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How do I become an A level Biology teacher?

(14 Posts)
purplefeet Fri 17-Jun-11 09:07:10

I'm thinking of changing career and would like to teach A level biology.

I'm trying to find out how to go about this but haven't had much success. I've been advised to do a PGCE in secondary science then try to get a job teaching A levels, but don't really want to do this.

Please can someone give me some advice?

Thank you.

GrendelsMum Fri 17-Jun-11 12:07:01

Is there a reason that you don't want to do a PGCE? You might find your first year of teaching much easier if you've had a year of training first.

You can also do the GTP, which is on the job training, and can also lead to Qualified Teacher Status.

Themumsnot Fri 17-Jun-11 12:11:50

You can do a post-16 teaching qualification on the job - but you need to get a job first. And you would be unable to teach in schools so you would be limiting yourself to jobs in FE colleges where pay and conditions are in general less favourable (in my local FE college quite a lot of the A-level teachers have been on annually-renewed temporary hourly-paid contracts for years). A PGCE would give you a lot more options, honestly.

iskra Fri 17-Jun-11 12:13:27

Google TDA. All about becoming a teacher.

MmeBlueberry Fri 17-Jun-11 19:19:05

Do you know anything about teaching A-level Biology? What makes you think you can do this without training?

Jonnyfan Fri 17-Jun-11 22:41:08

It's not that difficult to find out! Plenty of info available if you look, don't be lazy.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 17-Jun-11 23:21:11

Whoever advised you to do a PGCE gave good advice. I take it you already have a degree in something Biology related?

There are not many jobs out there teaching A levels only, unless as a pp said you found one in an FE college, and even then you'd probably be teaching various other qualifications as well.

Most science teachers in school teach across the age range. Many teach chemistry and physics as well, certainly at KS3 if not to GCSE.

What is it about A level teaching in particular that you think would be preferable to any other sort of teaching?

MmeBlueberry Sun 19-Jun-11 13:23:51

I have a feeling that the same OP asked about becoming a Home Economics teacher a while back.

PrincessJenga Sun 19-Jun-11 14:12:15

Why don't you want to do the PGCE? And why only A-Level? This, combined with your other thread, makes it seem like you're seriously narrowing your options and perhaps too lazy to do the qualifications

If you really want to teach (i.e. you don't just want a mythical 'easy job' with lots of holidays) then do the PGCE or GTP, get your qualifications and keep an open mind about what you will teach afterwards.

<takes a deep breath and decides to be more helpful>

IME, there are very few courses that will qualify you just to teach A-Level (and tbh, very little reason why you should want to because there are very few jobs just teaching A-Level; even less just teaching A-Level Biology) surely it's better to keep your options open and make yourself as employable as possible by training to teach a range of sciences at KS3, KS4 and KS5? Most PGCEs / GTPs qualify you to teach either 11-16 or 11-18. Sometimes it will be clear from the uni prospectus which qualification you will get, sometimes course leaders decide at interview whether you will be able to teach to 18 or just 16 (based on your experience/qualifications), sometimes they decide while you're doing the course (based on the feedback they get from the schools you're on placement at) A simple email to the admissions officer or course leader at unis that offer science PGCEs should clarify which will offer 11-18 qualifications.

If you really want to teach, then good luck, but if you're after an easy option then you really should consider a different career.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 19-Jun-11 16:02:12

OP has also asked about teaching in independent schools without qualifications. I'm not sure why a PGCE is out of the question (apart from the hard work bit).

There are not loads of teaching jobs going spare at the minute, so I would think trying to do so without the usual recognised qualifications is making life more difficult.

sillybillies Sun 19-Jun-11 16:41:12

just teaching A level biology is a bit limited (as others have said). I'm not sure you would get a job as there's no shortage of biology teachers who would have more to offer (KS3/GCSE science and maybe other A level subjects). Now, if you were talking about physics...

PGCE or GTP are the best routes

Mowlem Mon 20-Jun-11 01:16:18

I teach at a FE college, which teaches mostly 'A' levels.

Tbh, without a PGCE / QTS, you probably wouldn't be looked at.

You can do a PGCE in FE to give you QTLS. A few of my colleagues have it. but be warned, jobs in FE / 6th form are as rare as hen's teeth. We're also facing lots of redundancies here, as FE is suffering under the cutbacks.

Therefore, you would be best off doing a PGCE in secondary (or GTTP), as that would give you a lot more options.

natwebb79 Tue 21-Jun-11 17:55:18

I teach languages in a secondary school and all of my biology specialist colleagues have to teach at least chemistry or physics, if not both. They are also expected to teach across the age range. When redundancy possibilities were announced it was the biology teachers worried as they are over staffed.
You really do need to be prepared to be fully qualified and to expect a very challenging time consuming job. There aren't any short cuts where teaching is concerned, although a lot of the general public disagree!

LadySharrow Thu 23-Jun-11 20:21:11

You might be thinking that teaching A-level is more satisfying/less stressful/easier/more intellectually stimulating than teaching in schools because unlike school kids, 'they want to be there'.

Many modern VIth form students are eye-poppingly lazy, have no independent study skills whatsoever, are startlingly bad at basic grammar and maths, have very poor attention spans, expect to be entertained all the time, expect everything to be 'easy' (so give up immediately if the answer is not obvious) and have a hilarious lack of basic general knowledge. They want A-levels, and to lounge around drinking coffee/falling in love as if they were extras in an episode of Hollyoaks, but they don't actually want to do the work. Many have shuffled into college because of parental expectation, or the fact there's really not much else they can do. Teaching them requires skill, passion, energy and relentless nagging. And post-16, the funding of the college is determined by 'success rate', so any student who fails or drops out is a Problem... often more so for the staff than the student. You will be held responsible by everyone for your students' results, irrespective of whether the student has ever completed their homework or turned up on time. Don't you know that A-levels are so easy now, everyone gets an A?

In the light of this, the best way to get the skills you need to teach A-level is to teach secondary first. At the very least do a PGCE and spend some time in schools. Teaching is many things but on one level it is a craft and there are skills that can only be learned the hard way I'm afraid.

Least you think I am bitter and twisted, A-level teaching is a GREAT job, but a lot of people have a very idealised view of what it entails.

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