Advice needed please! RE: teaching

(63 Posts)
Doodledumdums Tue 09-Jul-13 22:11:22

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 smile

Doodledumdums Mon 15-Jul-13 10:31:20

Thank you for all of your advice Irene your post was really informative, so thank you for taking the time to reply. smile

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?

IrenePollack Mon 15-Jul-13 07:35:36

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 smile

Clary Sat 13-Jul-13 17:39:44

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?

Eyesunderarock Sat 13-Jul-13 17:27:50
Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 16:50:58

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.

IrenePollack Sat 13-Jul-13 16:00:23

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)?

IrenePollack Sat 13-Jul-13 15:50:10

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

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 15:33:12

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 .

IrenePollack Sat 13-Jul-13 15:26:16

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.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 15:09:35

"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.

LadyMilfordHaven Sat 13-Jul-13 15:06:21

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

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 14:51:13

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 .

IrenePollack Sat 13-Jul-13 14:27:27

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! smile

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:57:26

I'm glad that worked for you and its great you are an outstanding teacher. Maybe your one of the lucky ones and the desire for the holidays etc matched your skills to be a teacher. Everyone will have experienced great teachers who make a difference and those that have aren't so much.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 11:50:01

I would not say that teaching is my vocation although I love it. I went into teaching for the holidays and hours, I got , by and large, what I was after. I am seem as a good teacher- date I say it even an outstanding teacher .

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:44:35

One person I had was shocked, genuinely shocked, that to be a GP you needed to go to university! Never mind 5years of it plus more training after.

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 11:43:01

When I see people about career options some come in with a vague idea. I encourage that they do some research, gain experience and discuss with those in the field. So OP you are doing the right thing. Maybe as your not sure yet, go on a fact finding mission. Contact unis, try secondary and primary before you commit the rest of your leave. Would your employer allow unpaid leave? Don't rush into this decision.

Teaching is a vocation and it is important to make sure you are right for teaching and teaching is right for you. I do see people who want to go into teaching for the hours and holidays! I do discuss the realities with them.

RNJ3007 Sat 13-Jul-13 09:51:08

I started my SCITT for secondary MFL when DD was 15 months. I completed my SCITT and got married that academic year, did my NQT and am finished my first year post NQT with a 4yo DD and a 33w bump! It is doable as long as you time manage well and have adequate childcare.

Good luck making a choice.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:44:35

I am not saying you will definitely end up in a tougher school.

Teaching is also like acting,I know lots of teachers who are quiet and may appear to lack confidence until they get in front of a class.

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 09:41:22

Thank you Arisbottle (smile)

Yes my anxiety is an issue, unfortunately it is something I just have to live with, and usually I just have to try and not let it stop me doing things, but I hear what you are saying though about ending up in a tougher school, this probably wouldn't help the issue! I really wish I could resit the exam I missed in my final year, it was on Shakespeare which was by far my strongest module! I only missed out on a 2:1 by one mark overall...so frustrating!

Eyesunderarock Sat 13-Jul-13 09:34:46

I'm all for people trying out new things Arisbottle, and at least if it doesn't work out it won't be a catastrophe.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:31:08

Misread the example, I bet lots of aircraft engineers have been inspired the the planes they have flown in.

Arisbottle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:29:54

The OP is getting a hard time, schools are full of teachers who chose their career on the basis of enjoying school/ having watched Dead Poets society/ the holidays. They mostly do well .

I became a teacher having no real school experience other than being a pupil and wanting to not work for 12 weeks a year . I am still a great teacher and gave got exactly what I was looking for.

I imagine there are a fair few pilots who chose that career path because they have flown in a lot of planes .

The anxiety and 2:2 concern me a little , with a 2:2 you are more likely to end up in a tougher school if you choose secondary which will open you up to more anxiety .

I started my secondary PGCE with no school experience. Took me aaaaages to adjust to it. But it did come!

I've taught English for 11 years. Be aware that the marking load is crippling.

Doodledumdums Sat 13-Jul-13 08:42:40

Eliot I have already said that I am going to get experience working at a school, I am well aware that being a pupil is vastly different from being a teacher, I just meant that the school environment is not one which I am totally unfamiliar with. How is that drivel?! I said nothing about knowing what it is like to be a teacher! All I did was defend the implication that it is odd that I am considering teaching, as I don't understand why it is odd.

Why are you being so rude?! All I did was ask for some advice from people who know more than I do. If you have nothing constructive to say, or my thread angers you for some reason then why comment?! I haven't posted this in AIBU, I am not looking for a fight or to be made to feel like crap, I was just after some advice.

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