Bright Teachers

Teaching, educationand education aides blog

Is teaching the career for you?

Teaching can be a rewarding and well paid career choice and can lead to quite rapid progression if you are willing to take on extra responsibility whilst in post.

If you decide that it is your chosen career path you will need to have a relevant degree or be working towards one. Many primary teachers opt for a B Ed degree as within the course a higher percentage of time is spent on teaching skills than on subject knowledge. Should you be considering a career as a secondary teacher a deeper subject knowledge will be required and so many decide on a BA or BSc or even a one year PGCE degree after obtaining a degree in your chosen subject.

During your course you will be given the opportunity to work in schools on teaching practice. This is a useful way of finding out if you like working in school and to see for yourself the responsibilities that teachers undertake. Whilst in school it is important to find out as much as possible about the career advantages and to discuss with senior management about progression in this field.

After qualifying you will be able to start applying for jobs confident that you have a good idea what this particular career involves.

Time management is essential for teachers

Despite what people may think teachers do have a lot of work they need to fit in, not only during the school opening hours but also afterwards and weekends. It is vital that you have good time management skills otherwise you will struggle to fit everything in and may find that the job becomes extremely stressful.

Planning is very important; you need to know what you have get done within the term and how this should be split throughout the weeks and days. You may also have to plan in time for presenting an assembly to the other classes, report writing, parents evening and possibly helping with afterschool classes.

As a rule, most teachers will do their marketing in the evening and at weekends. Although they are given PPA (planning, preparation and assessment) time, this is usually a few hours within the week and not nearly enough needed for all the planning and marking.

If you are struggling to fit in all the work you need to do, then it is advisable to seek the help of other teachers or speak to the head teacher. They will be able to help you prioritise your workload and delegate other work if possible, to a TA or another teacher.

Is supply teaching a good option?

Many teachers at some point consider supply teaching. This may be when they first qualify, as they approach retirement age or just when their personal circumstances have changed and they need to have more flexibility.

Supply teaching can be very rewarding and if you are unsure as to whether you want a full time job as a teacher then it’s a good way to explore the industry without having to commit to a permanent post. If you are already employed in a permanent position by a school then you will usually have to give at least one terms notice before leaving, if you are a supply teacher you can literally pick and choose which days you work. As a supply teacher, you will usually be paid a higher salary per day than a permanent teacher but the work is not guaranteed so you may only get a few days’ worth of work a week. Also you will not usually get paid throughout the school holidays so will need to factor this in to your budget too.

Although supply teachers do not have as much responsibility you may still have to undertake certain tasks such as marking work especially if you are covering a teacher who is going to be away for a while.

Teacher time management

As a teacher, managing your time effectively is crucial to allow you to do everything you need to. There is so much work to do even after the class has gone home, that if you do not find ways to manage your time you will often be working late in to the night and every weekend.

Not only managing your time in your job, but also making sure that you have time for yourself.

It is easy to forget about your home life and spend all your days working but this can lead to high stress levels and overworking can make you become ill.

All teachers are now given something called PPA time which is supposed to be the time in the classroom without the children, where they can mark or plan work. Unfortunately, this time often gets eaten up by other things, you may be asked to cover another class or have a student sent to sit with you who is being disruptive in their own class. If this happens you should be given more PPA time that week to allow you to catch up, but that is not always the case. Ideally you should split your week up in to time marking, time planning and preparing and time to yourself.

Getting ready for the summer break

Many teachers are now on the wide down to summer holidays and looking forward to the 6 week break. This last week or so in school can be quite hard work as not only are the children often worn out and ready for a break but there is usually a lot of disruption. You may have sports days, taster lessons in their new classes, team treats and end of year assemblies to fit in on top of your normal lessons and marking. You will also have to start to think about the new class that you will be teaching and start to make changes to the classroom in readiness for September.

Many schools have a PD day just after the children officially break up to give them time to start to organise their new class, so it is often advisable to wait until then to make any change to displays, drawers and seating arrangements.

The children can often get a bit disruptive during the last few weeks of terms so it is important to plan activities that will allow them to have some fun but also that are structured to ensure that you keep control of the class.