Science teachers

(23 Posts)
Sleepytea Sat 12-Jul-14 07:57:30

I'm thinking go going back to work. I used to be a research scientist and really enjoyed teaching students so I'm debating whether to do a PGCE in science, probably with chemistry. I have a few questions.
My first is a worry about discipline. Obviously small groups of university students are completely different to manage than groups of 30 teenagers. How do you cope with them? I assume that part of the training gives you techniques on classroom management but is it enough.
Secondly, what is the job situation like? I live in Bristol. I don't want to spend a year retraining and then discover that there are no jobs. I had a look at the TES website and there are only a handful of science teachers being advertised in the UK. I assume this is because of the time of year but are there an adequate number of jobs each year.

Cernabbas Sat 12-Jul-14 11:48:45

I'm a Science teacher.
Unruly teens are problematic, but it is all down to how you deal with them (which you will be trained on) and the school you work in and what support strategies etc are used.
I have colleagues who live in Bristol but travel up to Glos to work as I believe the jobs in Bristol are very competitive. Would be worth keeping an eye on in the TES to see how many get advertised and definitely worth organising some visits to local secondary schools to get a feel for what it is like.
Feel free to PM me if I can do anything else to help!

Sleepytea Sat 12-Jul-14 20:54:02

Thanks for the reply. I'm aiming to go and look around some schools next term and will try and spend some time shadowing some teachers. Hopefully this will give me a better idea of whether I could deal with the situations that may arise. I do quite a bit with primary school children but they always listen, even when they're being a bit silly.

Cernabbas Sun 13-Jul-14 08:07:21

Well lots of luck to you!
Teaching teenagers can be brilliant - being able to really get stuck into the subject you love in a way you can't with younger ones. But it can also be a real headache. I have always found that when I feel like I am having a bad time with teaching, it is never down to the kids - just all the paperwork etc

Fourarmsv2 Tue 15-Jul-14 10:05:47

My first is a worry about discipline. Obviously small groups of university students are completely different to manage than groups of 30 teenagers. How do you cope with them? I assume that part of the training gives you techniques on classroom management but is it enough.

You will get some training at uni. On the job training is the most useful though IMO. My behaviour management is rubbish (with troublesome low achieving kids particularly), but I've now moved to a school where that's less of a problem.

Secondly, what is the job situation like? I live in Bristol. I don't want to spend a year retraining and then discover that there are no jobs. I had a look at the TES website and there are only a handful of science teachers being advertised in the UK. I assume this is because of the time of year but are there an adequate number of jobs each year.

Everyone on my course (2 years ago - Gloucestershire so students from Bristol too) got jobs. Some did end up with a commute of up to an hour though. There seem to be plenty of jobs around.

Good luck! I'm just finishing my NQT +1 year so it's all fairly fresh if you've got any questions smile

Sleepytea Tue 15-Jul-14 21:15:27

Thank you for the replies. I'm feeling quite excited about it.

Supermum222 Tue 29-Jul-14 20:09:56

Hi Sleepytea,

Snap! I am thinking of doing a PGCE next year too. I want to do Biology (my love) with Chemistry (although not to A level standard for the Chemistry). I am a Biomedical Scientist but things are changing and it is no longer a profession I can continue in (also my job is moving to another area). I have spent a lot of time in secondary schools as a STEM ambassador over the years.
I was going to be a secondary teacher after Uni (many years ago) but fate took over. My friend completed her PGCE and is now Head of Science (she only got a 2:2)!
I spent a few weeks in different primary schools last year and decided secondary was for me. I wasn't keen on teaching subjects that I wasn't interested in and felt better about teaching something I have always been passionate about.
I, like you, will be spending time in secondary schools next term. I was going to do it this year but decided to spend a year going over the subject again. I also plan on doing a Chemistry enhancement course if I am accepted. I am applying for a local SCITT.
A bit worried about my age though (I am 42) but I bring a lot of vocational experience with me. I have a BSc (hons) and Masters.

woodlands01 Tue 29-Jul-14 20:16:49

There is always a shortage of science teachers specialising in Physics and Chemistry. Biology seems more popular therefore not so many jobs.

BackforGood Tue 29-Jul-14 20:42:19

Definitely take the time to go and shadow staff - in more than one school if you can.
When it was looking like my (research Fellow) dh wasn't going to get the next lot of funding, he shadowed for 3 days. He does a lot of youth work , so is used to teens, but he couldn't stand it. Was so frustrated by the tiny % of time you are actually doing any science - all the behaviour management stuff, all the meetings, all the paperwork, etc.
If you enjoy it, it's great, but it isn't a job to go into unless you really do enjoy it.

todayiamfat Tue 29-Jul-14 20:54:23

I don't think you need to worry too much about Science teaching jobs. I think it is still classed as a shortage subject. Be prepared for having to teach all 3 sciences though. Every school I've worked in has been like this.

I think the school can make a huge difference to hiw bad behaviour is and therefore if you need to worry about discipline. Most pgce courses will give you different school placements to help with this. Have you considered GTP? It sounds like you have some teaching experience and this may suit you better. Especially as you 'get paid' by a school to learn on the job. My dh followed this route as he also had a little teaching experience.

I love teaching Science. I teach in a bog standard city comprehensive, but behaviour on the whole is good (still have those frustrating momemts regularly though). Work load can be tough. I hate marking with a passion. But love lots of other aspects. The 'holidays' are great with a young family depsite having 60 pieces of controlled assessments to mark this summer! But as a teacher you miss out on term time things with your kids like assemblies and sports days etc.

Good luck. You need to apply after xmas? Is this still right? I'd strongly advise you get some work experience in schools. Maybe offer your services as a TA for a couple of weeks? This went down very well with others I know.

LabrysHolder Tue 29-Jul-14 21:56:08

Before I did my training I worked as a science specialist TA, it was very valuable experience.
The discipline - yes you get some training, but experience and watching other teachers is really the best way to learn.
It will be nothing like uni students, really nothing like it. You must get into a school for a couple of weeks and watch a variety of levels of classes, including plenty of bottom sets.
There are jobs, but there are still science teachers who can't get jobs, although they tend to be people who're just not that good at what they do.
You need to really love the job to do it.

Seasickstill Thu 31-Jul-14 00:27:38

I'm a science teacher of 14 yrs. I love it!

Flexibility is key as no matter what your specialism is, there is often the expectation to deliver all 3 disciplines to key stage 3 and 4. I'm a biologist and taught biology A level and the biochemistry unit of Chemistry A level.

The school I work in now has no post 16 provision and I miss A level teaching but not the horrific work load that goes with it.

Physics is the most sought after specialty, followed by Chemistry. Sadly poor little biologists like me are 2-a-penny as it were.

This time of year is terrible for jobs. Much more available when term restarts and staff start looking around again.

As for large groups of teenagers (and I worked for many years in a huge school on a rough inner city estate where anyone who could got their kids into the grammers) I agree - they can be daunting, unruly and the other 1001 bad things that are bandied around...

But they are also hilarious, respond positively to consistency, fairness and praise. I've never yet met one who deep down didn't want to succeed.

I love my batty teenagers! They're so much fun to teach, my job is certainly never dull (in the classroom that is) and the hug they give you on results day shows you that yes, they do care, and that they appreciated that you cared enough (despite never ending detentions) to support them in working that out for themselves.

It's a great job but is very stressful, particularly in the current climate, and the NQT year is hell. But I wouldn't swap my job (although I would like to find a way to block the scent of the boys who think that half a can of lynx is needed grin )

Hobnobissupersweet Thu 31-Jul-14 20:58:21

Sleepy, I was a research scientist and had also enjoyed the lecturing and teaching side of things. Did a PGCE and have been teaching for 5 years now ( biologist not chemist though)
My behaviour management was dreadful at first, not helped by doing my NQT year in a really tough school behaviourally wise. Much better now and I fact I am apparently seen as tough and very strict by the kids grin if only they knew
The job is fab, I really love it, the kids are great funny and challenging and rewarding and hard work and delightful in equal measures.
There are plenty of jobs for chemists around, you are just looking at the wrong time of year. Second other posters, you will need to teach all sciences though, at least to KS3, at my current school I then only teach bio to GCSE and A level, and in fact the vast majority of my timetable is now older students, (8/10 groups).
Go for it, during term time it is as mad as a hatter with lots of late nighters, then you get the very chilled summers as a a contrast.

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:12:22

I h

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:12:36

I did

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:12:50

I did

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:13:04

Hypocritical

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:15:25

I

Supermum222 Fri 01-Aug-14 21:17:55

Arrrggh. Sorry, laptop going mental.
Physics...I didn't study it at all. No GCSE, nothing. Will this go against me?

Hobnobissupersweet Fri 01-Aug-14 22:59:07

Don't know tbh, would def ring your preferred uni and check, I think it might well be a sticking problem

13Stitches Fri 01-Aug-14 23:15:11

Hi OP, the best time to look for teaching jobs is the spring term.

There won't have been many recently as it's the end of the year.

However, I live in a 'desirable' region that is usually quite difficult to get good jobs in. But recently schools in the region have struggled to recruit good* science teachers.

I've heard all kinds of whispers about upcoming shortages again (though I might be thinking of the underfunded arts subjects).

Deffo get some experience. And when you start your PGCE you'll know quickly if it's for you. If it's not, don't be ashamed and plough on. Recognise it swiftly and bow out gracefully.

It's an ace job though, I wouldn't do anything else!

*good is the word here. There have been a fair few, er, other applicants.

Hakluyt Fri 01-Aug-14 23:21:06

As a parent of teens, I would say that any science teacher who can convert the excitement of science would we welcomed with open arms. Because for some bizarre reason, most science teachers seem to make the subject boring. Which baffles me! How on earth do you do that???????

13Stitches Fri 01-Aug-14 23:43:33

Try inserting random instructions like "shh now" and "stop poking him" after every 3rd word, Hak, and you'll see! grin (it's like teacher Tourette's, I bore myself some days)

Although in principle I completely agree. Science is Awesome!

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