currently looking for a good way out, mrs G too, marking and planning till midnight most days plus weekends. OTOH it is nice to be appreciated by the government. Teacher shortages soon?

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Its the remorseless push for publications and difficulty in finding anything approaching a long term contract thats doing for me.

    Both my parents are teachers, the idea that it’s a job for life is changing. Lot’s of teachers at my old mans school are on short term contracts, which are renewed if you don’t question the heads questionable decisions.

    I’d rather be a scientist, you could always go and work for industry instead of academics.

    Martin yeah I did a biochemistry degree then been in genetics and mostly cancer research since then, salary isn’t great , funding these days is harder to come by than ever best I’ve ever seen is a 3 year rolling contract and they are rare lately.

    Also, do you know anyone who can offer me some work experience as that’s right up my ally.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    *waves*
    I did outdoor ed and science, so as well as some teaching stints, I spent most of last 15 years outdoors with kids. Same 70 hour weeks, without the pay or hols, but I reckon I could achieve as much a week as a term at school.
    Recently a change to basically training in service teachers to get outdoors. But that only works in Scotland where we have a government that believes in it, so is happy to fund my post. I Love it, but miss the team at the outdoor centre and the hills and rivers.
    It would take a lot to persuade me back to teaching.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    **** it this is depressing, I think I will just do graduate Med school and join MSF.

    Failing that, the Foreign Legion.

    zokes
    Member

    Narrows one job off the list- scientist!
    Is biochemistry going to be as you describe?

    Like any science, it Depends a lot on both skill and luck. I’d like to think more of it is the former, rather than the latter.

    I’ve not been too phased by the push to publish. Did my PhD by publication, so just carried on from there. No point in doing any research if you don’t publish it to tell other people how you’ve progressed your field. Try to design experiments that will yield a publication whatever the outcome, and provided you execute them well, you should be able to keep discovering new things.

    That said, probably not the best career if you don’t like the aforementioned 70 hour weeks

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    To be fair though, a lot of my postdoc friends feel really pressured to publish. I know a few people as well who are finding it hard to get employed because they haven’t published enough papers in enough reputable journals.

    The closer you get to biology research the more competitive it seems to become.

    Martin yeah I did a biochemistry degree then been in genetics and mostly cancer research since then, salary isn’t great , funding these days is harder to come by than ever best I’ve ever seen is a 3 year rolling contract and they are rare lately.

    Unfortunately that leads to more conservative papers and less work that is truly groundbreaking and interesting.

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    Change school………if you are any good your arms will be ripped off.
    Huge shortage of decent science teachers near London. Interviewed 4 in 2 weeks.

    Wally- I’m currently writing a job application and bored of it hence the question. I did supply for a year and that was ace, except for turning up in year 11 lessons and battling with demotivated kids to get them to do anything. 3 schools had a go at recruitng me out of the 10 or so I was at for more than a day or so.

    I’m not cut out for research. Did my dissertation and the idea that i could work on something for years and the answer could be no or it doesn’t work depressed me.

    Having jacked in reseaech about 8 years ago due to the idea of having to plough through at least ten years of short term post doc research before having any chance of buying a house or starting a family due to the short term contracts I would warn you to be careful. Depends how old you are and priorites I guess. Depending on the field it is massively competitive too. If you have a phd it will be out of date as well. I enjoyed it doing a PhD and about four years post doc but it was more just something I enjoyed and did rather than a career.

    ontor
    Member

    Science teacher, watching the thread with interest…

    Premier Icon Clink
    Subscriber

    @ Martin – I know lots of teachers in your position, my wife included. Not easy getting out though.

    So, does anyone know a science teacher who has left teaching and is enjoying their job and taking home a similar wage on less hours?

    This thread is making me feel like there’s no escape!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I remember being in a career bad place and my mother (head teacher) said she would back any choice I made so long as it wasn’t teaching.

    I’m glad I listened 🙂

    I stared in chemistry but in reality I wasn’t a chemist, bounced around a few other jobs and took some of the opportunities out there, most of my paid work in the last 3 months has been teaching to people in industry, very rewarding (in both ways).

    If you have skills and your head on then the world is out there. Pick up the jobs pages, chuck your CV out to some recruiters.

    Some of what happens next depends on your circumstances, how much do you need to live on? What commitments do you have?

    Ex-science teacher you say?

    EDIT: Damn you MrSmith, beat me to it: 😀

    Make crystal meth in your shed? Evidently it can be quite lucrative.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Linked in is apparently good for thinking about new directions – are you on that? I know a lot of people who have been laid off from pharma sites closing down and effectively formed support networks on linked-in to share info, opportunities etc. Teaching was a popular destination actually. Surprising how easy most of them found it to get new jobs, although getting laid off from an ostensibly stable job was a shock to they system that needed coming to terms with.

    Surely the short term answer is to stop working 70 hr weeks? I mean if that’s what you want to put into the job then great, but it sounds like that is part of your dissatisfaction. Is there not some bogus teacher groupthink at work here that says you have to be doing these hours to be a conscientious teacher? I’d take a scythe to that 50 h / week paper shuffling, personally. Surely you can work smarter here – is every one of your colleagues who you consider to be good doing these hours?

    globalti
    Member

    I work in an industry related to pharmaceuticals and a senior pharmaceutical industry exec told me last month that there aren’t really any interesting molecules left un-discovered. The industry is laying off hundreds of scientists as a consequence.

    He told me that bio-engineering is the next Big Thing, he said that when you get a viral infection doctors will infect the virus with a bacterium to kill it.

    zokes
    Member

    To be fair though, a lot of my postdoc friends feel really pressured to publish. I know a few people as well who are finding it hard to get employed because they haven’t published enough papers in enough reputable journals.

    That’s fair enough comment, I’ve just sifted through 39 applications to get it down to the six we’re interviewing for one postdoctoral position. The reason we couldn’t get it down much further is that pretty much all six (and probably more already discounted) would be capable of doing the job well. Publications have had an important part to play in that selection process, but they’re not the only things considered. As I said previously, whilst I hope my skills have had a lot to do with me getting to where I have in such a short space of time in my career, there is undoubtedly a healthy dose of luck also.

    Whilst I think the pressure to publish has become a little extreme, especially for non-tenured staff, I do think there is a certain amount of merit in it. There are too many scientists who spend most of their careers publishing little, which is frankly a waste of research funds, if they’re going to do research then never report its findings. Non-published research is an oxymoron.

    I work in an industry related to pharmaceuticals and a senior pharmaceutical industry exec told me last month that there aren’t really any interesting molecules left un-discovered. The industry is laying off hundreds of scientists as a consequence.

    They should come and work in my field. Soil organic matter is pretty much just a vast array of interesting, unquantified molecules!

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    globalti – Member

    I work in an industry related to pharmaceuticals and a senior pharmaceutical industry exec told me last month that there aren’t really any interesting molecules left un-discovered. The industry is laying off hundreds of scientists as a consequence. Many reasons why big pharma is finished as an R&D endeavour, none of which are to do with a lack of interesting molecules available for discovery. A truly laughable idea where it not for the fact that he might actually think that. Incompetent management by senior pharmaceutical industry execs, OTOH, would be right up there as a reason why the industry is laying off hundreds of scientists.

    TiRed
    Member

    a senior pharmaceutical industry exec told me last month that there aren’t really any interesting molecules left un-discovered

    Yes they said that about Physics about a hundred years ago 😉

    Many reasons why big pharma is finished as an R&D endeavour

    Well if you’ve seen the price tag for the Phase 3 study I’m designing, I might beg to differ. Most people have no idea of the sheer magnitude of investment requried to take a new “drug” through to being a “medicine”.

    I switched from professional Physicist to Biology and onto Clinical Pharmacology. It’s very rewarding, but like most careers, has frustrations. There are always opportunities for highly organised scientists in clinical trial operations posts. My field requires higher training, but a Wellcome Trust funded PhD is not an insignificant salary.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Well if you’ve seen the price tag for the Phase 3 study I’m designing, I might beg to differ. Most people have no idea of the sheer magnitude of investment requried to take a new “drug” through to being a “medicine”.

    Where did the agent you are developing a trial for originate? Because that is what I mean by big pharma getting out of the R&D effort – there will be a minority of stuff developed in house but the vast majority will come from smaller companies outwith big pharma. Once the molecule looks like it has potential as a pre-clinical candidate / phase 1 player the big companies will buy it up as they are the only ones with the financial muscle to conduct clinical trials and marketing of a medicine.

    david jey
    Member

    My career path is sort of relevant – I was convinced teaching (science) was what I wanted to do as a biochemistry undergrad. Began PGCE, realised within months that this was not for me. Quit once I got accepted to do a PhD.

    Since finishing PhD:
    18 months at a medical comms/information science firm. That went belly up and we all got made redundant.
    3 years at an NHS/government health regulatory quango doing more med comms, project management, critical analysis of clinical data etc.
    Now 6 months into working for the NHS (NICE to be precise) doing systematic reviews for clinical guidelines.

    Just a flavour of the sort of stuff thats out there!

    avdave2
    Member

    Well if you’ve seen the price tag for the Phase 3 study I’m designing, I might beg to differ. Most people have no idea of the sheer magnitude of investment requried to take a new “drug” through to being a “medicine”.

    I do more medical conferences than anything else, I’ve done dozens of investigator meetings for phase 3 trials and as yet I’m not sure any of those molecules have made it to market. The costs really are astronomical and those drugs that do get to market have to pay for all the research and trials of the vast majority which never become a marketable product.

    freeagent
    Member

    My wife has been a science teacher since graduating 15 years ago.
    She still loves the teaching aspect, but is utterly sick of the pointless paperwork + politics.
    They’d been overdue an OFSTED inspection at her school (finally had it last month) and had been having ‘mocksted’ inspections run by senior management almost weekly for the last year – pointless and draining for everyone.
    I think she’d happily walk away from it, but the school holidays are pretty great while we have little kids of our own.

    TiRed
    Member

    Where did the agent you are developing a trial for originate? Because that is what I mean by big pharma getting out of the RD effort – there will be a minority of stuff developed in house but the vast majority will come from smaller companies outwith big pharma

    Biotech – but your second point is valid. I took it into Phase 1 though. It was the idea that there are no new molecules to discover. Biotechnology would say otherwise and I have over 10yrs experience workinig on monoclonal antibodies.

    To the OP, you didn’t say what your Science was, but I think there are plenty of opportunities out there. You’ve already demonstrated that you can assimilate, communicate and (hopefully) motivate. Next step is to think about whether you want to stay working with people or move into a more technical scientific role. Or retrain.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    To the OP, you didn’t say what your Science was, but I think there are plenty of opportunities out there. You’ve already demonstrated that you can assimilate, communicate and (hopefully) motivate. Next step is to think about whether you want to stay working with people or move into a more technical scientific role. Or retrain.

    No need to retrain, plenty of people will see the experience good for other fields. There are plenty of jobs that require a good thinking brain but no formal training.

    Premier Icon Mark
    Subscriber

    I was a physics teacher. I left to start a mountain bike magazine and a website – You may have heard of it :-). I was fed up with the pointless admin that was prioritised over and above the teaching of kids. That was 15 years ago and it sounds like nothing has really changed in terms of those priorities.

    I still don’t earn what I would if I was teaching but I’m a bloody sight happier :-). I think lots of teachers would do fantastically well out in industry – there are a lot of transferable skills that employers would value – organisation, planning, management, public speaking etc. But I think the problem is often that the education sector has a tendency to institutionalise teachers into thinking that’s all they are really qualified to do. I don’t think that’s true.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    What research route that wouldnt leave me unemployed would you guys suggest?

    Could someone expand on the subject of bioengineering being a good area to get into, do you mean specifically bacteriophage therapy….or any biotech area eg nanobiotechnology etc

    I really don’t know what to do with my life.

    Premier Icon lapierrelady
    Subscriber

    Have you trid working in the independent sector? (ducks)

    Premier Icon lapierrelady
    Subscriber
    gee
    Member

    Work smart and work efficiently. 70hr weeks are nuts.

    Marking is one way of cutting time – think about what the point of marking is – showing how to improve – and go from there. If I’m writing the same thing on every book I stop and just tell them all the write the same target in. Spending more than an hour and a half on a set of books is unsustainable.

    I get masses dealt with via my phone as my emails all come through to that.

    I’m at my desk by 7am, always come in to no emails as all dealt with in front of TV the previous evening. I leave at 4pm unless I have meetings or events then do an hour or so planning at home post-ride.

    I am anally organised in terms of lesson resources saved in folders, batches of copying etc. Just try to do everything as efficiently as possible and you’ll get your life back. I live by ‘only touch each sheet of paper once’.

    When I started out, my mentor said 6yrs in and it gets easier – they were right. Now in my 9th year and it’s a very rewarding and enjoyable job.

    GB

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Interesting point gee makes.

    My sister works like a lunatic, and moans bitterly about it the whole time. But I suspect she does a lot she doens’t need to.

    Premier Icon timidwheeler
    Subscriber

    My sister is an NHS scientist. She did her degree in biochemistry, specialising in genetics. The NHS are helping her with her PHD which she has nearly finished.

    TiRed
    Member

    Could someone expand on the subject of bioengineering being a good area to get into, do you mean specifically bacteriophage therapy….or any biotech area eg nanobiotechnology etc

    Bioprocess engineering. The production of therapeutic proteins by effectively mass cell culture. 6/10 of eh world’s best selling medicines are therapeutic proteins ad most of the forthcoming medical advances in drug therapy are likely to come from the same route.

    Or you could go into brewing – it’s pretty much the same skill.

    Bump,

    I’ve still not found another job teaching.

    Any other suggestions? I’m not going to go into research/ do a pHd.

    Cheers

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    OP I’d look to move to industry. I post-doc’d for 7yrs and decided that I wouldn’t make it to run a group so moved to Biotech. I’ve worked in 3 companies for the last 12 years and now run my clinical genetics company which I’d partner in. Although it’s hard to get into industry good people progress. The main issue you find is that lab scientists sometimes have a negative view of industry, particularly the sales side.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Get into brewing maybe? Real ale is an unstoppable force at the moment, which does suggest that the optimal time may have passed (at least in the UK) to get involved, but there are surely still opportunities.

    If you could go overseas with it that might be easier. Train to brew here in the UK – the temple of ale. Then go forth as an ale missionary to distant lands, casting out lager to the outer darkness.

    Real ale bar in somewhere like St Sebastian, Northern Spain, would be bang tidy.

    My university had a brewing degree, one of 2 in the english speaking world at the time, but I hated beer with a passion at uni and never thought about how employable a brewing degree would have made me.

    Perhaps that might be a goer.

    Cheers!

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 47 total)

The topic ‘Any ex science teachers on here?’ is closed to new replies.