On 02/11/11, in "What Education Can Learn From Other Professions," I wrote:
“I quite often find myself comparing teaching and education with other professions and sectors, just to check whether the particular point I’m raising is actually valid and happens just within education. From doing this, I’ve found that there are many overlaps and similarities between education and other sectors, and that most of the time the other sectors have got things set up a damn sight better.”
I’m no expert in what every career is really like under the surface, just in teaching, so sometimes I am left wondering if I am just presuming the grass is greener on the other side. Here’s some of the main career sectors I have questions about and suspect could be just as bad. I would like to know if I am right or not, as those answers will impact on the points I am making through this blog.
I consider jobs as a musician, dancer or actor to have a very high workload and quite a high amount of personal invasion on your work performance and your private life. For your average professional entertainer as well, the pay is never going to be particularly high unless you do some serious selling out.
Politicians also have their personal affairs put under a microscope, and are very vulnerable to being made a scapegoat. However, the power, status and money that goes with the job more than compensate for this.
You hear of paramedics and firefighters being subject to a lot of abuse, and are considered to be always on duty. I can also imagine police get their private lives scrutinised quite badly. The pay I don’t think is much better than teaching.
I bet they get blamed for everything, with quite a lot of full scale scapegoating happening.
Bullying is probably through the roof in the armed forces, and the pay is very low considering how dangerous the work is.
In order for another career to be as awful as teaching is though, there would have to be a significant amount of workers struggling with all of these: high workload, bullying, scapegoating, invasive performance management, personal abuse and poor salary compensation. Other careers I considered bad for one aspect, for example legal work having a high workload, were fine in other areas, such as good salaries.
Having changed careers from teaching, I can safely say that the grass is actually greener over here and it’s not just an illusion. I’d like to think that I am wrong about the careers I’ve mentioned above, and that most of the workers in those sectors are very happy. I would absolutely love to hear from anyone who can give me any information about that.
If you’ve been effected as a teacher by high workload and bullying and you think you could benefit from some anonymous, off the record advice, then email me.
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