Any Primary teachers?

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  • Any Primary teachers?
  • I’m toying with the idea of a career change. I don’t hate my current job, but I definitely don’t love it either; I very much work my hours then come home and forget about it. Which has its plus points, but I have a nagging desire to do something a bit more worthwhile. The pay is nothing to write home about.

    So I’m thinking about Primary teaching. It’s something I’ve always liked the idea of but never made happen.

    Anyone out there work in Primary and able to share any thoughts? I know a fair few teachers but they’re pretty much all Secondary.

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
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    All of the primary teachers I know, are now ex primary teachers, 2 left the profession after their first year.

    I’ve seen it burn both my sister and brother in law out. I’m sure it’s very rewarding and these people may not have been right for it, but they seem to work every hour available (including weekends and holidays) either marking or lesson planning, and all of them complain of society viewing them as social workers/parents to others kids, rather than education providers.

    If you like going home after work is done and not giving it another thought, then it may not be ideal.

    That said, I bet there will be loads of positive responses as well, I can imagine for the right person it would be the most amazing career.

    8 weeks off in the summer.

    #inbeforetheteachers 🙂

    Spin
    Member

    Where do you live? Very different in Scotland and England.

    Spin
    Member

    Only 6 or sometimes 7 weeks for most of us in Scotland at least nobeer.

    Premier Icon jekkyl
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    Plus one week at half terms, 2 at Easter and 2 weeks at Christmas. Plus you finish at back of 3 😄
    (only mildly trolling) plus you develop a condescending attitude that spills over into your normal life.

    Premier Icon lister
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    I work with different primary schools every week and meet a lot of teachers.
    Ten years ago and before they generally all loved their jobs and were happy to suggest teaching to other people, me included and I came close to training a couple of times but I saw reason!
    Now, while most have no plans to pack teaching in, there is a general sense of disillusionment with the profession and the idiots who are the ultimate leaders.
    Work most weekends, in early, home late. Parents who don’t parent anymore. A system that is happy to pile on more extra work without extra pay.
    It’s a tough job these days and don’t believe those who might suggest otherwise.

    Sorry Spin, 7.5 weeks (here anyway!) in summer, 2 at easter, 2 at christmas, 10 days in october, easter weekend… and so on…

    🙂

    Spin
    Member

    Sensing much jealousy…

    nealglover
    Member

    All of the primary teachers I know, are now ex primary teachers

    Pretty much this.

    MrsG was a primary teacher for 15 years and stopped last year, now does a job she can leave at the door of the office at 5pm and not take home. And she loves it.

    2 neighbours both primary teachers. One leaving at the end of summer and one seriously considering the same (both under 5 years in the job)
    Hard to leave once you have climbed the pay scale too as comparable jobs are less well paid.

    It not an easy job and people burn out quick it seems. The workload outside of school and on weekends is ridiculous (if you want to be even slightly “good” at it.)

    No really mate, just mildly trolling!

    It’s definitely a bit of a vocation more than a job, my daughter isn’t long finished at primary school, her teachers were all really good (and 6 out of the 7 were bloody braw as well!) but I definitely got the feeling that it’s a young persons game now, they were all under 40.

    All my primary teachers were over 50. They all seem to be fairly ambitious now, either that or desperate to get away from the wee bastards! 🙂

    Premier Icon w00dster
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    The wife is a primary teacher. Obviously there are some positives, decent pension, pay is ok (about £30k) and holidays.
    The downside is the amount of hours. She goes in for 0745 gets home at 1700. When our children go to bed at 9pm she will then do another 2 hours work every night. Every Sunday she also does at least 4 hours. As it’s report writing time at the moment, she will also have to work all weekend. During the working day she doesn’t really get any breaks, there is always something happening, so lunch is normally a working lunch.
    The other downside is you have to deal with parents, she has twice been physically threatened by parents (one dad and one mum). The dad who threatened her then went and made a complaint, even with CCTV showing how he was using his size to intimidate and shout at her the school tried to make my wife apologise. Generally you are always in the wrong and the parents are correct.
    She loves it, but it’s not a profession where you can expect to just do a 9 to 5 and forget about work until the next day.

    Spin
    Member

    Primary is a different gig from secondary in ways you might not think at first. The primary teachers I know seem to be under much more pressure to evidence their planning and preparation rather than just doing it, submitting lesson plans in advance and such like.

    nealglover
    Member

    The dad who threatened her then went and made a complaint, even with CCTV showing how he was using his size to intimidate and shout at her the school tried to make my wife apologise. Generally you are always in the wrong and the parents are correct.

    Wow.. Your wife needs to move to a better/more supportive school 😳
    They are certainly not all like that!

    Premier Icon lunge
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    My wife is in the process of leaving after 10 years. The good bits are truly wonderful but they’re more than outweighed by the negatives in her eyes.
    The hours are really long if you include the planning, marking and report writing at night and during holidays. She’s got high standard won’t compromise on these which meant she is/was a brilliant teacher but that takes time to do every day.
    She wouldn’t suggest it to her worst enemy, it’s broken her mentally on more than one occasion and the journey back to well being has been long and her.

    Scamper
    Member

    Hope to start Primary training in Sept. At 47. With 3 small kids. 🤔 Most seem to think I’m mad, but then I talk to teachers who are on the whole encouraging. Got my maths test today in fact. I’d suggest trying to have a few days observation to see what it’s all about.

    Premier Icon lister
    Subscriber

    Jesus, it’s not nice to hear these stories, even though they don’t surprise me.
    What the **** have we done wrong to get to the point where a job that should be so joyful is so terrible?
    I get to take primary school kids on outdoor activities every day and 99% of them are happy with an appetite for fun and learning.
    It scares me that our primary school teachers, setting kids up for the future, are so browbeaten by the system.

    Mrs M used to teach at primary, she loved the job BUT the horrendous workload got too much, 60-70 hour weeks, massive amounts of planning and evidence collection as well as reports.  Oh and don’t get me started on OFSTED Nazi’s.  Change of Head was the final nail in the coffin.  Mrs M had 3 kids with behaviour issues so had to run a tight ship but new head decided that if kids kicked off you had to ask them “if that was the outcome of their actions they wanted?”  Bear in mind kids were 5-6.

    I’m glad she’s left as I have my wife back, yes it was a hit to the wages but I don’t have a stressed wife anymore.

    Sorry Spin, 7.5 weeks (here anyway!)

    Where us this, I will move.

    I teach secondary. Primary looks a lot tougher from a workload perspective. I get to work at 7.30ish and finish mostly by 4.30. Rarely do more than a couple of hours at home at the weekend. When I pick my son up from after school club at 50-5.30ish most of his teachers are still working. Son had to have written feedback in his books before he could read, I was flabbergasted at the waste of a teachers time.

    Havent had an above inflation pay rise in about 10 years either.

    Cheers all, that’s given me a bit of perspective. I used to work in a primary school in a support role about 20 years ago, it seems like things have changed a lot for the worse since then. Might be time to go back to the drawing board…

    Where us this, I will move.

    South Ayrshire, 28th June to 20th August, Though teachers have inservice days 16th and 19th August – you get to bring your games on those days eh? 🙂

    Spin
    Member

    Get into a school and see what you think first hand then make a decision.

    Spin
    Member

    massive amounts of planning and evidence collection as well as reports.

    One of the biggest mistakes we’ve made in education in the last 10 years is to conflate the measurable and the valuable. I think most people acknowledge that they’re not the same thing but we’re still ploughing on as if they were. It’s depressing and fundamentally dehumanising for everyone involved.

    Get into a school and see what you think first hand then make a decision.

    That was pretty much my plan, but I figured tales of experience couldn’t do any harm 🙂

    BillMC
    Member

    The big change in teaching came under Woodhead and then exacerbated by Gove and academies, managerialism, numerical ‘accountability’, micro-management and excessive hours and falling pay. The contempt for teachers shown by these two plus politicians filters through to parents and kids. Add to that the toxicity of increasing poverty (among teachers too) and it makes it a tough job.

    Premier Icon oikeith
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    She goes in for 0745 gets home at 1700. When our children go to bed at 9pm she will then do another 2 hours work every night. Every Sunday she also does at least 4 hours

    Is that it! my wife leaves the house at 0630 and doesnt get home till 1830ish, her travel time is circa 30mins each way, but that’s a long day and she isn’t paid for all the hours she is in school. She will then get home and most evenings have more to do and then usually 6 hours on a weekend.

    Although the wage is good £30k-ish, I think for the hours she works she could earn the same sat on a till someewhere or stacking shelves, luckily she has a half good SLT at her current school so it doesnt drain on her too much, but it the school she was at before this a SLT change was less positive and more of a life/career ruin-er…

    Every primary school teacher and head-teacher I know (and I know quite a few) has suffered mental health issues as a result of their job.

    If you’re young and you don’t mind about work/life balance you may enjoy it for a few years but, even in the best schools be prepared to work under constant pressure with minimum support.

    One thing worth doing – keep an eye on your local authority job site where they advertise teaching vacancies. The frequency of job adverts for a particular school will give you some idea of how bad it is to work there!

    poly
    Member

    Don’t be too put off by the naysayers, you can take almost any profession and find that there are plenty of people in the job who tell you it’s the worst place ever and used to be better: police, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, lawyers, social workers, graphic designers, software engineers…

    Take a room full of people working in one place for a dozen years, and you have a bunch of jaded views and frustrated people who are being pushed by managers to do shit they don’t like.

    Jesus, it’s not nice to hear these stories, even though they don’t surprise me.
    What the **** have we done wrong to get to the point where a job that should be so joyful is so terrible?
    I get to take primary school kids on outdoor activities every day and 99% of them are happy with an appetite for fun and learning.
    It scares me that our primary school teachers, setting kids up for the future, are so browbeaten by the system.

    I think there may be a few things that amplify the culture of negativity in teaching. 1. A lot of teachers have never worked elsewhere; they have essentially only ever been in an educational institution and may not really have great perspective. 2. The only adults they speak to day in day out are other teachers – you get a massive echo chamber effect. Staff rooms are some of the least moral boosting places on the planet! 3. A chase for career, getting away from the classroom and/or more money means that you have promoted teachers who are not necessarily great managers.

    But anyone who has worked elsewhere will have experienced some degree of all those things and being a fresh perspective – I’m told that once you make it through two years life starts to become a little easier and you get a bit of a rhythm to it and can reuse previous materials etc. Obviously the school makes a big difference too.

    tjagain
    Member

    I know two ex primary teachers. Both retired early. One with mental health issues. I know one still in the job. Stress is hurting her.

    Want to do a good job it will break you.

    I’m told that once you make it through two years life starts to become a little easier

    So by inference you have less than 2 years teaching experience but already know more than those with much more.

    Most teachers I know have done other things too. I know relatively few who have gone straight from school to uni to teaching for example.

    I’m told that once you make it through two years life starts to become a little easier and you get a bit of a rhythm to it and can reuse previous materials etc.

    Hmmm… I think what tends to happen in most primary schools (IME) is that you only teach one year group for a year or so and are then moved on. By the time you get back to that year, any materials you saved will be well out of date.

    Coyote
    Member

    I think there may be a few things that amplify the culture of negativity in teaching. 1. A lot of teachers have never worked elsewhere; they have essentially only ever been in an educational institution and may not really have great perspective. 2. The only adults they speak to day in day out are other teachers – you get a massive echo chamber effect. Staff rooms are some of the least moral boosting places on the planet! 3. A chase for career, getting away from the classroom and/or more money means that you have promoted teachers who are not necessarily great managers.

    @poly, are you or have you worked as a teacher? Just wondering as I am married to a primary teacher and a good percentage of my friends are teachers.

    1. Some merit although I do know a few secondary teachers who had careers in engineering amongst others who took the PGCE and switched to teaching to gain a more fulfilling career. Most switched back.
    2. Bollocks.
    3. Some truth here. I have seen teachers, good teachers, promoted into senior management. Coming from a teaching background they generally have a good vision of how the school should run and improve. Unfortunately successive governments (of both flavours) have **** around and **** around with teaching and the responsibilities of head teachers and their deputies without the necessary training that many do struggle. Sadly due to the continued cutting of funding and lack of resources I don’t see it getting better.

    In short, having seen what being a teacher does to people and the amount of friends diagnosed with mental health issues I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not entirely negative, there are a lot of positives and many rewarding results along the way but it can come with a price.

    Premier Icon lunge
    Subscriber

    I’m told that once you make it through two years life starts to become a little easier and you get a bit of a rhythm to it and can reuse previous materials etc.

    Nah, you learn to cope and hang on, nothing more. And you can only hold that for so long before it gets to much. Then you collapse into mental health problems, or you quit. Or in my wife’s case, both. Yay.

    BillMC
    Member

    It’s not as simple as people moaning. I loved most of my 35 years in teaching, I taught abroad, was an examiner and an exam reviser, officer in an academic association, climbed the greasy pole, won a teacher’s fellowship, got told not to come in so early because in a PFI building it costs. I taught in working class comprehensives and amongst my past students are many professionals, a judge, an MP etc etc. But those changes I referred to above did it for me, out at 58.
    My daughter’s done two years of primary teaching (after 10 years in business) and she has to really slog away and that’s in a ‘good’ school.
    Oh and Poly, it’s ‘morale’

    poah
    Member

    Go to several schools (both good and bad) and see what it is like. Parents can be just as bad if not worse than the kids in some schools.

    I’m starting a PGDE in biology with science in August after having a research career and spending almost a decade as a stay at home dad (I was 44 this year). I’m doing it because I love science, talking about science and teaching science. The holidays have nothing to do with my choice and the money was only 22k when I applied for the NQT year (27k from next year). I’ve taught at university but this is going to be quite different. I have to say there is no way I could be a primary teacher, bad enough having my own wee shite kids at that age lol.

    I’m starting a PGDE in biology with science in August after having a research career

    Good luck, is PGDE scotland, I am a bit out of date…if you nedd any advice when it gets tough, which if you are doing it right it wiil, please get in touch. Been teaching Science and Biology A level almost 15 years now I think.

    poah
    Member

    @anagallis_arvensis

    yeah Scotland – going to be hellishly tough as I’m having to work part time, 3 kids and got a bit of travel to the uni. I’m only worried about the two 6000 word essays I have to do.

    Essays will be easy!! Bang them out, dont sweat about them and focus on the teaching!

    poly
    Member

    In short, having seen what being a teacher does to people and the amount of friends diagnosed with mental health issues I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not entirely negative, there are a lot of positives and many rewarding results along the way but it can come with a price.

    Which profession would you recommend that doesn’t come with mental health issues? I’m not suggesting that teaching is not worse than some, but lets not pretend that there is any career path which doesn’t suffer from these issues. As we start to become slightly more open about MH issues the “apparent prevalence” is only going to increase too.

    Coyote – no, I’m not a teacher. Have teacher family members and friends. The negativity of the staff room comes from the feedback of those who came to teaching from other professions, and resonates with my experiences in other “workplace staff rooms” – they become condensed bitching and moaning about the job/management/policy.

    Anagalis – no idea how you would leap to such an inference. Did you miss the qualifying adjective? Are Primary school more common to go direct? certainly the feedback from my friends is that teachers who have never worked elsewhere moan more about how bad it is than those who have seen how shit the whole world is. Lets be clear I’m not suggesting that teaching is great, just that there are plenty of shit places to work, and if you find teaching rewarding it might cancel out the negatives compared to having similar crap to deal with without a trade off.

    Bill – damn autocorrect – although it might work with that spelling too? 😉

    Go to several schools (both good and bad) and see what it is like

    But be careful how you define “good” and “bad”. An “outstanding” Ofsted school is not necessarily a good one to work in. Likewise one in special measures my not necessarily be a bad place to work for a classroom teacher.

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