Why do you need a degree to become a teacher? Is there any way around that?(83 Posts)
I've got good gcse and A-levels but had a child straight after college and didn't end up going to university. I've done a HND in a subject relevant to my job and established a career in a field which people usually associate with graduates and requires a great deal of writing reports and use of English. I would really like to retrain to become an English teacher but understand that to get into that I have to have a degree, even though the degree could be in a subject which isn't relevant. It seems unfair that someone who studied something completely irrelevant to the job can train to teach the subject but I can't despite having a fairly good background in the subject. I appreciate teacher training qualifications and experience would need to be acquired but not why O must have a degree. Could someone tell me if I have missed a different way in, or is this the case?
No, that's the case. You need a degree to be a qualified teacher.
Being an english teacher is 90 percent about teaching and probably only 10 percent about english if you work in a state school. Even grads from unrelated courses have to do a pgce to get that experience. Also, being able to write good reports won’t stand you in good stead to become an english teacher, being able to teach often complicated concepts in an engaging way will. And you can only really do that if you’ve learned the complicated concepts in the first place, which as a non-grad you wouldn’t have.
You could try private schools as you do not need to be qualified.
Personally, I do want my dd's teachers to have a degree and would be worried if these standards were relaxed. I think it's important for all teachers to have a reasonably high level of education in general, though for secondary level teachers, I would also want it to be a requirement for them to have a degree in a relevant subject.
I would not want to see the teaching profession being degraded from being a graduate level job. They will be educating the next generation and they need to be well educated themselves. It isn't just about subject knowledge.
Could you top up your HND in some way in order to get a degree?
I was a non-grad until recently, and in a grad field. Did my degree as a mature student in a related and it was only after my degree that I could actually explain the concepts I had instinctively learned before. Get your degree!
A couple of points...
It's not true that degrees can be completely irrelevant to the job. For eg, I'm an English teacher and my degree is American Studies, with a strong focus on literature. When I was applying for my PGCE I had to give a detailed breakdown of my course to prove that there was enough Lit study in it - I wouldn't have been accepted if there wasn't. And, even post-Gove there is still quite a lot of American Lit studied in schools.
Secondly, without a degree you can teach. But you could be a HLTA. This might be a way in for you if you'd like to be in the classroom. Pay is about 19k I think, though you don't get the pay progression of a teacher, obviously. But also, a good deal less hassle and stress!
You don’t need to be a qualified teacher in independent schools, academies or free schools, so that’s most schools now. Although hopefully things aren’t so bad that schools have actually started hiring unqualified people 🙈 would you not consider doing a degree? I think you can do a BEd? Although not sure if these are just for primary teaching, hopefully someone with more knowledge will be along!
Also, FWIW, PGCE English is so competitive I can’t imagine its common for people to get a place with an unrelated degree.
There are many qualifications you can gwt to become a tracher in the uk. You dont need a PGCE from a university.
You can get a QTS on a training contract at some schools.
Go down that route.
You could try private schools as you do not need to be qualified.
No but you would still be expected to have a degree being in Private, just not necessarily an additional teaching qualification-they wouldn’t want to harm their reputation.
You are being rather vague about 'the subject' . What subject do you think you are qualified t teach ?
Right... should have been clearer. Having reread!
In what ways do you think your work experience equips you to be an English teacher?
I must say, I am one. I expected you to maybe want to be a business teacher or a subject with vocational links. I am confused by how life's experiences set you up to teach English...
Ignore those saying private school. They may not always want QTS but they generally require degrees, sometimes for top unis, always at 2:1 or above unless it is a dire shortage subjects.
But you can't have a degree in an entirely unrelated field! You could teach English, for example if your degree was in drama or another heavily literature based course, but you wouldn't get taken on to teach physics with a degree in Italian. And almost all degree educated teachers still go on to do PGCE or Teach First.
What do you think you are qualified to teach, and is it not an option that you could complete the appropriate studying to do so?
I think you may also not know what teaching English involves. It is not about writing reports.
You need an English degree, or a strongly related subject. Even then, if it's not English, you could come up against issues with some schools.
The vast majority of my colleagues have English Literature degrees. One has a Creative Writing and English degree and one a drama degree with English. One has a sort of TEFL degree and she is the one I would say struggles the most with subject content.
You can train to teach English as a foreign language without a degree, but if you want to teach in schools, there is no way around it, you will need one or two plus a PGCert.
If you want to teach English as a foreign language you can train in a month by doing a CELTA course, but bear in mind that graduates of this course who succeed in getting permanent positions do normally have a degree and years of teaching experience before joining the course.
Sorry, I mean 'why do you think you are qualified to teach'?
Why would a job where you have to write reports be an appropriate substitute for 3 years of academic study?
Thanks for the comments.
I completely get that I would need to do teacher training qualifications to acquire the knowledge and skills to actually teach, but so far as I can see that is not what I would be getting by doing a degree. Is the purpose of a degree just to prove that you have a good level of English or education generally?
I just don't want to put all that money and time into studying for a degree if there is another way, I would rather put those resources into studying and training to be teacher.
Will look at the QTS route too.
I quite fancy being Miss World.....I’ve got a swimming costume.
What is it that draws you away from a successful career to teaching? English as an academic subject isn’t about writing reports and proof reading. Good teachers know their subject and know how to teach it. They need classroom control, motivational skills and communication skills.
Plenty of independent and free schools take unqualified teachers. Most would still want a degree in a relevant subject. If they don’t, you’d have to ask yourself why they don’t - particularly in a non shortage subject.
There are ways to enter teaching through school based placement but before getting QTS a degree is required at the moment.
The government is considering teaching apprenticeships but these are still being debated.
How about getting in to a school and doing some observations to get a feel for it?
Why is it you want to be a teacher now?
You may not need to have a PGCE to teach in a private school but you certainly do need a degree in the subject - in fact many private schools are quite fussy and look for Oxbridge only. In my department 7 out of 8 teachers did their primary degree at oxford or Cambridge, while only 3 have PGCEs. So not the case that private schools will take people on with no degree!
You won't get 19k as an HLTA. You could if you worked 52 weeks a year but that doesn't happen of course.
A degree is extremely useful as a starting point but you need to have an excellent general knowledge as well - I've seen my DCs taught by teachers with appalling general knowledge; not knowing where New Zealand was, telling children about the polar bears at the south pole and so ; that was the teacher who'd only worked in a fast food restaurant and then did a degree in a very soft subject and got trained on the job.
My son's school has TAs with degrees - the school look for well qualified staff at all levels and it's really paying off for his education.
There are jobs in things like music and sport with a high level of skill for which you don't need a teaching qualification, but not usually in English, if that's what you're thinking of.
Part time TA with an aim to get to HLTA and do a degree with the Open University?
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