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Is the secondary teaching situation as dire as it's made out to be?

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  • Pre 95 is the nicest pension clearly but no one has gotten that in nearly 30 years now so it isn’t a good comparison really to be honest

    Very true. The last teachers who were eligible for that pension started teaching 26 years ago. Assuming they started at 22 and have worked as teachers since they would be at least 48 now. Given that so many teachers retire in their 50s now, very few go beyond 60, they are in the minority in schools. We have a staff of about 40 in my school. I'd say the oldest teacher is about 57 now and by my reckoning only 3 staff (50+ in age) are on the pre 95 pension. We have a few more 50+ teachers on staff but they started into teaching post 95.




  • Very true. The last teachers who were eligible for that pension started teaching 26 years ago. Assuming they started at 22 and have worked as teachers since they would be at least 48 now. Given that so many teachers retire in their 50s now, very few go beyond 60, they are in the minority in schools. We have a staff of about 40 in my school. I'd say the oldest teacher is about 57 now and by my reckoning only 3 staff (50+ in age) are on the pre 95 pension. We have a few more 50+ teachers on staff but they started into teaching post 95.

    Similar situation. Very few pre 95 teachers in our school. To be honest with the number of young staff (we've had rapid expansion in recent years) I suspect we have a significant cohort on the post 2013 at this stage




  • Its not emphasised often enough that most public and civil service pensions awarded include or will include the standard state pension.
    As a matter of interest the 6.5% includes 1.5% Widows and Orphans Pension i.e for spouse and dependent children of a deceased public/civil servant.




  • I have just returned to teaching after many years away. I last taught 1993-1995 so would I now be on the old pension scheme or would I have to had continuous service since then. Many thanks.




  • Can we leave the pension bickering, this is not what the OP asked for.

    Full disclosure I am not a teacher but do know a fair few teachers very well. In terms of a career it is a very reliable path which can be quite rewarding if you are in it for the teaching and not the practicality of bullet proof job security and holidays.

    Yes, it can be difficult to get permanent hours but out 4/5 of the ones I know managed it within 2/3 years. The salary is really quite good especially when you consider that the hours you would work per year are much lower than a full-time worker due to to the very generous school holidays in Ireland.

    Working hours/holidays are ideal for the family and you have pretty much 0 over time or being called into the "office" for the end of quarter rush.

    Opens up a lot of opportunities worldwide teaching in exotic places as teachers educated in native English speaking countries are in high demand and in many places make excellent money with accommodation etc. provided.

    There are some concerns over the dynamic between student and teacher changing with teachers facing more scrutiny and having to deal with often stupid complaints etc.

    Just as an aside on the pension front, it must be stressed that a private pension is not guaranteed to be there same way as a public service one is by the state. Sure the government can make a cut but given the amount of voters availing of it, it will always hold its value in uncertain times.


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  • snor wrote: »
    I have just returned to teaching after many years away. I last taught 1993-1995 so would I now be on the old pension scheme or would I have to had continuous service since then. Many thanks.

    As far as I k ow if you have a continuous break of more than 6 months you move to the new scheme.




  • djan wrote: »
    Can we leave the pension bickering, this is not what the OP asked for.

    Full disclosure I am not a teacher but do know a fair few teachers very well. In terms of a career it is a very reliable path which can be quite rewarding if you are in it for the teaching and not the practicality of bullet proof job security and holidays.

    Yes, it can be difficult to get permanent hours but out 4/5 of the ones I know managed it within 2/3 years. The salary is really quite good especially when you consider that the hours you would work per year are much lower than a full-time worker due to to the very generous school holidays in Ireland.

    Working hours/holidays are ideal for the family and you have pretty much 0 over time or being called into the "office" for the end of quarter rush.

    Opens up a lot of opportunities worldwide teaching in exotic places as teachers educated in native English speaking countries are in high demand and in many places make excellent money with accommodation etc. provided.

    There are some concerns over the dynamic between student and teacher changing with teachers facing more scrutiny and having to deal with often stupid complaints etc.

    Just as an aside on the pension front, it must be stressed that a private pension is not guaranteed to be there same way as a public service one is by the state. Sure the government can make a cut but given the amount of voters availing of it, it will always hold its value in uncertain times.


    How can you say the new pension "holds its value" assuming full years of service a new entrant will barely get out what they put in. Is that bickering?

    But as teachers know there are not many who actually make the full years of service (read through the previous posts).

    Going by your example of 4/5 getting permanency in 2-3 years. That's 80% . The research has been done for NQTs and it certainly isn't an 80% employment rate after 2-3 years.
    And I also know 3 teachers who got permanency in Dublin... But gave it up to move abroad or move to a different school elsewhere.

    Also it's not a homogeneous group. Are you talking about primary teaching or secondary?
    If secondary, what subjects do your friends teach... And where?

    On the subject of 'teaching in exotic places'... Have you ever had to deal with the teaching council after returning from abroad?




  • Similar situation. Very few pre 95 teachers in our school. To be honest with the number of young staff (we've had rapid expansion in recent years) I suspect we have a significant cohort on the post 2013 at this stage

    I'd say in the last year or so in my place it's tipped over to at least half of the staff are post 2013.




  • I was just pointing out that a public pension backed by the government is more likely to be there in comparison to a private one of which numerous have been nearly wiped out in the last recession. Which, IMO is a valid point to make in addition to the monthly contributions being relatively low sums.

    My whole point about the bickering over a pension is that it serves the OP little as they asked about the potential pros and cons of a career in teaching. In response to that, there has been a page of discussion on the profitability of a pension.

    I don't think that many would choose a career based on the pension benefits but rather on the stability, work-life balance and satisfaction etc.

    Regarding permanency, it has many variables such as subjects chosen, locality and ability. You could argue the same for any profession where you have to in essence "intern" at the start for little to now pay such as accounting or law. People still do it.




  • djan wrote: »
    Can we leave the pension bickering, this is not what the OP asked for.

    Full disclosure I am not a teacher but do know a fair few teachers very well. In terms of a career it is a very reliable path which can be quite rewarding if you are in it for the teaching and not the practicality of bullet proof job security and holidays.

    Yes, it can be difficult to get permanent hours but out 4/5 of the ones I know managed it within 2/3 years. The salary is really quite good especially when you consider that the hours you would work per year are much lower than a full-time worker due to to the very generous school holidays in Ireland.

    Working hours/holidays are ideal for the family and you have pretty much 0 over time or being called into the "office" for the end of quarter rush.

    Opens up a lot of opportunities worldwide teaching in exotic places as teachers educated in native English speaking countries are in high demand and in many places make excellent money with accommodation etc. provided.

    There are some concerns over the dynamic between student and teacher changing with teachers facing more scrutiny and having to deal with often stupid complaints etc.

    Just as an aside on the pension front, it must be stressed that a private pension is not guaranteed to be there same way as a public service one is by the state. Sure the government can make a cut but given the amount of voters availing of it, it will always hold its value in uncertain times.


    The OP has already been back to say he's grand, so there's no harm in talking about pensions.

    It's also a bit rich that you tell people to stop bickering about pensions and then go on to post about pensions yourself.

    You know 4-5 teachers, not exactly the kind of numbers you need to give an overview of the profession as a whole.

    The pension might be guaranteed, but we are also paying into it from the day we enter teaching. Something that's rarely mentioned when comparing it to private sector pensions. I don't think any of my friends had a pension in their private sector jobs in their 20s. Plenty didn't in their 30s either. If private sector employees were paying into a pension from the age of 22 their pensions might be worth more at retirement.

    Teachers can go and work abroad, but so can lots of private sector workers. If they choose to work abroad, they might earn decent money but they are also losing out years of paying into a pension in Ireland, so it's swings and roundabouts. Most of those teachers don't want to stay in places like the Middle East for their entire career. It's fun for a couple of years in their 20s and then they come home.


    I think you're quite dismissive of 'overtime'. Plenty of teachers prepping at home in the evening for the next day, correcting copies, coursework etc.

    And as for this bull of 'in it for the teaching and not the job security'. Everyone public or private sector wants job security. It doesn't matter how much I love my job, if I can only get 11 hours a week and I'm facing the dole next summer and another summer doing job interviews. You seem to be implying that liking the job should be enough for a teacher that they shouldn't want or need job security. Teachers have lives out of school, they want to be able to have a life, buy a house, have kids, go on holidays etc etc, same as everyone else.


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  • djan wrote: »
    I was just pointing out that a public pension backed by the government is more likely to be there in comparison to a private one of which numerous have been nearly wiped out in the last recession.
    What pension funds were 'nearly wiped out' in the last recession?

    10, 15, 20 year returns are all strong for leading pension funds.

    https://ocean.ie/best-pension-fund-manager/

    The only people who were 'nearly wiped out' were the fools who broke the basic investment rule of diversification, and put all their money into Anglo or other Irish banks instead of using funds.
    djan wrote: »
    Working hours/holidays are ideal for the family and you have pretty much 0 over time or being called into the "office" for the end of quarter rush.

    Try talking to principals or deputy principals, who spend most of their summers doing interviews and other holidays doing timetabling, building moves and other fun and games.




  • Would I be right in saying teaching is getting very casualised? Seems you need something on the side a lot of the time for new younger teachers.





  • I’m working as a secondary school teacher in the west and it can take a while to get a position where you want it. Maths and Irish are good subjects. Although in Galway they’re are lots of Irish teachers. But also lots of Irish medium schools so teaching maths through Irish would be a good option there. I would take contracts with as many hours as possible to gain experience and after a few years you should be able to get somewhere closer to where you want to be based on your experience. Have you though about doing the teaching diploma through Irish to increase your options to include Irish medium education as well? Flexibility is key in rural schools for TY especially. Some people add an extra subject there are courses for maths, languages and religion part-time. This helps if you want to get work in an area with few jobs / high demand for jobs or to increase hours on an existing contract.

    When I started I went rural rather than urban and worked in some really beautiful areas of the country before getting a good contract in the area I wanted to live in permanently. I also added a subject which really worked to my advantage.

    If you’re open regarding where you want to live they’re are lots of good jobs in beautiful places, so good luck ☺️

    It really depends where you’re based but it’s a great career if you enjoy it.





  • Hi

    The usual advise is relevant: follow the path that excites you and worry about job prospects later. The world is changing at a rapid rate and no one knows what ‘jobs’ will look like in twenty years time. However, as a recently retired teacher I’d have a few points that may help.

    I’m not sure how transferable a degree in ‘teaching’ maths/CS or Irish is as opposed to a ‘straight’ degree in either. I always would have preferred to get a degree in a particular area and then do the PME if you want to go in to teaching. Perhaps someone else on Boards might help you with that. In a way, you’ve chosen the ‘teaching’ path very early on in Third Level, so employers might look at that if you change your mind later on.

    I was a DP for a number of years and certainly trying to get cover for the subjects you mention was difficult, and hours are certainly available. However, getting the hours and actually teaching them are two different things. Often, because of the compulsory nature of Irish, you’re dealing with quite a lot of unmotivated students. Not easy to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Some people have a very rosy view of teaching (blame Robin Williams), but the reality can be quite different. I was very lucky and really enjoyed my time teaching, but I know of many people who found the whole experience very trying. Kids act the maggot, because they are kids. Nothing personal, but they can be a handful. As I said above, you are picking a teaching route very early on, without ever actually standing in front of 30 unmotivated students intent on acting up. Irish and Maths are great choices though and you’d be unlucky not to get hours fairly straight away.

    As for pay scales and pensions, well, the unions here have a lot to answer for. Yes, us older teachers had much better conditions and pensions, especially pensions. It would take another thread to argue it all out, but the pay and conditions of new entrants have certainly got a lot worse. Having said that, as a previous poster showed, the pay and conditions are very transparent, so you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

    As previous posters have also said, getting a full CID can take a while. You could end up not being paid for a number of summers. It took me ten years before I got a permanent job (had to go abroad for a while to get some experience).

    But, especially with Irish, there is a lot of work in the summer with camps etc, assuming COVID gets sorted soon.

    Anyway, the best of luck with it.





  • Your subjects are great but someone like me with Geography and History was and is tough, I told my boss I would be happy and able to teach Ag Science if needed this year as I think they might need someone, so getting myself up to date with the parts that wouldnt be familiar to me on that, have to be very enthusiastic with regard to TY and other extra curricular activities to as well as being proactive on well being iniatives in the school. Principals like teachers who organize a lot of these things and run them well. So as far as I can see you would be doing a lot of things that may not be in your subjects. But to get CID in most places you sometimes need to convince them that you are a teacher that they would be at a loss if you left the school, especially with common subjects, I had to work hard to stand out from other geography/history teachers.





  • Does this mean that if you take a 2 year career break and you were pre '95, you move to the newer pension scheme upon your return???





  • No. A career break is an "Approved Leave of Absence" so you retain your pension rights. If you resigned your position, went working abroad for a year and then came back and got a new job, you'd be in the new pension.





  • Oh okay. I'm a 2010 starter so doesnt affect me anyway, but was thinking of a colleague who might have gotten caught out and didn't realise. Thank you.

    God, the thoughts of having to stay in teaching until 65. Really want to go at 60 at the latest - what plans have folks got up their sleeves to get out earlier?

    I started an AVC 4yrs ago in case I change my mind, but at the moment I don't like the idea of taking my pension 5yrs earlier with a penalty.

    Sorry if this should be in another thread





  • Hello

    I am thinking of going back to college as a mature student to be a secondary school teacher in science, biology and ag science. Are these subjects in demand?

    Also once you qualify could you spend a long time subbing before you get work? What is the support like once you qualify? Any help would be appreciated.





  • Biology isn't especially in demand. If you could up your credits in Chemistry, Physics or Maths you'd be in high demand. Ag Sc is hard got but a niche enough school needed.



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  • It very much depends on your location. Down south there are plenty of biology and science teachers. Chemistry and physics teachers would definitely be more in demand.

    Not really sure what you mean by support. Once you qualify you are on your own to look for jobs. You could get very lucky but many people spend years subbing trying to get some security.





  • Just to say it can work out, I know someone who got a permanent job after one year of subbing, now they have a very in-demand subject and were a former student, the school would be considered a bit rough around the edges I would say the principle loves having a former pupil as a bit of prestige and motivating to the student.

    Post edited by mariaalice on




  • As the others said, it all depends on where you live. In Dublin, I know of some schools who had trouble finding teachers this year. In Cork, I know of a few recent grads who did 20+ interviews and didn't get anything. I don't know what you mean by support.You're pretty much on your own!





  • Is subbing week to week or on the maternity leave cycle very bad? I was thinking if i cant squeez a CID of a few hours out of the place im in, I will probably do week to week casual subbing unless the right school came along, Im farming as well so it might suit that I could go hard at subbing from late august to january then take time out when im busy farming, I would imagine you could rack up a nice few pound if subbing in good schools without much discipline issues.





  • That's quite insulating to people running a small business



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  • Its a huge pity the system is going that way....decent people with a backbone are going to become an endangered species in the coming decades. Theres no place for them the way things are going.



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