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Thread: Primary Teachers - your thoughts?

  1. #1

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    Default Primary Teachers - your thoughts?

    On your job?

    Im still tossing up whether to go back to nursing degree or keep with my switch to primary teaching. While midwifery is still my dream career, general nursing just doesnt seem to be a good fit for me and primary teaching was always the second career choice. Im not likely to be able to do midwifery for quite a few years or more so I thought I could do my teaching degree and be able to start working alot sooner than I would be able to if I wait to study when I finally (ever) get the chance to do the midwifery degree.



    So if your a primary teacher, what do you find are the pro's and con's of the job? Is it working parent friendly? Would you recommend it as a career?

    If your currently doing your teaching degree, how are you finding the study?

  2. #2

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    i think it's a great job for parents- the hours and holidays are ideal.
    it is quite a hard job- the work is constant and it's very tiring. i imagine nursing would be the same though.

    do you think you'll truly be happy teaching though, and not mid-wifing? (i know that's not a word, but you get what i mean LOL)

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginger View Post

    do you think you'll truly be happy teaching though, and not mid-wifing? (i know that's not a word, but you get what i mean LOL)
    Im pretty sure I will. I honestly cant sit around for 10yrs until I can get a chance to do midwifery. With Dh's career we move ALOT and so unless we get lucky and move somewhere that has a miwifery degree (which is only one of 3 places and not likely anytime in the next 5-10yrs) then Im stuck. I dont want to put off a career because of that. I would be happy being a teacher. At this point in time ease of study and it being a parent-friendly job is more important than the 'ultimate dream career'. Midwifery would prob be a bit better suited when the kids are alot older, as Dh goes away a fair bit so finding care options for night shifts would be a nightmare. So teaching would be ideal for kid-friendly hours and holidays.

  4. #4

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    i would go with teaching then. You never have to worry about working nights (except for the odd parent-teacher interviews, school concerts, info nights etc.) or Saturdays and Sundays.

  5. #5

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    Its a great job (although I am now teaching secondary) But whilst you don't have to GO to work weekends or evenings - you will often have PILES of work to do during those times! The first few years the hardest and require the most work - especially preparation and you have little time "off" from face to face taching to get it done (just two hours per week in NSW). Also around reporting time I would have extra hours per night to do. I would also spend a week or two of my chrissy hols and 3-4 days each other break doing school work at home or going in to my school. That said - if you move a lot you may find you do more casual work - which has its own set of challenges

  6. #6

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    My mums a teacher, my sister is studying teaching and I am planning on going back to uni in a couple of years time and doing my dip ed too. As a child it was great always having mum around before and after school and during the holidays - that is definitely the best advantage of the job.

    But upon saying that there is still a lot of extra work to be done - your job doesnt stop at 3pm when the bell rings. So as long as you are aware of that and that there will be nights at home when you are doing marking and programming then yes it is a very family friendly job.

  7. #7

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    I love my job and wouldnt consider doing anything else. Having said that though, it can at times be a very trying job- there is much more to teaching than meets the eye and you need to be prepared for that too, like the others said, prep, programming and marking can be very time consuming. There are also all the extra things that you need to think about some days you are a nurse, social worker, councillor etc. I work in a pretty togh school, so I find dealing with some of the behaviours and other 'home' situations to be quite stressful at times, but not all schools are like that- however you really do need to be prepared for the ones that are.
    As for family friendly, at this stage in my life, I honestly don't think working full time would be very family friendly, there is no way I could do a good job at school and a good job at home if I worked 5 days a week, but being the profession that it is, there are great options for part time work. The holidays and the hours are a definate advantage in terms of family life though.
    For me the job satisfaction I get, and the knowledge that I am out there making a difference for our future generations is enough to drive me on, so even on the toughest days I still wouldnt choose to do anything else.

  8. #8

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    I don't know how you would go with 3 kids but ... I think JCU (Townsville) still offers a post grad bachelor of education that can be completed in 3 semesters (one semester being a summer semester between Dec and Feb and the other two being the standard semester 1 and semester 2). So other uni's may do it also. Contact hours for my Ed degree were 12 hours a week plus study time. The only thing that might kill you trying to look after small kids and do your degree would be the prac hours in school. They are full time hours for 4 to 6 weeks at a time starting at the beginning of the school year for Grad BEd students (starting after the summer semester).

    It is a lot of after hours work, though I got around that by becoming a behaviour management specialist after my I had been teaching in the classroom for a couple of years. I still worked out of hours but it was different work - meeting with parents, psychologist and admin staff, going to meetings, writing individual education plans - that kind of thing which I found much more enjoyable than planning and marking. But then I loved behaviour management and found the whole job much more enjoyable than classroom teaching but I think it anything is enjoyable if you are passionate about it (much like parenting - not always easy but very enjoyable).

  9. #9

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    I love my job! I have found it endlessly tiring at times and also endlessly frustrating - mainly because of the red tape, meetings and politics which you get in any work environment but I have found it wonderful with the kids. I only work 2 days now, I am lucky enough to be a Performing Arts specialist, run my own program and basically have fun singing and dancing and ge paid. Holidays are great but the downside is there is alot of extra work like correcting work, reports, meetings, extra curricula stuff and the list goes on. Totally worth it though. Good luck - I would go for it! I am about to apply for my Masters of Education! Eeek.

  10. #10

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    Although I used to love my job, I just don't anymore. I still consider myself a dedicated teacher and do all that I have to, but think that I'm at a point in my life that I want something else. I must admit though that I went from high school, to uni for 4 years then straight into teaching. I've been teaching for 10 years.

    Teaching involves lots of work. More if you are a perfectionist (eeek......I know as I was one once) As others have said it involves plenty of out of hours meetings, programing, marking, creating resources and organising materials for lessons. Report time (week 4-8 of term 2 and term 4) is hectic. Tack on parent interviews, information evenings, school performances etc. Sorry, I'm being somewhat negative. Personally I'd love to do midwifery too but the cost of retraining as a nurse and getting a serious pay cut is not attractive.

    Saying that - it is very family friendly. Holidays with kids as well as weekends. It's very flexible in terms of how much you want to work as well. I'm a permanent teacher but on part time mat leave working 2 days per week. I can also work casually on my non working days as well.

  11. #11

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    I love teaching, it is a job that still delights me after many many years and I would never want to do anything else. I think it is something you need to be passionate about as it is a lot of outside school hours work and as someone else said there is so much more to it than just teaching.
    I do it because I love it not because of the hours or the money but they do help.

  12. #12

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    Taking a pay cut to retrain as a midwife isnt really an issue as Dh earns enough that it doesnt factor in to day to day finances.

    I realise there is more to being a teacher than just turning up to teach between 9-3. Im actually a huge lover of paperwork so I think marking, reports, lesson plans would be right up my alley. Either way nurse or teacher Im going to be busy and up to my ears in paperwork. Atleast as a teacher my extra hours of work can be done at home at reasonable hours, not at 3am in a hospital.

    Ive still got some time to think on it but Im thinking more and more that teaching will be more beneficial than nursing. Thanks for the advice!

  13. #13

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    Freya - that is definitely true about the hours. Although there is all the extra stuff you can choose where you do it too. I know some teachers who love taking their stuff home and sitting in front of the tv while they correct or do planning. I don't get anything done at all with the kids around, and although my first class isn't until 9:30 I am at school at 7:30 on the days i work so I can do everything I need to do before they arrive, or I stay back as long as I can (usually til 5:30) to get it done so I don't have to take it home. Yes it is a long day but as you said it is all relative and it's not 3am and having to do things then. If you are super organised too it really helps!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanstar View Post
    Freya - that is definitely true about the hours. Although there is all the extra stuff you can choose where you do it too. I know some teachers who love taking their stuff home and sitting in front of the tv while they correct or do planning. I don't get anything done at all with the kids around, and although my first class isn't until 9:30 I am at school at 7:30 on the days i work so I can do everything I need to do before they arrive, or I stay back as long as I can (usually til 5:30) to get it done so I don't have to take it home. Yes it is a long day but as you said it is all relative and it's not 3am and having to do things then. If you are super organised too it really helps!
    My DHs work hours are pretty good and sometimes flexible (7:30-4:00) so if I stayed after school to get work done it wouldnt be a biggie. Dh is pretty good at helping with the kids so I could def get some alone time to do things.

    Do you have to work full time initially as a new teacher? Im definately open to part time or casual work, we wont rely on my wage so its not essential I work full time, as a casual I could take breaks between stints if Dh is going to be away or what not.
    Do you get preferences of grades and schools or does the Ed Dept just send you wherever?

  15. #15

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    I can only speak for Queensland but no, you don't have to work full time. Casual teaching is relief teaching and I wouldn't recommend it in your first year because some of it can be pretty attrocious. If you don't want to do much outside of hours, it's not bad at all because you don't have the planning and marking to do. You don't know if you are working most of the time until they ring you early in the morning and tell you where to go. You can pick up some planned casual days (where you know ahead of time). State ed was paying about $54 a hour for relief teachers the last time I did it (at the beginning of 2007) so it has probably gone up by now. The money is not bad but obviously no holiday or sick pay. If you are not relying on a steady income, then it's great bonus money.

    You can also pick up contract work which is a temporary contract only spanning a set period of time and it can be full time or part time - it is to fill in for teachers on maternity leave/annual leave/extended sick leave.

    Permanant work can be full time or part time and it really is up for negotiation if you want to work part time with whoever your teaching partner is. I have spoken to a lot of teachers who do part time and say that the outside of school hours work is almost as much as when they were full time because of all the extra co-ordination they have to do with the teacher who is sharing their class. If you get into a team where you and the other teacher get along really well, it works incredibly well though. I have some friends who share teach .5 each but if they want to have a week off, the other one will go full time to cover their days and then they repay the favour. It makes work very flexible for them, but they do work hard to make it work.

    I would really recommend, if possible, getting into a classroom full time for your first year out of uni just because it gives you a chance to really get your head in the game and get a grasp of how it all works. Share teaching is a whole different ball game and I think there is something really nice about having your own class and getting to know them.

    In Queensland you also need Teacher Registration which is provisional until you have done so many hours and the principal of the school you are working at has signed you off on those hours and written a report. You then need to maintain your teacher registration by doing so many hours of teaching a year, so many hours of professional development etc. If you let is lapse for 5 years and do nothing, you lose your teaching registration. I don't know if the other states are similar so I thought I would put it in here in case it was.

    The first year out for most teachers is incredibly stressful - very rewarding but stressful. I found it a very tiring and emotional year. I am not trying to turn you off but I think you need to be prepared that it is not easy. Most schools expect you to participate in extra curriculum meetings and sometimes mentoring programs, sometime extra reporting and accountability to the school as well. Admin staff come down at varying times to observe your teaching and make assessments, some schools expect you to keep clear accurate lesson plans, daily plans and some of these have to be submitted along with unit plans and anything else the school requires. It is a very big year of growth and it is a lot about being thrown in the deep end. It does get easier after that first year, but make sure you have a good support network both within the school and outside of school. It really makes a difference.

  16. #16

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    I am pretty sure I remember that your DH is in the army ? I have to say nursing is much more portable than teaching. Each state has its own regulations in education and some can be very hard to get a job in. I was lucky when we moved to NT with the army in 1999 to get a job but i think it has got harder since then. You will not get a permanent job in NSW for years unless you are a targeted graduate, casual teaching will most likely be your only option for a while anyway.
    My SIL is a nurse and her partner is navy and she has been able to get work whichever state they have been posted in.

  17. #17

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    I don't get it really - they advertise teacher shortages and say they need more but permanant jobs are really hard to come by in Queensland as well. They do have the odd job for first year out teachers (and maybe you could 'accidentally' write your gender in as male on your application form because they get permanant jobs regardless of how well they do or don't do - if they pass, they get jobs because they have to fill a quota of ratios in schools of male to female teachers) but the jobs for first year teachers are few and far between. I thought it might be different in other states, but NSW sounds as bad as here.

  18. #18

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    I got an ongoing position in my first year out. The majority of my friends who are teachers down here have also got permanent positions.....so maybe all the states are different? idk?

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