Scary side

The scary side of teaching

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions, but sometimes the classroom can terrify the best of us…

Whilst we’re carving up pumpkins, preparing our costumes and planning Halloween themed classroom activities, it’s easy to forget that teaching isn’t always this fun. Sometimes, in fact, it can be downright scary.

Whether it’s waiting for exam results to arrive through the post, preparing for Ofsted to arrive or trying to control unruly students, teaching can often be a spine-chilling experience. Obviously, it’s not all bad, but as it’s Halloween, we thought we’d take a look at some of the unspoken nerve-racking elements of life as a teacher.

1. The long working hours

Before many of us get into the teaching profession, we imagine a world in which we can spend 7 hours a day teaching receptive students who love to learn new things. The reality for almost all of us turns out to be something quite different. Not only do we spend many of our evenings planning lessons, often prep work can eat into our weekends too.

Even our oft-mocked holidays aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. When was the last half term when you genuinely relaxed? As teachers, we’re always planning to help our students be the best they can be. And though the workload can often be scary, seeing a classroom succeed must surely be up there with the best feelings of any profession.

2. Exam time

Is there anything more nerve-racking than waiting to see how your kids have done in their exams? All those months preparing them to succeed, come to fruition on that one day. When you finally find out how they’ve done in exams that set their course to their futures. Exam results day is one of the scariest times of the year.

This is without even considering the pain of seeing the disappointed faces of students who haven’t done so well. Not only can it be heart-breaking, but it can also sometimes cast doubt on our teaching methods. Fortunately, we know this isn’t always the case. You’re doing a great job, and you’re helping to build the future talent that our society will depend on. Exam time may be scary but when it comes to your input as a teacher, this area’s definitely a treat rather than a trick.

3. Ofsted

If exam results day is the scariest time of the year, Ofsted runs it a close second. Thankfully, for most of us at least, it only happens every 3-5 years. But when you find out that it’s coming in the next few days, it can be difficult to fully prepare. Particularly if you had a non-linear lesson planned.

More often than not Ofsted tends to be pretty reasonable unless of course there are genuine flaws in your school (which we’re sure they’re not). Still, it’s never nice being judged on your performance by an organisation that reports directly to the government. Yikes.

4. Angry parents

We all want to have healthy, close relationships with the parents of our students. Doing so not only helps us better understand them as people, it gives us a solid indication of how kids are taught outside of the classroom. When we know this, it becomes easier to tailor lessons to better suit students’ learning needs. It can even uncover mental health problems and learning difficulties.

Unfortunately, parents aren’t always compliant. Every parent believes that their child should come first and rightly so. But as a teacher, it’s impossible for every student to receive highly tailored attention. That’s where problems arise, particularly for the pushiest of parents. Ultimately though, most parents are looking out for their child’s personal development in the same way you are. Parent’s evening can still be scary for some of us though!

5. Burnout

This scary aspect of teaching is closely tied to the first point in this blog. Burnout is one of the greatest risks for teachers, especially when you tie it in with the other stresses and challenges we encounter on a daily basis. Many in the industry cite it as a core factor in teachers leaving their roles despite wanting to stay for the sake of their pupils and when it’s kids education at risk, there are not many things scarier than that. Not just for the teaching profession, but society as a whole.

However, not every teaching job is the same. There are always new roles that better align with your values and approach, helping to reduce the risk of burnout. To find the latest teaching jobs in the UK, search in the box below. Do so, and next term might not be so scary as this one!

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