Advice needed please! RE: teaching(63 Posts)
I am considering doing a PGCE next year, but I am really undecided as to whether I would be better suited to teaching Secondary English, or Primary? I have an English literature degree, and I think that I would enjoy exclusively teaching English, however, I am quite an anxious person, so I am not sure whether secondary children would terrify me?! I also love little children, and am very enthusiastic and happy, so I think that possibly this would make me a better Primary teacher? I really don't know! I'm leaning towards secondary, but family and friends are adamant that I would be a great primary school teacher, so i'm not sure!
I was also wondering if someone would be able to give me a realistic idea of whether a PGCE and then an NQT year will be remotely possible with a small child? I have a six month old, who will be about 20 months old when I start my training. I know that it will be really hard work, and I am absolutely prepared for this, but is it actually possible? I have an amazing support network, so childcare while I am training will not be an issue, but obviously I don't want to commit to doing this if it means that I am unlikely to be able to spend any time with my DS for a couple of years!
Eeeek, help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Going against the grain here - although doing some work experience will be a condition for getting a place, I don't think it is the 'be all and end all' for finding out whether the job is for you. This is because watching classes is SO different from living the life of a teacher. There are plenty of LSAs who are guilty of believing that the teacher has a fairly simple job and these are people who observe lessons all year around. After my pre-PGCE observation period I'm embarrassed to admit that I remember saying (to my family only, thank goodness) that I thought teachers must think that their job is so difficult because they haven't done anything else since university. I was totally wrong. You have to do at least a month of teaching a full timetable to get an idea of what it's like.
I can tell from your written English that you're bright and able, and it is your communication which will help you to shine in interviews. Because of this, your 2:2 from a good university won't hold you back, or restrict where you can teach. However, anxiety could be a big issue (speaking as an anxious Secondary English teacher). It won't stop you doing the job, but the performing nature of teaching raises your adrenaline, and the fact that the work doesn't ever come to a natural end (it's a cliché, but there's always more to do, and you may never feel that you have done as much as you could - you could work around the clock perfecting things) heightens anxiety. I stay in teaching though, because with school-aged children, I can have the school holidays at the same time as them (the pay-off being working at nights and weekends throughout the term).
Sorry this is a long post! I think your main consideration is choosing between Primary and Secondary. I have a close relative who is a Primary teacher, whose father was Secondary, and she says her workload (in particular the marking load) is much lighter. She's not up until 2am marking essays. I've taught with a few teachers whose spouses are in Primary, who also say that the Primary workload is lighter. And I see from this year's marked work of my Primary-aged offspring that the bulk is much lighter. Secondary English marking is HUGE (think four hours of 30 x 11-18 year olds' work, being produced every single day, and needing to be marked every day, plus homework). It can't be done within school hours, by any stretch.
Anyway, I've written all of this because I think you could easily get into it, but these are some details which are worth considering. Good luck!
A 2:2 will restrict where she can teach . A selective school won't employ her, many independent won't some comprehensives which don't struggle to attract staff may turn her away.
That does not mean she won't get a job , she probably will, but there will be restrictions .
Not necc - all depends on the head and the letter of application - and the subject she is teaching. I know plenty of clever people who are shit teachers
"It all depends on the head" is exactly my point . There will be schools head teachers that won't want a teacher with a lower than average degree result . Therefore there will be some restrictions.
I am not saying that academic results alone make a great teacher , but they are part of the package.
Yes it depends on the head. But most will appreciate that a Eng Lit graduate with a 2:2 from Oxbridge will be preferable to one with a 1st from Leicester. I've worked in a good grammar that had the full range of teachers, certainly including some with 2:2s.
Is the OP from Oxbridge?
I am involved in the selection and interview process at my school . After getting rid of cvs with poor grammar or spelling , we get rid of those with an unrelated degree and then those with less than a 2:1.
This is in a comprehensive / secondary modern .
No, it's an example of the recognition of the disparity between degrees. I imagine with AAB she's been to somewhere such as Warwick, Durham, UCL or Edinburgh. I'm not saying that you're wrong for some schools, such as your own, but for many (certainly selective schools, where many teachers have been to top universities) it is not borne out. My dh is a Head of English, and on SLT, and therefore selects for his department
and brings home the cvs to consult his dw
Out of interest, Aris, if you did have an application with a 2:2 in Eng Lit from Oxbridge, would you discard it due to the class of degree? And do you ever discard applications due to the quality of university from which the degree came (genuinely interested, not being pushy)?
Perhaps a 2;2 from Oxbridge could be considered on a par with a 2:1 from elsewhere. But I do think a line has to be drawn if we are to raise the status of teaching.
We have quite a few ex Oxbridge staff, the ones I have been involved in appointing have all had 2:1 or above.
If we had two very close candidates in terms of teaching ability,where they went to university may become an issue. We like to have at least one Oxbridge graduate in each faculty to work with our sixth formers.
My husband has an Oxford MA.
I had to lend him the tenner.
OK sorry OP, perhaps using the word "odd" is a little harsh; but it is quite competitive to get into primary or secondary school training and even harder IME to get a job; you will certainly need some experience before applying.
I guess that before I became a journalist I experienced something of the life by writing for college and school newspapers; before becoming a car mechanic you would probably have been someone who enjoyed mending your dad's lawnmower or your big sister's motorbike... do you sort of see what I mean?
That's interesting Aris. It's always been the quality of the university which has come first IME, but goes to show everywhere's different!
I would consider a 2:1 from a university which has an entry requirement of 3Cs at A level to indicate much lower academic capability on the part of the applicant than a 2:2 from such as the OP's, requiring AAB. She'll have been graded alongside students of a much higher academic standard and the work will have been pitched higher. When you think of your A level students and where they end up, depending on their ability, it's self-evident.
I hope you come to a good decision anyway, OP
Thank you for all of your advice Irene your post was really informative, so thank you for taking the time to reply.
I appreciate my 2:2 may arguably make things more difficult for me, but will this always be the case? I mean, would it just be initially until i've gained experience? So, say I had been a teacher for 5 years and had great references, would my degree classification be secondary to my experience, and therefore mean that better schools would consider me?
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