Do you still enjoy teaching Psychology?

 Do you still enjoy teaching Psychology?
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 04:37 PM
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Joined: 10 June 2008
Posts: 3

Funny title for a discussion I know! But I’ve been away from teaching for a few years having babies (my third and final) and I am now contemplating returning to teaching Psych at A Level. Have checked out the new specs i’m feeling a bit overwhelmed (actually terrified) by the sheer quantity involved?! It just seems like so much content? How do you deliver it all? Ensure understanding? How do the students possibly remember that amount of content for 3 exams one after the other?! I’m wondeing if my heart is still in it, or if it’s just nerves.

So tell me? Do you still love it? Is it still worth it?! Do students still love it? Or is it a relentless slog for all involved?! 

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 04:30 PM
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Joined: 1 November 2007
Posts: 2050

Gosh, loaded questions. I still love teaching the subject as it generates so much interesting discussion and hopefully makes the students just a little more tolerant and questioning of so called "Facts and opinions" My students still love it, I had a large drop in numbers a couple of years ago as Psychology was in the first tranche of changes so the less committed students went for subjects were the AS still counted. Numbers are still lower than before the change but this is because I no longer get the "fourth choice AS because it's sounds fun" student (and to be honest my pass rate at AS has improved significantly)

Students this year are those who had to take linear GCSEs so the idea of 3 exams after two years doesn't worry them. Next year most GSCE subjects will have lost controlled assessment as well so I think the students will be even more prepared.

Having said that the new specs are very content heavy, I went with Edexcel as this seems the least content but there are lots pf application questions and the levels based marking is applied quite harshly (no more "best fit") so the grade boundaries were very low last year. My school no longer offers AS exams so I have gained 6 weeks teaching time which means I can spend more time on exam skills. Paperwork by the school however is the biggest stressor!

I still love the subject and I do think it's worth it BUT at 53 I am beginning to plan an exit route... it's not about the new exams and specs which are settling in but more about the general stress involved with teaching. Much of this is to do with my school though!

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 08:31 PM
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Joined: 10 June 2008
Posts: 3

Thanks Jenny, I really appreciate your candid reply. Food for thought most definitely. It seems a very different world now and I only left in the summer of 2015. Thank you for responding. 

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 09:28 PM
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Joined: 24 November 2008
Posts: 222

Emma I have sent you a private message answering this, it's a bit rambly though so feel free to ignore!

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 05:37 PM
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Joined: 13 January 2009
Posts: 1992

Tough question. I love teaching and I love psychology. But, yes there is far too much content on the new A levels, however terminal exams haven't really been an issue. And I welcome the scrapping of AS as it does leave more time to focus on teaching the A level and doesn't lead to lots of year 12 students feeling like failures because they haven't reached the standard yet.

However, schools in general have changed and not for the better. Micro management and the relentless focus on progress and performance, to the exclusion of all else has left me feeling disillusioned. Luckily, I'm 55 this year, so I've handed in my notice and will semi-retire in July.

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 05:34 PM
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Joined: 10 September 2012
Posts: 35

I still love it! The students always say it is their favourite subject and I enjoy talking to the older ones about their own experiences and what they can bring to the table related to the topics. I think the new AQA spec is a lot clearer and much more relevant than the old one. The textbooks are great too and finding the excellent free resources on here always cuts down my planning time. 

If you find a school that values work life balance then teaching is a joy. But having said that, I do think the relentless performance management culture is getting somewhat ridiculous. Plus I'm also giving up being HOD next year as I feel you're only as good as your last set of results. Lazy colleagues and constant absenteeism in the dept are my main bugbears but I still genuinely enjoy it day to day!