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Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

Old Nov 14th 2012, 12:45 pm
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Default Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

OK, first up I am not a British expat. I am an Australian currently living overseas and will be returning to QLD to teach after doing my postgrad in education. I am torn between primary, middle school and secondary teaching. I am aware of the massive oversupply of primary teachers and demand only for secondary teachers in specialized areas like maths and science. I also know that rural areas are better places to get jobs (I will be living in the Hervey Bay area, but have no dramas about going "bush" in QLD).

The areas I can teach in secondary are Business, ICT and Mandarin (however I need to pass a proficiency test and I know I will fail that, plus very few schools really are pushing Mandarin as a second language). I actually quite enjoy the idea of teaching business/ICT, but concerned that I'd have buckley's chance of finding work besides subbing. The QLD education site says there is a demand for junior secondary, which I assume is the new "middle school" that will come into effect when year 7 primary transfers to high school in 2015 or so. So, I am currently leaning towards a middle school path as I hope that will increase my chances of finding work. I've taught EFL to children from grades one to six and at a university level, so I know how energetic children can be and how disinterested/facebooked teenagers often are.

I've done lots of digging around and pretty much been told that if you like children, then teach primary. If you like your "content", then teach secondary. However, I am not sure what the workload is like. Some people have told me they spend HOURS a day at home preparing for class the following day, whereas others have said they spend very little time at home preparing. I am not a lazy person, but I don't want to take my work home with me and turn my time into work time. I realize this is near impossible as teachers must always do something at home, but there is a limit to how much work I can do outside of work hours before it starts to get to me. A relative of mine teaches special ed and he basically said that he likes to separate work and his life, so that about sums up my view.

Feedback? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

As someone with kids and married to a primary teacher.

I have to say your not suited to primary due to the fact you dont want the extra work in your own time.
Primary school often equals preparing work in your own time, as kids at this age often need extra support. My hubby often does work evening and weekends. He loves primary and finds its very rewarding.
Often with primary you will need to find your own resources and make up you own work sheets etc. You will have kids with different levels of ability, hubby has had kids that cannot read or write and others in the class who are gifted. So you can not just use one text book or resource fits all. (hence the extra work). Some schools dont use set text books in primary.

I have also got high school kids. Id say this would suit your needs more. They often follow a set text book, and they often mark their own work in lessons. Again high school teachers on here will likely say you do work in your own time.

With teaching you will always find someone who does as little as possible, and says teaching is easy. Not a teacher I would want for my kids.

But as someone who is married to a teacher I think if you want to be a good teacher, you seriously need to do some work in your own time.

You also need to see what age of kids you enjoy interacting with, some people dont click with primary age. My hubby would hate to work with teens. So its not just about what has shortage but what age range you like and can relate to.

Good Luck with your choice.
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 2:40 am
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Default Re: Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

Both my children are teachers. Both are secondary teachers.

My son teaches science and maths and his day starts at 8 am and finishes around 5 pm. He does a lot of things for the school. He is daily org so that in itself is an extra task. He is a teacher who spends a lot of his time for the school and as has been said they are the teachers who are needed. According to my son there are enough of them that leave at 3.30 on the dot, complain when they need to fill in classes and like to take a day off quite often. Schools are a team and when the team is not working as a team it puts on others.

I think these days you have to be really committed to be a teacher, for a start the pay is woeful and they more than make up for their school holidays if they are good teachers, going on camp etc which is a 24 hour job.

Also there is the problem that holidays are always expensive as school hols are premium holiday times

You teach subjects that are probably only available at later years of high school like my daughter, hence there are lots of teachers chasing these jobs. Hence my daughter does not teach now, she works in business and is involved in training when required by her firm, this suits her fine.

Most teachers are on contract and not a lot get permanent positions unless they live in the outback sort of areas.
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 4:31 am
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Default Re: Teaching Primary vs Secondary in Aus

Thanks. Yes, I am aware that most teachers are contract teachers, at least for a few years at the start. My original post may have portrayed myself as someone who doesn't like work and expects to simply clock in and clock out, but that isn't the case. I am aware that teaching involves work outside of the classroom, but there is a limit before it becomes what I consider beyond reasonable. I'll leave it there because I know how much of a hot topic teachers and education can be. Many thanks for the replies.
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