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PGCE or something else?

(30 Posts)
Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 12:55:57

Hi everyone,

My first time on MN so please be gentle smile

I graduated from uni recently, and have been job hunting since. At the moment, I work freelance in a couple of different roles.

I'm looking for a more permanent job at the moment - ideally, something in an organisation that has good career progression. I would also like to find something that pays well and where I could help people in a constructive and long-lasting way, with travel opportunities also available if possible. (Sorry, I realise this is beginning to sound fairly demanding and exhaustive...!! blush)

I've been looking into teaching as an option. I've taught MFL and English before in different situations, and I've loved it (although I know it can be challenging..!) wink

I fully understand that teaching is a vocation, and I do feel that I will be able to put in the hours and work needed. However, there have been a huge amount of changes to the teaching profession and the education system recently, and I really don't know how it will affect teachers ie. whether it would be wise to think about going into teaching now.

My AIBU is: would it be wise for me to think about going into teaching now (thinking about the School Direct route to get a PGCE) or should I think about going into something else? My other AIBU is: is it unreasonable for me to ask you for suggestions about what kind of career I could go into?

(Extra background: good MFL degree from Oxbridge, 24 and useless with numbers blush. Also interested in Civil Service job prospects, esp. the Foreign Office for example. I've always been interested in journalism too - I've edited uni newspapers and done quite a few internships at different national newspapers and magazines, and know of people who've done journalism MA qualifications. My worry is that it's getting even more expensive to do an MA for journalism (even without the living costs), and there's no guarantee of a job afterwards.)

So wise Mumsnetters, WDID? If you could give me a couple of nuggets of employment/life wisdom, I'd be eternally grateful smile

Grannyspantry Fri 25-Mar-16 13:08:05

Oh, do Teach First, honestly. Don't bother with a PGCE.

sarahquilt Fri 25-Mar-16 13:10:39

Teaching is very tough but there's a real shortage so you'll walk into a job. The only people I know who have become journalists either got really lucky or had excellent connections.

lampshady Fri 25-Mar-16 13:11:34

As I understand it (which is poorly at best!), a PGCE is transferable abroad whereas other teaching qualifications aren't?! May be wrong. So if travel is a consideration I'd go PGCE.

Grannyspantry Fri 25-Mar-16 13:13:41

You can teach abroad. Same qualification but you can also get a masters in education on Teach First.

icklekid Fri 25-Mar-16 13:16:34

School direct will give you qualifications needed to teach not a pgce...might be worth looking into it a bit more. Consider if salaried /non salaried routes are important. My experience is that having the right school to support you is vital however there is no hiding it is a tough time to get into teaching at the moment. Not because there is a shortage of jobs (anything but! ) But because it is undergoing so much change and not much positive.

Having said all that I love teaching and pay is reasonable. It provides career progression if you are interested in management opportunities and is rewarding still. Finding a work life balance is tough still but opportunities to work abroad certainly exist and many people find higher quality of life elsewhere teaching!

justjuanmorebeer Fri 25-Mar-16 13:16:34

If you want to teach then do PGCE and go and live abroad. UK schooling is a mess. I have been working in secondary schools for 8.5 years and this is an extreme low. You will never earn good money teaching in the UK imo.

Civil service could be difficult to get onto without good maths skills, have you done all the online tests?

FithColumnist Fri 25-Mar-16 13:17:31

I'm sure hundreds of other posters will be on in just a minute to tell you to run for the hills and do anything but get into teaching.

However, I'm a secondary MFL teacher and I love it: it's the most stimulating, staisfying and varied job I've ever had. I'm fairly recently qualified (3rd year of teaching now), and come from a background in hospitality and catering. I don't regret the career change in the slightest.

Personally, I didn't fancy the idea of a University-based PGCE and was thinking about going down the Schools Direct route the prospect of a salary while I trained was enticing, but having spoken to some acquaintances who trained that way and found out precisely what it entails (a few weeks of "boot camp" followed by just being launched into a classroom sink-or-swim style), I thought "fuck that noise" and went for the via media of a SCITT course instead.

Something to be aware of from an MFL point of view is that some languages are more in demand than others, and you'll need to be able to teach two to be employable. French is a given, but Spanish is increasingly popular. German is less in demand these days, and jobs teaching Italian (my second language) are like hen's teeth.

I think it that if you're interested, go and get a few weeks experience in a secondary school and see if it suits you, and if you can imagine yourself doing it. Go from there.

Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 13:27:36

Thanks so much everyone for your replies so far!! They've all been really helpful smile.

I am interested in Teach First as a potential option. Tbe School Direct route looks similar, as it's school-based from the beginning, and I have had experience of full-time teaching experience from my gap year and year abroad (taught English in a French school). My only concern is that I wouldn't necessarily get a PGCE with the School Direct route, as @icklekid pointed out. I'm a bit confused about School Direct, as on some occasions I have heard that it leads to a PGCE qualification and sometimes apparently it doesn't hmm. I'm wondering if it depends which school I apply to? confused.

@justjuan I applied for the Civil Service Fast Stream and found out my marks for all of the tests (first stage tests). I'd passed the maths but failed the Situational Judgement blush didn't get any further along in the process blush

SupSlick Fri 25-Mar-16 13:45:59

I'm doing a school direct course in september, and I get a pgce through a main city university plus some credits towards a masters if I choose to do that.

A few of my friends have done pgce's purely because they didn't know what else to do & ended up dropping out/finishing but not going into teaching. So I'd say be sure of it first because it's a lot of debt & stress apparently.

icklekid Fri 25-Mar-16 13:48:28

I imagine it depends on which university the school is partnering with as to what qualification you get. However I don't have a pgce and can teach abroad so check that is important

Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 14:14:28

Wow thanks everyone!! Thanks @icklekid and thanks everyone for all of your advice!! I'm really grateful smile

I've been considering applying to Teach First, so just wondering if anyone has any experience of that at all?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions for any other types of careers I could perhaps look at, I'd be hugely grateful smile

Mistigri Fri 25-Mar-16 14:23:05

Why don't you sign up to the TES forums to get some views on the merits of the different route into teaching?

Mistigri Fri 25-Mar-16 14:26:25

Re other careers, translation is the obvious one, but it's not especially well paid, and it helps enormously to have either an additional qualification or work experience that would enable you to specialise. (My DH is a medical translator).

Moopsboopsmum Fri 25-Mar-16 15:11:38

Civil service, FCO if you can get in. Best job ever!

mummytime Fri 25-Mar-16 15:22:18


Have you looked into the Civil Service? There is even a stream which prepares you for the European Civil Service (assuming the referendum votes for us to remain). Lots of departments could use language skills.

Lots of companies need people with language skills (my DH uses his French almost daily and he works in IT).

Rather than Journalism, you could look at technical writing. If you can understand technical language, then technical translators are always in demand (google translate isn't there yet).

Then there are holiday companies.

Or just go and work in a country where your language (one of your languages) is spoken. I was once told if I improved my German a local town hall would willingly employ me, as they needed my English.

Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 15:49:25

Wow thanks everyone! smile I actually applied last year for the Civil Service but didn't pass the Situational Judgement test in the first round of tests blush the Civil Service sounds amazing. (On a side note, I've heard that apparently it can take people three or four goes sometimes before they get onto the Fast Stream?)

@Moopsboopsmum please could I PM you? smile

Leslieknope45 Fri 25-Mar-16 15:51:43

What languages do you speak? I'm a head of department (MFL) and the languages you can offer do make a difference in whether this is a good idea or not!

Phineyj Fri 25-Mar-16 16:06:46

If you do two years of an MA in education - 120 credits I think - you are PGDE qualified (higher than PGCE) and should be able to get a certificate to that effect which will enable you to work abroad. That's what I did (I did the old GTP which is now School Direct). You should be able to confirm that on the DFES website hopefully but you can also look at job ads/recruitment agencies to check.

Phineyj Fri 25-Mar-16 16:11:33 example

Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 16:33:44

@leslieknope I speak French and Spanish. And thanks for the link and info on the PGDE @phineyj! smile

BlueLeafTea Fri 25-Mar-16 16:46:04

I did teach first and I'm happy to answer any questions on it.

I've had s really good experience and much more support than my friends that did schools direct.

I'm also doing a masters from my pgce credits which is subsidised by my school (a requirement of your school if you do teach first).

tethersend Fri 25-Mar-16 16:56:38

I would actually wait another year before looking at teacher training- the shortage due to the government horrendously fucking up education is likely to produce some new incentives to train v. soon. I reckon.

Tailypo Fri 25-Mar-16 17:01:35

Thanks @BlueLeafTea smile would you mind if I PMed you?

Anomaly Fri 25-Mar-16 17:05:49

Until a few years ago I would have been telling you try teaching, its fab, rewarding etc not anymore and not with the changes on the horizon.

I'm working longer and longer hours and expected to get students grades that are simply not achievable.

So much of it is about ticking boxes and so little about actually thinking about what would be useful to the students. Whole school policy basically treats them all as numbers that are then fed into the 'how are we going to compare to other schools spreadsheet'. Its frustrating because it could be so different.

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