It has just occurred to me that I have written all kinds of reviews for this site yet I haven't ever really talked about what I have spent the last four years doing!
I have always known that I wanted to go to university but my career ambitions have ranged from wanting to be a vet to wanting to be a psychiatrist. However by the age of 16 I begun to appreciate the 'art' of teaching and realised that it may well be a path I wanted to follow. I went to college and did a mix of A levels. When it came to applying to Universities I was suffering from some pretty severe health problems including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) and depression and anxiety disorders. I wasn't convinced that I would even end up going to university but went to some open days none the less. Not knowing what else to do but feeling quite passionately about teaching I decided that teacher training was the way to go. I applied to Brighton University and Chichester but Chichester cancelled the course so my only hope was to get the grades needed for Brighton - I did and I succeeded at interview so I was to spend the next four years training and Brighton.
My teacher training course is one with a bit of a difference. It is official name is "BA (hons) Upper Primary/Lower Secondary Education with QTS specialising in Information Communication Technology". It's a bit of a mouthful and is called the UP/LS course for short. It basically means that by the end of my training I will be able to teach in both primary and secondary schools but will specifically be trained to teach the transition stage (children aged 8 to 14). It means that in primary schools I will be able to teach every subject but will be an ICT specialist whereas in secondary I will just teach ICT.
Due to my health problems I had to drop one A level at college so I was only doing two (Psychology and ICT). I already had points from my AS levels which were B, C, D grades. Then from my two A levels I got two B's and this was enough for me to get onto the course at Brighton. The other requirement was that I had to have a C or above in English and Mathematics at GCSE. Seeing as I have an A in English and a B in Mathematics this was no problem. Following applying through the UCAS system I had to go to an interview at Brighton University. This consisted of the questions you would expect about why you want to do the course and what experience you have working with children. Brighton also have an additional requirement that you have spend some time in school working with the age group you intend to teach. This is more so that you know what you are letting yourself in for when you start the course but you will be expecting to talk in detail about this experience at interview.
The course comprises of two aspects: teaching placements and university modules. The university modules for the first year were primarily based around the primary school, I had modules on each curriculum area as well as module on education studies which look at the more general issues surrounding teaching, learning and education as a whole. Then there were some specialist ICT modules which were to develop my subject knowledge.
In the second year the focus was secondary teaching. In this year they were mostly ICT modules and the focus of the education studies modules was issues in teaching in the secondary school. These modules were to prepare us for the secondary placement.
In the third year we were back to primary. This time going into more depth in the primary curriculum areas and education studies modules with a few specialist ICT units dispersed in between them. All of this was in preparation for what would be our final primary placement. Towards the end of this year we also started a unit to prepare us for the dissertation we would write in our final year.
The fourth year started with a weeks lectures in preparation for the final secondary placement but these were not official modules. The placement starts straight away in this year therefore the modules will take place when I return to University in February. These will consist of specialist ICT modules, Education Studies modules and a dissertation module. By the final year there is a much higher expectation that self study will be the focus.
On this particular course, there are no exams and all assessment is through module assignments which are graded on a percentage basis or some on a pass/fail basis.
Academic modules in year one are at level one and although you have to pass this year to move on to the second year, these module results will not count towards the final degree classification. In year two the modules are at level two requiring a higher standard of writing and these will count towards the final degree classification. In year three most of the modules are at level two, however some are at level three, these require the highest standard of critical writing and weight much more heavily towards your final degree class. It therefore makes sense that in the fourth and final year, all modules are at level 3, including the dissertation which counts as three modules and will therefore have a significant impact on your degree classification.
I have found the modules quite challenging but not horrific. Most of them are very interesting and I feel that my ICT has improved significantly, as has my understanding of education. I feel least confident in teaching all of the subjects in primary as this requires such a vast bank of knowledge but on the basis that I intend to end up in secondary this isn't really an issue for me.
One of the main features of this and any other teacher training courses is the school placements. Personally I feel that I have learnt more from the real life experience of being in school than I have through university lectures and books.
In my course the first year has a primary school focus therefore we were sent on placement to local schools. This placement was one day a week as a rolling placement so one week we went on a Monday, the next week on a Tuesday, the next week on a Wednesday and so on. This enabled us to experience every weekday which still having university lectures. This particular placement in a paired placement and was not assessed. The idea of it was to get us used to the primary school setting and to get some basic teaching practice. I enjoyed this placement and at the end of it we had two weeks solid in the school which at the time seemed like ages!! I had a year 3 class and they were fairly easy to manage which was a nice start to the whole teaching experience!
My placement in the second year was in a secondary school and was an 8 week block placement. This was a very different experience to the primary school but I actually preferred it. The duration of the placement meant that we were there long enough to establish some authority and a proper presence in the classroom. During this placement we were expected to teach lessons equivalent to 50% of a normal teachers timetable. The planning was a bit heavy going but it was a nice change to teach my subject specialist of ICT without having to worry about all the other subjects that you do in primary school! During this placement I had two observations by the University and various observations from the school. These were written up to go in my file as evidence and my final report for the placement was used to decide whether I had passed of fail the placement. In this particular placement I was allocated a mentor who was responsible for managing me and then I also had a professional tutor who was the deputy head and gave the trainees in the school weekly professional studies sessions.
In the third year my placement was at another primary school. This time I had a year 6 class and was in the school for 8 weeks. I was expected to teach 75% of a normal teachers timetable and the rest of the time was to be spent planning and evaluating etc. I loved this placement as I got to build up a good relationship with the class and my lesson observations from the uni and the school went well. By the end of this placement I felt satisfied that I could teach in a primary school with some success and would be happy working in one.
I am currently in my fourth and final year. This year we launched straight into a 16 week placement in a secondary school. I have now been in school 6 weeks and it is my favourite placement by far! I teach 50% of a normal teachers timetable as the university expect us to spend lots of time planning and working on our dissertations etc. I have a year 7 class, two year 9 classes, a year 10 class and a year 13 class! The school is a tough one with extremely challenging behaviour and extreme child poverty in the area. It is certainly challenging and many of the children will walk into a lesson, throw things around, shout something to the effect of "f*** off you bunch of c****s, stupid s*** f***ing school and storm out again so that gives you an idea of how challenging it is!! However I seem to have built up a good rapport with the children and so far its not too horrendous!!! I have pretty much been offered a job by this school already so that is looking hopeful! In this placement I will have two official observations from the University and have various observations from teachers and senior managers in the school.
Overall the teacher training route that I have taken has given me some really great experiences and I feel very well prepared to go into the real world of teaching!
Peer Observation Day
One thing that the university recommend is peer observation days. This means that during the placement we arrange to go to one of our peers placement schools and spend the day observing their teaching and how things work in their school. This means that you get the experience of seeing a wide variety of schools by the end of the course. In my second year I went to a school in Crawley which was totally different from the school I was in at the time as it was a catholic school and most of the pupils did not speak English as their first language so it was a really interesting experience.
The dissertation is the bit everyone dreads of the degree but there is plenty of time to do it so it shouldn't be too horrific. Your dissertation obviously has to be related to education but it also has to have a link to your subject specialism. We started having dissertation modules in year 3 which helped us understand what would be expected of us. The dissertation has a huge weighting on your final degree classification and therefore is important to get right!! It is expected to be around 10,000 words and should be binded professionally before it is handed in. I have chosen to do my dissertation on how the use of computer games impacts childrens learning. It has a fancy title but this is basically what I will be looking at. It is expected that you will undertake the research in your final placement.
This part of the teacher training is quite daunting but as long as you keep on track with your deadlines and timescale then it should all be fine.
One pain in the backside part of teacher training is that you need to obtain QTS (qualified teacher status) before you can legally teach. This involves you showing evidence that you can meet all of the QTS standards (this is done through a portfolio). This part isn't too bad but it does mean you will need to make sure you collect lots of evidence throughout the placements. Unfortunately to meet one of the QTS standards you need to have passed the skills tests in English, Mathematics and ICT. The ICT one I found easy and would be seriously worried if I struggled on that one! The English wasn't too bad either, but the maths was horrific!!! You get lots of mental arithmetic questions at the start which are so fast paced that its really stressfull. Then there are various written questions. I spend three months revising for the test and failed every single practise paper. Luckily on the day that I had booked the test I was so determined that I didn't want to have to resit it that I passed! Although I have heard of people who have taken it over and over again.
Getting a Job
Quite a few trainee teachers will be offered teaching jobs in their final placement schools if they are good. This is great as it means you already know all about the school, the children and the expectations. I am hoping to take this route as my school has said that they should almost definatley be able to offer me a job when I graduate.
For those who graduate in June it is worth trying to get a job which will start before the summer holidays, this way, not only will you be paid for the summer holidays but you will also be a lot more settled for the new school year when you return in September.
Other ways of getting jobs are by going to career fairs put together by local employers and agencies, applying to job adverts in local papers, joining a primary pool where all your information gets given to schools through them pools and the schools will then select people from this to shortlist. Although ultimately the Times Education Supplement is jam packed with teaching jobs which you can apply for.
I was lucky to start my degree in the last year that tuition fees were around £1200 a year. However, now they are over £3000 per year and this will quickly add up over a four year course of teacher training. On top of this are living costs if you live near the Uni. For my first year I lived in Halls of residence and in my second year I rented a flat, but this was so expensive that I now commute from home which is an hour drive. I ask for placements locally so that works out well. I only get the minimum student loan due to my dads income but I have also had loans to cover my tuition fees. Therefore by the end of my degree in June 2009 I will owe the student loan company around £18000. This loan is interest free but it does go up with inflation. I think I will be paying this off for many years to come!
On the bright side I did manage to get some additional support through a government scheme which gives money to trainee teachers who are training to teach in secondary schools in a subject where there is a shortage of teachers. This scheme no longer runs but I do believe that there is a new scheme being put in place which will help out those going into secondary shortage areas.
My personal route for teacher training has been through a four year teacher training degree. I would really recommend this for those who are definitely wanting to go into teaching as it gives you the best experience as you get a lot more school experience and a wide range of university input on the various aspects of education.
The PGCE (postgraduate certificate in education) is where you do a degree in any subject first and then do an additional year which will be all your teacher training packed into one year. This is a good route for someone who is not entirely sure that they want to go into teaching as it leaves it open for them to get a job in the subject that their degree is in.
There are now other ways of teacher training, including a 2 year degree or other routes where you can train whilst on the job etc. There are new courses coming up all the time so if you are interested it is something worth looking into.
I am nearing the end of my degree and I have really enjoyed it. It has been hard work but very enjoyable. The teaching experiences that I have had already have prepared me really well to enter the teaching world. My subject knowledge will be degree level by the end of my course so this means that should I ever get fed up with teaching I could get a job in ICT. Although my course specifically trains me for the upper primary/lower secondary age group the Qualified Teacher Status means that I will be trained to teach any age.
The only real downside to teacher training is that it is utterly exhausting, there is so much paperwork to be done, particularly with planning etc. It is all very time consuming, particularly whilst on placement and it means that you dont get much time for friends and family. My poor boyfriend has hardly seen me in the last six weeks!! But it wont be long now and I am very excited about getting a job and finally getting paid although it is a little scary that very soon I will be doing all of this for real!!
Thanks for reading.
Deciding to become a teacher is probably one of the hardest and strangest decisions that I ever had to make. I did my degree in Illustration , and although challenging and enjoyable, there seemed no logical career path that I should take when the course ended.
I don't think people should decide to choose teacher as a 'last resort' although many do, you will be severely dissappointed with the experience. Just because you haven't managed to get a job in your chosen field, doesn't mean you'll be a great teacher.
Also, don't think that because the government are paying you to do the course is a reason to do it either. Its bloody hard work - probably the hardest course there is. You literally are thrown in at the deep end - many don't last the distance.
I had done some youth work whilst working at University and had found that I enjoyed those sessions and had a semi-good rapport with younger children.
You need to be lucky really with what school your training course puts you on - and if you get on well with your designated member of staff. I have heard horror stories about trainee students clashing with their 'mentors.'
Trying to acclaimatise yourself with the routine is also quite a shock to the system. If you have been used to lazing around on your arse for three years on your 'art' course, then getting up early and getting to bed late will knacker you out - and thats before you start teaching.
I don't want to sound like I'm putting people off, because I'm not. But going into teaching for the wrong reasons isn't good for anyone - let alone the children.
I don't think you would want the year to be any other way - you want to be thrown in at the deep end and to feel nervous - to get that first enegy rush and butterflies in your stomach the first time you stand infront of 30 year 9's!
I loved the PGCE course I did. It was over so quickly I hardly had time to breathe. I was placed in two polar opposite schools in central London - one a down and out school in Lewisham - the other an all Girls School in Surrey. The lectures and lecturers were fab and living in the same block with trainee teachers helped the morale!
Five years down the line, I'm still learning and believe that teaching is something that you are always going to learn how to do better over time.
I was on the primary pgce scitt course. The materials were fabulous, and the study weeks at the university had interesting topics presented by quality speakers. The food and accomodation was good and it provided a good opportunity to network with other students. The concept behind the course is also good - spend all your time in a school, learning on the job and you'll be a far better teacher at the end of it and more experienced so more able to get a job. However, I was the only student placed in the school I was at and found this isolating. When I felt the school were unsupportive and treating me unfairly, the university took the school's side as they didn't want to lose the placement. Having most of your experience in one place is good if they are experienced with students and are well trained, but nearly impossible if they aren't trained and don't know what to expect.
I'm in the middle of a college inspection and on the verge of hysteria. I find myself laughing uncontollably when someone says "Good Morning." So I thought now would be a good time to share my early teaching days with you. After spending a week with straight laced people- with clip boards watching me teach, tripping up over plants which are springing up all over college to impress our bespectacled friends and living on coffee as a food group- I'm now going to re-trace my steps: "How Did I Get Here?" Screen goes blurry- FLASHBACK TIME..... THOSE THAT CAN'T ...TEACH ========================== Like many people I was fed up with my career or lack of it. I used to be a Credit Controller. I hated Maths and I hated ringing people every day - so this was the ideal job for me really! After 8 years of saying: "Good morning, my name's Glenn. Is your payment on the way?" I decided to throw the towel in. To cut a long story short I went back to college. I had an excellent Film Studies teacher called Ros. This lady was amazing. She managed to make every lesson funny. She also did not fit into the stereotypical teacher role. She hated the paperwork and parent's evenings but loved teaching itself. She also inspired me to do something with my life and said that I had what it took to go to university. So I went! 25 and off to uni! I wouldn't have gone without the faith and energy that this teacher gave me. I decided that I wanted to teach there and then. So, it's true that alot of people land into teaching rather than have it as a career aim from the age of 8. WHERE DO YOU START? ==================== Well I will attempt to answer this. I am an FE Media Studies Lecturer so the courses for school teachers differ. But I will lead you through the maze that is FE Teacher Training. www.gre.ac.uk This is where I began my search. It's the Greenwich University we
bsite. I found it by putting "Teacher Training Courses (FE)" into Google. I heard that Greenwich facilities were excellent. So armed with my degree certificate and some tales of why I wanted to teach I headed off to my interview. WHAT DO YOU NEED? ================= Well, I was required to have a degree in my subject area or as near as dammit. For example if you want to be a Media Teacher - Media, Journalism or English are acceptable degrees. You also need bags of enthusiasm. Although there is a teaching shortage I wouldn't advise you to take a place on a course because you have reached a crossroads in your life. Do you want to teach? Reminds me of Bridget Jones going for the job of the children's TV presenter. "Do you like children?" "Oh No...yuck!" WHAT DOES A PGCE INVOLVE? =========================== Well, this is the two worlds bit as you are literally dipping your toe into two territories. You are required to complete essays and attend lectures. So you go back in time and become a student. Where this becomes blurred and quite surreal is when the work placement and the essays meet. So for example- I did my teaching practice at Southgate College in London and I nagged students for not doing their homework and then went home and did mine after the lesson! Talk about two worlds colliding! I found the lectures a relief to be honest. When you are training the adrenalin flows but it's nice to take time out and go back to the comfort of the class and take a look around at your peers. At the end of week 2 you all look the same: Trod on! he he! So, again if you can cope with being a student and a teacher then teacher training is for you. I would spend many a day laughing like a hyena at nothing in a lecture because I was getting the chance to play at being a student- knowing full well that on Wed I was Mr "Media" Meads again! My days would go from this: GLENN: WHERE
39;S YOUR ESSAY? STUDENT: DOG ATE IT to this: TUTOR: WHERE'S YOUR ESSAY? GLENN: UM.... WELL THE THING IS.....! WHAT CAN YOU TEACH? ================== Again with my field being FE - the subjects vary. Here's just a taster: HISTORY ENGLISH LIT I.T MEDIA STUDIES ART BIOLOGY PERFORMING ARTS TRAVEL AND TOURISM BUSINESS STUDIES HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE BASIC SKILLS/KEY SKILLS SPORTS SCIENCE MATHS SOCIOLOGY/PSYCHOLOGY As I said this is just a taster. When you go to your interview- your qualifications are looked at and the subject area is matched to your highest qualification. HOW LONG DOES THE COURSE TAKE? =============================== Well, it feels really fast. You start in Sept and then finish in May/June. By the following Sept you could end up teaching for real as I was! The course is split up into blocks. For example during the first term I was at University learning the ropes. Than in January I was let loose into the classroom. I taught my classes until May. FUNDING ======== When I did my training there was no funding. I took out a career development loan. But now Trainees are offered £6,000 to train. Ok, it's not a king's ransom but I borrowed £6,000 and would have rather have had it handed to me for nowt. You can also get student loans to top up this sum. Or you an work part time. DANGEROUS MINDS/PLEASE SIR! ============================ No amount of prep can help you imagine what it is like to enter the classroom for the first time clutching the register. The students believe in you at first sight as you ARE THEIR teacher. It is then up to you to convince them that you are a REAL TEACHER and not some participant in the show FAKIN' IT! You soon realise that Dangerous Minds it ain't! You get things wrong in the early days - of course you do. But you ar
e provided with a mentor who shadows you and runs you through the basics. I got through the student/teacher "Am I doing it right?" bit by asking the students themselves. I was never afraid to say - "Did that go over your head?" Or "Did you enjoy that?" Or even- "Was that a waste of time?" At first the response was fairly muted as people start to suss you out. But after a while when they realise that you are stopping- the relationship becomes totally unique. I hated my class in lesson 1. By lesson 15 I was sad to leave them. When they gave me a round of applause I was gutted. I nearly cried all over my courdroy jacket with patches on it! WHAT ABOUT THE BAD THINGS? =========================== Screaming headlines- STRESS, ABUSE, LACK OF PAY. Yes, alot of that is all true. BUT this is the first job that I have had where I never get Monday morning feelings! That speaks volumes to me. I want to go to work. It's true. So yeah- you will not be on a huge salary. Yes, there days when three students telling you to "F OFF" in a row is likely to send you reaching for the Kalm tablets and a bottle of White Lightning. And yes, the marking does seem never ending. But I knew when I got applied for a place that I would have to mark work. There isn't a C3P0 type robot going to do it for me. And yeah the paperwork does send you a tad crazy too. I tend to fill in what I can. Put it this way half the time - no-one asks for the form that they have asked to complete in the first place. But for me, these things are outweighed by the good things. So now onto the the good things.... V. GOOD 10/10 ============= TURNING AROUND A STUDENT- There's no greater joy for me. I managed to do that last year. A student who was written off at school came my class. He was a moody sullen lad. He reminded me of myself at school! He left us last Summer with an A in Media and is now at Uni. That beats a
pay rise for me! DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE- I love teaching. So it speaks for itself really. It's like being on stage. You are essentially playing a part. I also love the subject. I take students to the cinema and get their analytical minds working- hopefully. Nothing beats looking round a cinema like Amelie watching students take in a new film knowing that they are analysing it for coursework rather than watching it with friends. THE STUDENTS- There are good and bad but it's nice when a student rings you after they have left or pops in to visit. It's also nice when you take students out on a visit. They rely on you even at 16-19. COUNSELLING- You end up doing a fair bit. I have dealt with everything from "My friend has been shot" to "I'm gay." Yes, there are times when you feel like putting a brick wall where your door is but being a listening ear for people is no bad thing. Knowing when to switch off from the tales of woe can sometimes be a problem though. So if you are thinking of getting into teaching. It's a great profession. It's not without it's problems I know. I feel that I have landed on my feet though. Embarking on a teacher training course has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned more about myself than during my degree. Teaching my first class was like being able to swim without a float for the first time. Scary but thrilling because I was doing it on my own. Doing a PGCE has meant that I am now leading a charmed life. Two years down the line and I have learned to control and deal with the stressful things and revel in the postive aspects of the job. I write reviews for www.whatsonstage.com in my spare time and teach during the day. This is another thing which keeps the enthusiasm going- give yourself another role- not just the teacher. Doing two things that I enjoy means that I cannot see myself wanting to do anything else. I'm sure you will feel t
he same if you really want to teach as much as I did. Thanks for reading. I hope this was useful for any body thinking "Shall I or shan't I?" Have a good day Glenn
In line with my recent spate of controversial opinions I am going to do something radical. I am going to challenge the assertion that teaching is one of the most stressful professions that can be followed. I am going to challenge, at the same time, the status quo and argue where teaching as a profession is failing and suggest why. In doing that please do not take offence at what I say, to a degree I am playing devil's advocate although what I say is my opinion, even though that opinion may be held in ignorance. This opinion may just provide some food for thought to those contemplating taking a teacher training course. If read by the powers that be it may also help convey my opinion to those who can really do something to challenge the status quo and lead us towards a better education system. I was prompted to write this opinion after reading several excellent opinions on the subject on several forums. This opinion is not intended to be a response to those opinions although I do cover many of the same points. The topic of "teachers" has often been a hot-bed in our house with many a frustrated Victor-Meldrew-type cry of "I don't believe it…." In response to the cry of the stressed teacher and it is from this that I draw much of my material. I also know several people who are either teachers or who have gone through the teacher training process. At the outset I must say that I admire the teaching profession and it is, for reasons I will go into, one that I could not be part of (at least in so far as mainstream teaching goes). The majority of teachers deserve better than they get, particularly in terms of status and recognition but as with all professions this deserving is not universal. There are many factors which conspire against teachers in achieving the degree of recognition that they deserve: + Training + Please forgive me if I am out of date here but when I appl
ied to university the course that was selected by a lot of people who were unsure that they would get particularly good grades was teaching as it was possible to get onto a teaching course with the university entry requirement minimum of 2 E's at A level. Likewise, so long as you have a degree, getting onto a PGCE course (the post-grad course in education) is simple. The old adage of "those that can, do, and those that can't teach" seems to ring very loudly here. Undeniably, there are those who go into teaching as a vocation and one should not knock their enthusiasm or ability, but are we really promoting the education of our children by pushing teaching as the job to do if you want to go to uni but haven't got the grades to do anything else (or the subjects, as I am acutely aware that certain courses always have low entry requirements due to unpopularity). Surely teaching should be suggested to those who are more able and, rather than incentives being given to keep anyone at university to study teaching why not offer the incentives to those who are more able yet disinclined towards the profession in favour of the more lucrative options of law, accountancy and medicine which professions also attract a higher status in today's society. It may be that pay has to be increased but I believe that this should only be done in conjunction with a review of the candidates for the job…. which leads nicely to pay….. + Pay + One of the major gripes of the profession seems to be the level of pay. There appears to be a major outcry every time someone mentions the words "performance related pay". I am the first to agree that assessing a teacher solely on the results they produce by way of examination results be they SATS, GCSEs or A levels is trite. Every class will be different and a child's capability will vary. What though is wrong with rewarding that teacher who gives an extra something - to use an example
I would reward the teacher who was inventive and taught about freezing and melting or insulation materials when it is snowing as it takes a teacher with ability to do that with little preparation and likewise the teacher who teaches maths without the child realising. State education will always have limited funds to pay staff and as it is non-profit making it always will be limited. However, even in profit making business I would not expect to be paid the same as my colleagues if I did not measure up to their standards or if I exceeded them. The differences in salary may have to be marginal but they could still exist. A teacher friend of mine was moaning about a self-assessment form that had to be completed in order to qualify for the government's bonus payment to "super-teachers". Again, what is different here, I fill in self-assessment forms every year, failure to do so would mean my pay would not be reviewed….. + Holiday + If I were looking for a job with hours to suit teaching would be right there at the top of the list. Guaranteed holidays and short days! Yes, I know, there is marking and preparation to be done but I cannot believe that this takes up all of a 6 week summer break or that you can never switch off and enjoy the break. The ability to plan a holiday is one that I would dearly love. OK so the sacrifice I have to make is that holiday can only be taken when the rest of the world is on holiday but this must surely be better than the way I am used to. When I was a child my father would learn that he could take holiday the day before it commenced - there was a mad dash to the travel agents "what have you got leaving tomorrow for a week" and who knows where we would end up. Now I have my own career and it is as bad. I can plan holiday but likely as not it will be cancelled or I will be disturbed. Over the last three years I have had only Christmas Day and Boxing Day off during the tradit
ional Christmas vacation period and I was disturbed several times on my week off in the summer. I guess I can count myself fortunate that my wedding night remained a phone-free-zone! I would also like a day where I could state categorically that I was leaving a 4pm. It may well be that I would have marking to do in the evening, but at least I could go home…… + Stress + Please someone, help me here. Everyone is different and stress to one is food to another but how can form filling be stressful? The teacher of the inner-city class of 14 year olds may well feel stress, but the primary teacher? A properly controlled class of 5 year olds should surely not present too much of a problem if the teacher is professional. I used to run a brownie pack and have taught at Sunday School and at Summer Camps. Never have I felt it stressful - even with 30 Brownies lost in some woods on a wide game with the thought in the back of my mind that one of them might be truly lost….. + Why I could not teach + I could not teach mainstream because I would be disillusioned with the rigidness of the national curriculum, the unwillingness of a child who is capable of learning to learn and the "don't care" attitude of the parents. I cannot, however find, in the majority of cases, where the stress lies and why pay should be universal. I would relish the holiday. + What do we do + The profile of teachers should be raised and we should go back to the respectful profession it once was. The National Curriculum should give way to traditional teaching where the teachers had the ability to tailor the lessons to the needs of the class. Children, through discipline should have respect for the teachers and we should be encouraging more able students to enter the profession. As I see it, without radical changes education can only continue its decline and then the teacher's lot would really be not a happy
one. No offence??? ;-)
Job decription: This position requires you to work long hours for an average salary. You will work overtime at a moments notice for no extra money. You may well be subject to verbal or physical abuse which you will not retaliate against. You will have large amounts of pressure heaped on you with very little concern for your physical or emotional state. You will approach your job with a cheery disposition and treat all your clients (pupils) with far more respect than you will ever get from them. Only the insane or highly dedicated need apply… OK so this is a little over the top…but not much! I sat to write this "advice" after a rubbish day and yet I`m surprised how positive I still feel about the job. So here follows my thought on teaching, how helpful they are remains to be seen but they are from the heart! From being a small child I have always had the notion that I wanted to teach…why? Don`t know it was just something I wanted to do, something I knew that I would do, something that I have been doing for the last 14 years or so. I have taught in primary school, secondary school and now college. Music is the name of the game and something I feel very strongly about. You may ask would I recommend others to join the professions and the answer would have to be …you really and I mean really have to want to teach to stick at this game. Friends always made me squirm when they would say teaching, easy, all those holidays oooh yes aren`t they fab…well its nice to have some time to recover but let me tell you, you NEED it. Lets face it if teaching were soooo easy why isn`t everyone doing it. The answer is because its bloody hard work. I started in a social priority secondary school in the East End of London, talk about baptism by fire! But it was sink or swim. At that time teaching was quite fun really and I got a lot from working with the pupils. This is however not a 9-5 job. You
get in about 8am and some nights wouldn`t leave until after 6 with after school activities. Then there are parents evenings, don`t forget all the preparation you do, marking homework and writing reports and when you are the only teacher of a subject in a school, like music, this amounts to around 120 reports at any one time. This is all done in your OWN time. Primary school teaching is different again, I was not a class teacher but went in to deliver the music curriculum 2 days a week working with the different classes. I have a lot of respect for colleagues in primary schools being a jack of all trades so to speak is not easy and having the same class ALL year every day can be a nightmare if you get a particularly "lively" bunch. Anyway I digress, teaching is and can be very rewarding and yet at the same time frustrating. The problem nowadays is the pressure of league tables, OFSTED reports, national curriculum, SATs etc etc. Having done all the paperwork you have to do the spark has been taken out of the job. To allow people to learn YOU , the teacher, have to be enthusiastic about your subject, hard when you have to justify your existence based on figures and tables. To be a teacher you need the patience of a saint, the stamina of, well, someone with a lot of stamina. You need to be a shoulder to cry on, a counsellor, advisor, clerk, occasionally comedian, diplomat, etc etc…. you get the picture! Hard in an environment with a high rate of nervous breakdowns and stress related illnesses. I couldn`t imagine not teaching and yet there are some many times that I wonder why I do…this is best described with the feeling you get when you finally see someone achieve something that you have helped them achieve…. This need not be something huge or even happen every day..all I can say is, for me, nothing beats the feeling of pride when you watch someone stand on a stage and perform knowing that you helped t
hem do it!! OK this doesn`t apply to every teacher but I think you`ll understand. Teaching is HARD, yes there are better paid jobs with less pressure but for me it`s what I do and it`s who I am