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Well, hello there!
My secret is out! My 'other' job is as a science teacher and unicorn, apparently!
Here is a picture of me working with the most spectacular human alive
Jesse does the most amazing shows! If you live in the North East of England, I would highly recommend Jesse
for events, not just school events, Jesse does weddings too!
I know teaching is not all fun and bubbles.
As a qualified teacher, you know how to assess work, write reports and manage a hectic work-life balance.
You know how to dazzle Ofsted and can engage the most challenging pupils with your teaching expertise.
But do you know all of the perks that come with teaching?
Here is a list of things they DON'T teach you in teacher training:
Teachers CAN ask for a pay rise
When you start teaching, you may feel as though you are doing double the work of your colleagues on half of their pay. This is because, in a way, you probably are.
Your lack of experience in the classroom will take a bit of time to fine-tune, and before you know it, you will be able to conduct a lesson on a whim with no planning, if needed. You will spot a note being passed from a hundred meters and develop the senses of a ninja cat.
You will become efficient at marking and eventually start saying no when asked to do extra work that you shouldn't be doing anyway!
If you feel like your NQT year or NQT+1 has gone especially well, and you have consistently achieved high standards in your observations, had exceptional professional conduct and feel like you are worth more than the starting wage.
Ask to skip a step on the main pay scale.
From my personal experience, this is more likely to be successful in an academy. They will want to keep good teachers, and from a business perspective, your wage will still be lower than most of your colleagues.
If you are in a challenging school, this might also work in your favour, especially if the school has a high staff turnover.
How to ask for a pay rise? Do's and don'ts
Bring the topic up in your CPD meeting. Don't be afraid to do this. The worst thing they can say is no! I asked for it (and it was actioned) when I was an NQT and
My conversation was as direct as this:
I feel like my first year has gone escpecially well (explain why). Would there be an opportunity to progress to M3 instead of M2?
Show your evidence. Make sure you have well presented and organised quality evidence.
Make sure you add the small things too. Had to act as second in the department due to staff absence? Put it down. Has your work been used as the gold standard across the school? Put it down. Delivered an assembly? Put it down.
Be polite and professional if they say no.
Ask if this pay rise could be an opportunity in the future. If so, ask if any training would help with the decision.
Suggest your colleagues are unenthusiastic about teaching, and you should be paid more because you put more effort into lessons. Even if you feel this is true, it is not professional to be disrespectful about your peers to gain a pay rise.
Threaten to go to your union if they say no. The union is there to offer advice, not used as a bullying tool when you don't get your own way.
Say unprofessional things about the school on social media. It could get you in trouble!
Give up! The school might be on a tight budget, or you might need a bit of extra training to help them change their mind.
Take it personally if they say no.
I hope you succeed with this; if you are unsure if you think you are good enough, ask your Head of Department what they think. They might even back you up and put an extra word in for you.
Teachers CAN claim back tax from their union fees
I only found this out last year! If you pay into a union because of your job, you can claim tax back up to 4 years' worth.
If your company pays your union fees directly, you are not eligible.
The union has to be approved by the tax office. Here is the list.
How do I do it, and how do I get the money?
You can claim back your union fees here. It will take around 10-30 minutes, depending on how many years you are claiming back.
It is easy to do yourself. The website is clear and easy to follow. There is no need to pay a company to do this for you.
You will receive a cheque in the post 4-6 weeks after you apply. Easy as that!
Some teachers can apply for a tax rebate on uniform
If you wear a uniform at work, from a branded t-shirt to a lab coat or sports kit - you may be able to claim £100's of tax. This can be claimed back up to 5 years.
I would suggest this is a possibility for science teachers, DT and PE teachers. Teachers of horticulture may also be able to.
If you have to replace, repair or wash these items, you may be able to reclaim the money.
Some companies will charge you a claims fee, but you can do it for free!
Do I qualify?
If your employer requires you to wear it whilst, you are working. It means you have to buy it.
If your uniform is recognisable, like a post person, or you wear a branded T-shirt or tracksuit.
If you have to buy, wash, fix and replace it. You may be able to claim.
If your place of work washes your kit for you.
If your place of work offers you facilities to wash your kit. Even if you chose not to use them.
If your place of work pays you for maintaining your kit.
If you have paid income tax in the year, you are claiming.
You can check to see if you qualify to claim here
You can make a claim here
Your place of employment will have employment perks
This might be limited physio sessions, mental health support or discounts for dental or optical care. Your HR department will have a list of what is available to you. Check it out and use it!
Most schools will have access to a free counselling service, too. Use it if you think you need it. Please don't wait until you realise you should have called them weeks ago. You won't be wasting anyone's time or taking up someone else's spot. There's plenty of help for everyone.
Teachers have sites dedicated to offering them discounts
Discounts for teachers are free to join and offers discounts to all staff that work in education.
Teacher Perks is also free and offers discounts for you and can be used by your school.
Teachers PS discounts are free to join and offer discounts to staff in the education sector
Hilton Hotels may offer up to 30% off for public sector workers in the UK and European Hotels. Once you are on the Hilton website, you will be asked if you have a special code. The code is PR11PN
NASWUT and the Scottish Teachers Association (SSTA) offer members a free will writing service.
The pupils and staff WILL survive if you have a sick day
If you are ill, take a day or two off. The pupils will be absolutely fine. When you drag yourself into work at 40% working capacity, your teaching quality will be average. You and the pupils deserve better. Plus, no one will thank you for passing on your ailment.
Make sure you fully understand your school's sickness policy and know your rights. These can be found on your union's website. If you call in sick, you shouldn't reply to work messages or have to set cover work. You should be left alone. No one should be calling you asking where you are up to with year 11s!
Don't be afraid to have a mental health day either! Sometimes your head becomes so full of the information you need to have a day away from work, have a bubble bath and drink tea. A decent school would prefer you do this for a day or two rather than exhaust yourself mentally and be off for weeks.
If you are an Armed Forces Veteran turned teacher and feels like the above places aren't for you, Combat Stress has 24-hour support for you, although they will only treat any trauma which stems from military days, although remember PTSD can creep up on you years after an event!
The best thing you can provide your pupils with is an engaging lesson which they will remember. Not the lessons where you are too congested to even speak whilst spluttering over their books.
Take the sick day. Trust me.
Teachers can still work a side hustle
When you finally get your work-life balance to where you would like it and fancy some more cash, here are some ways you can achieve that.
You could become an examiner
This means you may mark test papers. Moderating papers can be done during evenings, weekends and holidays. They have a deadline that you must work to, and you will be paid.
You apply online via the examining bodies website and will need 1-2 references.
This is a great way to fine-tune your marking and understanding of what examiners are looking for when teaching the pupil's exam skills.
Experience requirements vary, but most examining bodies will accept NQTs.
Examiners can earn £240 to £1500. This will depend on the level and quantity you are marking.
You could become a private tutor
In general, online lessons are cheaper than face to face lessons due to fewer overheads, such as travel expenses.
If you are unsure of how much to charge, consider:
Location. For face to face tutoring, consider where you live. In an affluent area, you may be able to charge more for your hourly rate if you are providing face to face sessions.
Demand. Is your topic a core subject or something more unique? Consider this when setting your fees.
Niche. Special Education experience? You may be able to tutor pupils that standard tutors can't.
Course. Experience teaching GCSE? This is a trendy area and could work at your level.
Competitor rates. This will give you a bracket of where your flat rate should be set.
Make sure you are organised with your tutoring with this cute selection of highlighters and pens or this planner. If you have a home office and like a visual calendar you can change, why not consider a dry wipe planner for your wall? I also adore these post-it notes because they come in all shapes and sizes.
If you prefer a FREE to-do list, you can download yours here! My fair hands create all items, and freebies are added every month!
This brings us to the end of my list. Is there anything you would add? I wish I knew most of these things when I started teaching, and I hope they help you. If you have any success with any of them, let me know!
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