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Primary teaching - honestly what is it like?

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15 replies to this topic

#1 mum201

Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi all,
I have DS, who is a year old. When I had him, the idea was that I would go back to my corporate role in 6 months. DH and I visited every daycare in the area and couldn't agree on one and finally figured out the problem was not the specific daycares, but both of us not wanting him in daycare at all. Plus we realised that both parents being out of the home for 12 hrs a day just wasn't going to work for us - so I packed in my job, and am a sahm.

Now that I am thinking about it, I don't think my previous life is ever going to mesh well with being a mummy so I am going to have to retrain and do something more appropriate. I have done a bit of undergrad study before for fun and enjoyed it so am now thinking about going down that path again. At first I was thinking Accounting and doing bookkeeping from home or for a local business, and whilst this seems to be a sensible option, I would find it painful and I wouldn't love it.

Then I thought about teaching. I used to teach kids martial arts and was good at it. I am patient, am great with little kids, and want to do something that makes a difference in the world - and I feel this fits the bill. It's also a skill that is transportable.  Plus, it fits in perfectly with having a child. So, enough of my long winded post. Do you enjoy being a primary teacher?

#2 naomi_j86

Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:30 PM

I love teaching and having my own class.

I do not love casual teaching.

Some people are lucky and get a job straight away, but there is also the very real possibility that you could end up going a few weeks with no work, and if you are just casual, ALL holiday periods are unpaid.

#3 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

QUOTE (naomi_j86 @ 25/12/2012, 03:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I love teaching and having my own class.

I do not love casual teaching.

Some people are lucky and get a job straight away, but there is also the very real possibility that you could end up going a few weeks with no work, and if you are just casual, ALL holiday periods are unpaid.

3 years without a job before ANZAC day, and only 2-3 casual days before then.

The teaching is fine.  The getting a job is the crap bit.

#4 carlakoala

Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:30 PM

Teaching is a wonderful career for all the reasons you mentioned.
It can also be exhausting, especially in the junior grades when you are on your feet nearly all day, constantly on the go...multitasking galore.                                                                                     There is physical preparation of resources and paperwork preparation at home, assessments, portfolios, reports, committee meetings, staff meetings, professional development research, arranging incursion, excursions, special event days, displays...just some of the aspects of working year. In other words it is not a 9am - 3pm job and whilst the holidays are generous some of those days are used to set up the room and prepare lots of resources for the term.
I have two young school age boys who also go to the same school I work at - it's a bonus in some ways (no need for outside care arrangements) and not in others. I often have to take them early to school with me so I can set up for the day and then they are there after school as I try to clean up.
When we get home they need prompting with their homework, I listen to their home reading, cook dinner and prompt the whole bedtime routine.
Some days I thrive on the business of it all and sometimes I fall asleep on the couch my 8pm.
The above views/ways are just my own and of course not common to all teachers.

Best of luck with any career choice you make.

#5 gina70

Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

Next year will be my 5th year as a teacher.  You want honesty so here it is: (tired so using dot points)

* hated the 4 years of study, expensive (even with hecs) and time consuming
*first year out I hated it, long long hours and very stressful
*2nd year out a bit better, but still wasn't sure I was going to stick it out
*3rd year could only get small contracts and relief work, okay, but  not good for the budget
*4th year:  totally in love with teaching!  But in saying that my kids are older and I devoted a lot of time and energy to my class.

I am still on contract and I probably won't get a permanent job for a few years yet as they are very rare.  I mostly work 9 hour days, my students are on my mind a lot, the weekends involve work but also preparing for the working week, like ironing etc. As I am too tired at night to do much.

I absolutely love my job/vocation and have already started planning what I will teach next year, researching and working out my classroom layout.  Like most teachers, I do spend a few thousand of my own money each year as well.

You do not teach for the money!

#6 Wonderlust

Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:01 PM

Does anyone know if it's also hard to secure a secondary teaching role in NSW?

#7 carlakoala

Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:01 PM

I forgot to mention that I am one of the very lucky ones who is a permanent teacher. I am very grateful for it each year. As so many others commented it's heart breaking to watch so many casual teachers unsure where or if they will have a job year to year.  These are good - great teaches who put in way above and beyond effort to add to their  resume in hope of standing out for selection. I can only imagine the stress of them and their family due to the uncertainness of work year to year. I've never, ever noticed there being a hint of a 'teacher shortage' in primary schools about me - I think the fine print would read 'teacher shortage of high school maths teacher in extremely remote community.'

#8 Penguin78

Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:09 PM

QUOTE (Flylikeabutterfly @ 25/12/2012, 06:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone know if it's also hard to secure a secondary teaching role in NSW?

Depends what you are teaching. Maths and Science yes. English and history in Western Sydney. Most everything else is hard.

OP , as someone who went from corporate to teaching, the work hours are a lot more manageable as a teacher. Sure it's not 9-3, but less then corporate that's for sure

#9 librablonde

Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:16 PM

My friend is a high school teacher and has been a on contracts at the same school, fulltime for 4+ years. Only now has he finally be offered a permanent role. It's really been very hard on his family being financially unstable all those years. He loves teaching the teens, hates the politics of how the school is run and the instability of contract roles.

#10 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:28 PM


Edited by Tyrone Finkelmeyer, 26 March 2013 - 08:43 PM.

#11 mum201

Posted 25 December 2012 - 07:18 PM

QUOTE (proudmama1 @ 25/12/2012, 08:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Still waiting for DS to wake up! He did not fall asleep until 10.30 last night...

Thank you for your replies! A lot to think about indeed! My sister teaches secondary school, so I have been probing her for her opinion as well. She agrees with a lot has been said here and also added that the staff room politics can be crappy, but she wouldn't do anything else. She also feels it could be a good personality fit. Urgh..... I have a lot of thinking to do....... But I am actually a bit excited about it.
But thanks again all.

#12 Kalota

Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

Honestly, I teach Prep and at the school I am currently at there is no way I could continue my career if I had a family sad.gif Its far too exhausting and far too much work. I get to school at about 7.30-8am and don't leave until around 6pm, I also do schoolwork almost every evening when I get home and on the weekend. I love the job, it's very rewarding and I love the children I work with and seeing them grow - but at my current school it is very demanding and I don't think I could continue if I had young children. I only speak on behalf of my own experience, though!

Edited by Kalota, 26 December 2012 - 09:30 AM.

#13 José

Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:25 PM

I used to be a teacher and got permanency in nsw straight out of uni  there is definitely LOTS of out of hours work. Also I worked in schools where children came from disadvantaged backgrounds and I often struggled with wanting to do more for the kids and feeling bad that I couldnt.  I hated that society seems not to value teachers as I see teaching as so important. Also be prepared to be yelled at, sworn at and complained about- from teachers and students. That isnt just my experience,  surveys by teachers federation indicates if happens much more than you think. Just some examples one six year old was kicking other  six year olds and calling them mother f#@! Ers. I had him sit separately for a short time.  His dad went off that I was picking on him. Many parents think that because they have 1 or 2 kids they could effectively teach a whole class and are often quick to let you know. Politics in schools can be crazy as you mentioned. Also while I found teaching to be challenging it wasnt intellectually stimulating. In primany school be aware you have to teach music as well as sport, art,  history etc etc.

#14 Niamh23

Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE (Penguin78 @ 25/12/2012, 07:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Depends what you are teaching. Maths and Science yes. English and history in Western Sydney. Most everything else is hard.

OP , as someone who went from corporate to teaching, the work hours are a lot more manageable as a teacher. Sure it's not 9-3, but less then corporate that's for sure

I went from corporate to teaching (secondary) and have found the hours much longer. Maybe not in terms of "office" hours, but the prep and marking done outside of school takes up a lot of time. And the difference is that you are always thinking about school in the back of your mind. It's not a job you can just leave at the office and forget about it.

And not to nitpick, but it's less thAn! Sorry, one of my pet peeves as an English teacher!

Edited by Niamh23, 26 December 2012 - 12:39 PM.

#15 Expelliarmus

Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:44 PM

It's hard work, it's underappreciated and is unstable for at least 4-5 years.

#16 Lyn29

Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:43 PM


Edited by bye, 29 March 2013 - 03:04 PM.

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