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Primary school teaching

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Red Cat, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    Are there any primary school teachers on here?

    I've been pulled towards teaching on and off for it must be getting on for 20 yrs. I always imagined teaching teenagers but I didn't want to teach my degree subject, french, so that hasn't really been an option for me and until the past few years since having my own kids I never saw myself as a primary school teacher. I now think I'd like to teach primary but I've been put off by the lack of control and de-professionalisation of teachers over the past 2 decades and I fear that I'll find the standards, 'delivering' a lesson culture maddening.

    I also recall mrs magpie saying that she found primary school staffrooms unbearably twee and I wonder how I will fit in with that. How much room is there for critical thinking in teaching?

    If I'm honest with myself, I also fear that I just won't be up to it and I could probably find a million excuses not to do it.

    Anyway, I think my desire to continue working with children and teach is stronger than my objections but I'd like to hear some positive stories if you've got any.
  2. dessiato

    dessiato Galatians 6:10

    There is no critical thinking in primary teaching. Although my experience is limited I found that the lessons, were dull and uninteresting to all involved. Then there was a huge amount of paperwork. Reports to write, daily, weekly monthly and term lesson plans to write. Parents demanding that I taught the way they told me to, even though they were not teachers. I cannot wait to go back to teaching to older kids and adults.

    Why not have a look on the boards of TES where you will get a range of comments on all different aspects of teaching. Some of the posts will be rather bitter, some humorous and many will be informative. Bit like here really.
  3. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    The last school I worked in (secondary) was big on that and I'm sure there are forward-looking primary schools who would jump at that. The thing about all schools is the leadership and schools really reflect the personality and outlook of the Head.
    I have only worked in two primary schools who had a sharply intelligent passionate Head. All the others were quite mimsy.
  4. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    Oh dear, not much response!

    dessiato, I'll have a look at the TES boards, thanks.

    Mrs M, I guess I need to visit a few schools. When I became a teaching assistant it was due to a visit to a secondary school that I thought of cancelling but went ahead and found that I loved working with the kids. I've only worked with kids in mental health settings since then so I need to get some experience. I'll know after a couple of visits if it's something I can do.
  5. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf cocoa buttery

    Mrs Magpie - mimsy is right!
    and/or uncreative bullying headteachers - what a combo:eek: have met both those types and the hybrid type too

    I worked in primary schools for 9 years
    then a children's centre
    now I teach adults in the sector
    I very quickly specialised in early years as I find KS1 and 2 curricula far too standardised without enough creativity for me or the pupils

    every so often I come across a functioning school where people seem to thrive and creative and emotionally intelligent communication occurs:cool:

    I wouldn't say these are the majority of schools though:(

    However I am very glad of all the experience I have had - its been fascinating, I have learnt loads and been privileged to play a big part in children's and families lives. I didn't know how much it was going to take out of me before I did it though and I wonder if I would have chosen differently. I have met some good friends through my work but they weren't the majority of the workforce - unfortunately a large number of people who have never left school in their own minds and are petty or vindictive or infantalised to a degree. The people who are good are :cool: and the people who are awful are :facepalm: Also had to come up against my own limits A LOT and had to do a lot of repair work and reflection in order to be able to keep coming back despite feeling not up to the task a lot of the time. There are multiple pressures: curriculum and results agenda plus family and children's needs - if you end up in a school considered failing that also serves a community in difficulty then you've got a hard and painful time ahead. If you have a background in mental health that would stand you in good stead.

    Now I'm working with adults who work in the sector so I get to visit nurseries and I know that I miss working directly with children and families but I also like working with adults too. I'd really like to combine the two. Probably what I'd like to do if/when I can afford it is to work part time and then carry on doing research with children as that's what I'm really interested in that

    So the take home message is that it's hard work, rewarding, maddening, enlightening, it can be creative and dull and heartbreaking and can lead you into lots of other great places if you look for opportunities and take them.(or maybe that's just me:D:oops:)

    eta: in this climate having a job that is recession-proof to an extent can be a massive plus obviously
    Mrs Magpie likes this.
  6. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    Too tired to respond properly right now but thanks for that - it's very helpful and I always take an interest in your posts on these matters :)
    Miss-Shelf likes this.
  7. nagapie

    nagapie Well-Known Member

    I don't know much about primary schools but according to many, they are very curriculum driven and have lost sight of lots of their creativity as a result. From your posts and interests, I'm not sure this would suit you but really you need to organise to go back into primary schools and have a good look (I think you'd need to do this to get on a training course anyway). But I have managed to escape some of the ennui of teaching by going into special needs, which is a bit more varied and in some ways a bit less pressured as you don't have the day to day grind of the curriculum. Have you considered this as a path?

    A teacher friend in Canada is re-training as a Montessori teacher. Don't know much about Montessori really but I'm sure you've thought about this a lot and considered this sort of thing.
  8. spanglechick

    spanglechick Lying in the gutter, looking like a star.

    does balbi still post here? he teaches year 1 iirc.
  9. Sweet FA

    Sweet FA ✪ Three rounds Lord, in my .44 ✪

    I'm a primary teacher and I love it (though I've just gone supply after 7 years...).


    eta sorry; useless post; I'll add more later
  10. extra dry

    extra dry 2fast2live2young2die

    Depends on the school and settings, what subjects your looking at teaching, you get through a few days of being the new teacher...but then the really long hours and paper work come flooding in.
  11. wayward bob

    wayward bob official sideboard pervert

    i don't know if any of this will be helpful or relevant. not a teacher, never have been, almost everyone else in my family is, for some reason.

    our school is amazing. the head is switched on, intelligent, passionate. she visits other schools in a sort of standards of excellence kind of thing ( :oops: sorry that makes no sense). the catchment is inner city, high transient population, refugees etc. it is the happiest place i've ever been :D most of the teachers and assistants are brilliant: young, interested, always training and developing new skills. it's a real focus for the community. the secretary knows pretty much every parent on sight. they do awesome activities and trips, they treat every single child as an individual, because they have to, because their intake is so variable, they constantly have new children in every year group who speak no english at all.

    i couldn't go to kid2's assembly but mr b filmed some of it for me. a raggle-taggle reception class singing in welsh and english, doing a little "play" in welsh and doing "dear zoo" in sign language :cool:

    i'm sure the head has more flexibility because we're in wales, but that doesn't account for most of it, i don't think. from what little i know of you redcat you'd be the kind of teacher the world needs more of, i hope you manage to find a school like ours :)
    Miss-Shelf, Red Cat and Mrs Magpie like this.
  12. Dan U

    Dan U Boompty

    Mrs U is a Primary School teacher, trained in Australia (where you need to do a Teaching Degree to become a Teacher), she also has a Post Grad in what they call 'student welfare' but is probably more akin to a SEN qualification.

    When she came over here about 7 years ago and did a lot of supply in South London she really struggled for a while, schools were not as resourced, teachers not as well trained in SEN, Behaviour etc and yes, they were very curriculum focused. This was (in her opinion) partly because they were trying to rectify some previous lack of focus and poor standards in primary education and the natural solution was to focus on SATS and curriculum until the whole system has pulled its boots up so to speak.

    For the last 5 years she has been doing supply/maternity cover in the same school, except for one visa enforced break. The school she is teaching does self directed learning, doesn't teach to SATS etc until Year 6, the kids don't do homework to speak of and all work is marked with a teacher. They don't do whole class teaching except for literacy. It is an OFSTED excellent school but the local education authority hasn't always liked it and it doesn't work for all parents or children.

    However they are now a beacon school and struggling schools regularly come to see how they teach, how they plan lessons, how the children choose their learning within the framework of the curriculum, how their learning zone works etc, so things are changing.

    She's leaving in July to become a SENCO at another Primary School who also want to do more self directed learning, move away from curriculum etc

    its not all doom and gloom, you just need to pick your school carefully!
    Miss-Shelf, Red Cat and spanglechick like this.
  13. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    I have thought about SEN. I've worked in an EBD primary school and when I worked in secondary as a TA I supported girls with statements and worked closely with the SENCO, which I found interesting.

    re.Montessori I'm not that keen from the little I know and despite all the attacks on education and teachers, I want to work in the state sector.

    I guess I'm hoping that there are more creative ways of interpreting the curriculum.
  14. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    Thank you :oops: :)
  15. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    This sounds great. If you don't mind could you pm me details of the school? There's no reason why the schools I visit have to be local - I'm willing to travel to visit a progressive school.
  16. kittyP

    kittyP schmeeer

    If you would be interested in teaching teenagers, don't want to teach your degree subject, and would like to try and take an alternative approach to the curriculum then I would def recommend looking in to a few different special needs secondarys.
    Mrs Magpie likes this.
  17. Red Cat

    Red Cat Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I do want to teach teenagers these days. I find young children really interesting and I'm still passionate about mental health - I'd like to be able to spot problems early - by the time they're teenagers it can be catastrophic. If in 10 years time child psychotherapy (which is what I started training in but there are literally zero jobs ) still exists in the NHS, primary teaching is the best experience I can get for training in that.

    But thanks for the advice - it's an option isn't it? :)

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