What’s it like moving from primary to teaching secondary school?

Have you ever thought of a career change? Of moving from one phase to another, perhaps? Or from teaching to, well, anything else that doesn’t sap the very life from you? I have. One KS3 English teacher reveals her thoughts in Teachwire.

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with the profession; I’ve spent many evenings pondering alternative choices, but honestly, I cannot see myself doing anything else.

Recently, however, having spent seven years in primary, becoming disillusioned with the SATs and the ever narrowing curriculum and focus on assessments and Ofsted, I decided to take a leap into secondary teaching. And what a leap it was!

Teenagers are complicated; I know my mother would attest to that. And wonderful and interesting and knowledgeable and sensitive. If I am being honest, I am still learning how to deal with them – I was never very good at it, even as a teenager myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than able to speak calmly and honestly with students, but I still don’t feel like I’ve quite nailed it. Shouting doesn’t work. Nor does lecturing them.

I can see the frustration of secondary colleagues when students’ SATs results don’t match what we see in the secondary classroom. 

I am frustrated knowing that children have been taught the basics of punctuation, grammar and arithmetic in KS2, yet we are having to revisit and consolidate these skills in Y7. I also struggle with the fact that the Y7 curriculum does not seem to be any more challenging than the SATs expectations.

Along with behaviour management and curriculum issues, though, my biggest concern is my own subject knowledge. I am now an English specialist. Which is both wonderful and terrifying in equal measures.

Read more What’s it like moving from primary to teaching secondary school?

Have you made the move from primary to secondary vice versa? What was your biggest challenge? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter~ Tamsin 

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