Primary or secondary teaching. Which in your opinion is better?

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username1039383
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#1
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#1
Also please state the benefits and disadvantages after I complete my psychology degree, I want to train as a teacher so badly but not sure whether i should stick with teaching psychology at GCSE/A-level or teaching the national curriculum to primary students..
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Penguins&Pandas
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Personally, I think secondary would be better. I don't have much reasoning but I guess teaching primary would be going too far back for me and it would be hard to teach such basics like addition. But I think it depends on what sort of age group you prefer
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Shelly_x
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(Original post by Secretnerd123)
Also please state the benefits and disadvantages after I complete my psychology degree, I want to train as a teacher so badly but not sure whether i should stick with teaching psychology at GCSE/A-level or teaching the national curriculum to primary students..
This is an entirely individual decision. You need to get experience in both primary and secondary schools and then you will know which one is right for you.
You may also want to consider the fact that psychology is not widely taught at GCSE level, so jobs will be thin on the ground. But if your heart is in secondary it is still worth going for it
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(Original post by Penguins&Pandas)
Personally, I think secondary would be better. I don't have much reasoning but I guess teaching primary would be going too far back for me and it would be hard to teach such basics like addition. But I think it depends on what sort of age group you prefer
Oh i see. Do you prefer more challenging age groups?

I would want to teach anywhere from children aged 8-13 years old. I think teaching at secondary schools is really stressful (after watching young tough teachers) and i'm not sure if i want to put myself under all that stress. Atleast prinary school kids don't talk back (most) or insult you lol!
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(Original post by Shelly_x)
This is an entirely individual decision. You need to get experience in both primary and secondary schools and then you will know which one is right for you.
You may also want to consider the fact that psychology is not widely taught at GCSE level, so jobs will be thin on the ground. But if your heart is in secondary it is still worth going for it
How easy is it to get access to schools for experience purposes?
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ChrisTMH
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#6
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Teaching secondary would involve a lot more work and especially stress, primary teaching is not as hard...then again, my mum used to be a teacher and if I asked her, she would simply say "What ever you do, don't become a teacher".
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TraineeLynsey
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(Original post by ChrisTMH)
Teaching secondary would involve a lot more work and especially stress, primary teaching is not as hard...then again, my mum used to be a teacher and if I asked her, she would simply say "What ever you do, don't become a teacher".
What is your experience that makes you state primary is not as hard as secondary?

In what way?
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ChrisTMH
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(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
What is your experience that makes you state primary is not as hard as secondary?

In what way?
I can't say I know first hand or from anyone. I would say secondary is harder because of the workings of puberty especially on men would cause a higher amount of badly behaved students, making it a hard job. Also, there is a lot more marking, mock test marking, homework marking etc. involved, whereas with primary the homework is probably a lot easier to mark. I would have also though that with primary teaching you would get more free time, as I said because of the homework situation and no need for out of hours marking..or at least, not as much as secondary. I admit that in primary some kids may well be unruly and such, but with the one I went to, this was not the case. But I guess it would depend on how many students you would be having.
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(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
What is your experience that makes you state primary is not as hard as secondary?

In what way?
You're only in charge of one class if you're a primary school teacher wheras in secondary you have to teach many different year groups which obviously results in more work to mark?
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El Salvador
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#10
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At either level you can get good and bad students academically and behaviorally so I don't think that matters as you don't exactly know where you are going.

But secondary students are generally cognitively smarter; but primary are more motivated and creative.
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TraineeLynsey
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And here's the point where I tell you that I'm a primary trainee and you shouldn't make such sweeping statements about things you don't even have any second hand experience of, never mind first hand experience.

I'm not saying either is harder than the other, primary and secondary have their own challenges. Even within primary there's a big difference between early years and upper primary, as I imagine there probably is from KS3 up to 6th form.

I'm on my phone right now but will be back in a moment to address some of the specific misconceptions stated above once I've got my laptop.
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Penguins&Pandas
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(Original post by Secretnerd123)
Oh i see. Do you prefer more challenging age groups?

I would want to teach anywhere from children aged 8-13 years old. I think teaching at secondary schools is really stressful (after watching young tough teachers) and i'm not sure if i want to put myself under all that stress. Atleast prinary school kids don't talk back (most) or insult you lol!
yes that's very true! secondary is a bit of an awkward age haha, like kids are trying to find themselves..
hmm it really depends on what you prefer. Try getting experience in both. And see what you actually prefer teaching.
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username1039383
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#13
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Hmm i'm really interested now

(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
And here's the point where I tell you that I'm a primary trainee and you shouldn't make such sweeping statements about things you don't even have any second hand experience of, never mind first hand experience.

I'm not saying either is harder than the other, primary and secondary have their own challenges. Even within primary there's a big difference between early years and upper primary, as I imagine there probably is from KS3 up to 6th form.

I'm on my phone right now but will be back in a moment to address some of the specific misconceptions stated above once I've got my laptop.
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Shelly_x
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#14
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(Original post by Secretnerd123)
How easy is it to get access to schools for experience purposes?
Depends on the school and your area. I found it quite easy but others don't. Phone schools and ask them whether you would be able to volunteer as a teaching assistant there.

You will need classroom experience when you apply for your pgce so you may as well start early.
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Shelly_x
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(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
And here's the point where I tell you that I'm a primary trainee and you shouldn't make such sweeping statements about things you don't even have any second hand experience of, never mind first hand experience.

I'm not saying either is harder than the other, primary and secondary have their own challenges. Even within primary there's a big difference between early years and upper primary, as I imagine there probably is from KS3 up to 6th form.

I'm on my phone right now but will be back in a moment to address some of the specific misconceptions stated above once I've got my laptop.
This.
Each phase has it's own challenges and you need to experience both to appreciate this.
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Juichiro
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Secretnerd123)
You're only in charge of one class if you're a primary school teacher wheras in secondary you have to teach many different year groups which obviously results in more work to mark?
Yeah but in primary you teach all the subjects while in secondary your normally stick to one or two. This balances what you said. Primary and secondary have different aspects that might make it better or worse for different people. Get experience in both and make up your mind.
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TraineeLynsey
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(Original post by ChrisTMH)
I would say secondary is harder because of the workings of puberty especially on men would cause a higher amount of badly behaved students, making it a hard job.
I can't make any direct comparison, because my experience is only of primary, but there are plenty of children in year 5 and 6 who are starting to go through puberty and have the same hormonal issues going on as children in secondary. Don't assume because children are young that they will automatically bow down to an authority figure. A lot of children come in to primary school with no authority figure at home, so they have no understanding of the idea that you must listen to the grown up in the room. There are many very poorly behaved, and violent, primary aged children. Believe me.


(Original post by ChrisTMH)
Also, there is a lot more marking, mock test marking, homework marking etc. involved, whereas with primary the homework is probably a lot easier to mark.
All I can give you is an indication of an average week in year 5, teaching 90% of lessons (10% PPA time). In a class of 30 this will involve marking 30 literacy books and 30 numeracy books every day. These MUST be done before the lesson the next day. On top of this there are at 30 science books each week, homework each week, topic work to mark each week and so on. Obviously there are other lessons that require planning time which don't necessarily generate traditional marking (PE, art, etc). The level the children are working at may be lower than secondary, but they need to be marked in just as much depth. For example, my literacy marking involves a complex editing code where children need to be instructed to fix all spelling errors, you need to point out where missing punctuation is, make it clear to them where sentence structure is incorrect or word choice has meant their work no longer makes sense. Additionally, you need to assess if they have met the specific requirements for that lesson and give a comment on every piece of work to tell the child what they have done well and what they could have improved. Often a comment asking them to make a specific addition or improvement is also required.

Re mock tests. Are you under the impression that primary school students do no take tests? My class is assessed 6 times a year in reading, writing, maths and mental maths, plus 'creative curriculum' assessments 3 times a year to assess their understanding of their current topic (this incorporates art, geography, history etc). I'm still training so maybe I'm a little slow, but it takes me 5-10 minutes to mark each reading test. You can work out the maths on that one and tell me how easy and quick it is.

(Original post by ChrisTMH)
I would have also though that with primary teaching you would get more free time, as I said because of the homework situation and no need for out of ours marking..or at least, not as much as secondary.
A fully qualified primary teacher plans, teaches and assesses 90% of the lessons for the children in their class. So their teaching commitment is roughly 5 hours a day of lessons (depending on the individual school timetable) with one day when you'll only teach 2 or 3 hours of lessons and spend the others planning. On top of this there are break duties, and lunchtimes spent marking / prepping / keeping in kids who haven't finished their work. For an NQT you do 80% of teaching, do you basically get another 2 or 3 hours out of class for CPD activities. Many schools require the teachers to still plan the lessons that take place during PPA time though, so there is extra work involved in that.

(Original post by Secretnerd123)
You're only in charge of one class if you're a primary school teacher wheras in secondary you have to teach many different year groups which obviously results in more work to mark?
1 class x 18 lessons
3 classes x 6 lessons
6 classes x 3 lessons
9 classes x 2 lessons

Exactly the same work load. Some might even argue that secondary colleagues benefit here because there are sometimes occasions where the same lesson can be used for two different classes. Primary teachers don't have that luxury.

(Original post by clh_hilary)
At either level you can get good and bad students academically and behaviorally so I don't think that matters as you don't exactly know where you are going.

But secondary students are generally cognitively smarter; but primary are more motivated and creative.
I mostly agree with this, though there are plenty of demotivated primary pupils just as I am sure there are plenty of creative and engaged secondary students.
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El Salvador
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#18
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#18
(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
I mostly agree with this, though there are plenty of demotivated primary pupils just as I am sure there are plenty of creative and engaged secondary students.
But that's like my point. You can find any kind of student at any level. In general, primary are more motivated and secondary are cognitively more developed.

Other things like 'talking back' actually cannot be generalise based on age because it based even more on family/education background and motivation.
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TraineeLynsey
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
But that's like my point. You can find any kind of student at any level. In general, primary are more motivated and secondary are cognitively more developed.

Other things like 'talking back' actually cannot be generalise based on age because it based even more on family/education background and motivation.
As I said, I mostly agree. I just disagree with your use of the generalisation about motivation / cognitive ability. My personal opinion is that you really can't generalise about the 'type' of children you find in different school types or phases - kids are like snowflakes and you can find every different version that you can imagine in any situation.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by TraineeLynsey)
As I said, I mostly agree. I just disagree with your use of the generalisation about motivation / cognitive ability. My personal opinion is that you really can't generalise about the 'type' of children you find in different school types or phases - kids are like snowflakes and you can find every different version that you can imagine in any situation.
It is, based on empirical evidence, that primary schoolchildren tend to be more motivated; whilst secondary schoolchildren are more cognitively developed.

I'm not engaging in this any further.
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