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Kindergarten teaching - need advice


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#1 bearmum

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:54 AM

Hi all

I have been thinking about making a life change and retraining for a new career. One idea that has taken hold in my mind is getting a postgraduate qualification in teaching specialising in early childhood and then teaching kindergarten.

Not knowing anyone who works in that area I have some questions and thought maybe EB would be able to help me out!

Basically I would love any information/insight about working as a kindergarten teacher that you might like to share - the good bits, the bad bits etc. Anything would be interesting for me.

In particular though I have wondered whether it is possible to get part-time work in that area. I work part-time at the moment and don't really want to be working fulltime until my children are older. Is it hard to get a job like this as a graduate teacher? Is the job in any way family friendly? How do the non-contact hours work - does it mean that the days at work are very long or can you do some of the preparation time etc from home? What is a normal day/week like etc?

Any information, suggestions, advice or insight that would help me understand this all better would be very gratefully received. It would be a big move for me to change careers completely but I am very ready for a change!

Thanks in advance original.gif

#2 Wyn99

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:28 PM

Hi I don't know about kindergarten but there are part-time teachers at my son's preschool (3-5 year olds). However I don't know how you could have a kindy class and work part-time? Would you have to job-share with another kindy teacher? Would that be unsettling for the children?

#3 Melidia

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:31 PM

To be honest with you, if you are looking to retrain as a kindergarten teacher only because you see the profession as being family friendly and are looking for the flexibility of part-time employment, then teaching probably isn't the career for you.

You really need to be passionate about teaching and want to be there for the kids.

#4 Expelliarmus

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

Kindergarten pre school, or kindergarten FYOS?

QUOTE
Is it hard to get a job like this as a graduate teacher? Is the job in any way family friendly? How do the non-contact hours work - does it mean that the days at work are very long or can you do some of the preparation time etc from home? What is a normal day/week like etc?

Yes it is hard to get a job like this as a graduate teacher - you might have to teach casually as a relief teacher or teach another year level.

The job is no more family friendly than nay other job during term time, in fact it is probably less family friendly. You do not have to rely on vacation care much if at all however. The hours are inflexible during term time as a general rule.

Non contact hours are a set amount of time when other teachers take the children so you can do administrivia and planning. It is not sufficient time to do all your prep etc and you will have to do some of it from home.

A normal day/week with FYOS of pre school children is exhausting, 40+ hours and you end up with sore feet.

Part time work in contract teaching relies on the availability of days left over from other teachers or specialist teacher options. It's not all that common IME.

#5 baking101

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

Your definition of kindergarten is important here.

If you mean pre-school, from my understanding, part time work is an option.

If you mean first year of school, you need to consider that the training you would need to do in order to qualify for this role actually qualifies you from 0-8 years (early childhood) or Kinder-Year 6 (primary). The chances of you getting work in a kindergarten classroom is relatively low. I am K-6 trained and have taught upper primary the whole of my career thus far.

Hope this helps!

#6 peach*face

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:39 PM

I don't think you can just chose what stage to teach iykwim. Also it is very difficult getting a job as a primary teacher if you are in NSW. The average wait for contract is 7 years. Some degrees combine early childhood with primary but I'm not sure how  this works post grad.
My parents are both teachers and I can tell you it is not family friendly as the perception seems to be.

Edited by peach*face, 21 November 2012 - 07:42 PM.


#7 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:50 PM

If you mean kindergarten in the Victorian sense, you can definitely do the job part-time.  Most community based kinders only have part-time work as the 4 year old teachers do 15 hours teaching plus prep and the 3 year old teachers do around 4-8 hours teaching plus preparation.

Childcare centres also struggle to find qualified kinder teachers so I imagine job-share options would be out there.  




#8 mum2jp

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

In the school system it is not easy to get part time work as a graduate. You will need to do some casual work, get into a school and hopefully get a contract for a year so it is more stable. It is an option to work part time after returning from mat leave when are a permanent employee. I share my class with another teacher, 2 days/3days.

In terms of having school holidays at home with your own children i guess it is somewhat family friendly (but there is prep work to be done in the holidays and most teachers go into school for at least a few days). During school terms it is really no more family friendly than your average job. I am at school by 8 and leave usually between 430-530 so when DS does go to school he will still need B&A care. Once DS is in bed at least a couple of nights a week i am doing paperwork or following up on emails for work. So there is the extra work you will do at home, working part time this is even more so because you are constantly communicating with your job share teacher.

All that said. It is a wonderful rewarding job. You really are invested in the children and share such a large part of their life. You engage them in the wonderful journey of learning new things and developing confidence in their abilities. Of course not all children are this responsive to learning and you will come across your fair share of challenging children, but those are the ones that by the end of the year have often come so far. It is a job that is hard to do when you are not feeling 100% (like lack of sleep dealing with your own little ones, stressed, upset about something). Its face to face all day and you have to be very good at putting on your teachers hat so to say and getting on with the day. Hope that helps original.gif

#9 Elemenopee

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE (baking101 @ 21/11/2012, 08:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
. I am K-6 trained and have taught upper primary the whole of my career thus far.


I am the opposite, I am primary trained and yet always seem to end up working Early Childhood, including a stint as a director of a centre. But obviously it depends a lot on where you are, I am rural SA and always can find work/get offered contracts. Plenty of work around here.

OP, I just wanted to add that if you are thinking of relief teaching, that is not family friendly as you often only get rung at 7am to work that day - it makes organising childcare etc tricky.

I wouldn't want to dissuade you though OP, I love it (atm I relief teach at 2 different centres).



#10 beakie

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:55 PM

Hi. I work as a Kindergaten assistant (diploma qualified) and looking to start my degree next year to become a teacher. In my area in Central Vic, it is easy to work part time, as there is a huge shortage of qualified EC staff. I work in a council kinder where all the groups are sessional, so it really is quite conducive to part time or job share arrangements. With the shift to 15 hrs next year there is tonnes of work around ATM, but you'd probably have to start off as a casual.

Teaching pre-school is rewarding and fun, but also bloody hard work. In fact teachers are leaving the sector in droves due to newer and higher demands coming from the Early Years Framework. Anyway, it's worth a thought, but not something I'd undertake just for the school holidays. Goodluck!

#11 bearmum

Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:25 PM

Thanks everyone for replying! I am in Victoria so am talking about kindergarten in the sense of pre-school rather than school. It would be in either a council kindergarten or ELC/childcare setting that I was thinking of working in.

I completely agree that it isn't a role/profession that would be appropriate to undertake just for the sake of flexibility. I would never want to do that to myself either - I don't like the field I am currently working in although it is quite family friendly. My primary aim in my next career move is to find a job that I do feel passionate about and engaged in and can look forward to going to each day (or at least most of them wink.gif). However, as I also have family commitments, I am not in the position I once was to only think of how things like this would affect me solely -  I have to take into account the impacts on my family as well.

Thanks again for replying - there are some interesting thoughts for me to think about more. I am at the start of my thinking process at the moment - a big change requires a lot of soul-searching!

#12 bearmum

Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

I'm back with more questions!

QUOTE (beakie @ 21/11/2012, 09:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Teaching pre-school is rewarding and fun, but also bloody hard work. In fact teachers are leaving the sector in droves due to newer and higher demands coming from the Early Years Framework. Anyway, it's worth a thought, but not something I'd undertake just for the school holidays. Goodluck!


Do you know what it is about the Early Years Framework that is so off putting for people in the industry? I have been reading up on it and conceptually I'm sure it is something everyone basically agrees with? I mean it all seems focused on the right ideals for happy engaged kids original.gif is it to do with how it is implemented? In what way? Thanks!

Also I guess I would love to hear some of the most difficult parts of working in this field - I can see the positives (enjoying the interactions with kids, motivating and developing them, being creative etc) for me based on my interests and personality etc. I would love to explore the side of the job that people don't see and don't realise goes on - does that make any sense? I don't want to look at the idea through rose-colored glasses...

All thoughts welcome original.gif thanks!!

#13 Overtherainbow

Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

QUOTE
Do you know what it is about the Early Years Framework that is so off putting for people in the industry? I have been reading up on it and conceptually I'm sure it is something everyone basically agrees with? I mean it all seems focused on the right ideals for happy engaged kids (IMG:style_emoticons/default/original.gif) is it to do with how it is implemented? In what way? Thanks!


Most teachers agree and support the ideals of the programme.  The issue is the massive amount of extra paperwork and time needed to proove that they are covering everything well, despite the fact that most are already covering this.

#14 julzely

Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

Hi Bearmum,

Why don't you contact a couple of Kinders in you area and see if you can volounteer for a couple days to get an idea of if you would enjoy it as a career.

Many Kinder's are happy to take on volounteers, however you would need to get a working with children's check before you do.

Then you can also have a chat to Kinder teachers about what they are struggling with in terms of framework.

My understanding is that for current kinder teachers there has been little to no support about how to carry out the new framework and the amount of admin work has increased 10 fold, however they are given no extra admin hours. As I am not a teach I am sure there is more to it then that, but it probably would be easier if you were training now and were taught about the current framework and they were not new expectations

#15 bearmum

Posted 22 November 2012 - 01:52 PM

Thanks Round the twist and Julzely. I suspected it was the paperwork side of things - I know from what I'm given in respect of my own kids that it would take a long time to prepare those for all the kids in the class (but I do love reading them and seeing the photos original.gif)

Julzely - I think you are right. Thanks for the advice - I didn't realise that kindys would be happy to have volunteers. It would help to give it a try and discuss things face to face with people doing this job every day. I'm going to look into it original.gif

Thanks again!




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