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Am a psychologist...wanting to retrain as a teacher. Advice needed please!

(33 Posts)
raindropsonroses5 Wed 26-Aug-09 13:26:53

Hi everyone, just wanted some advice from MNers who are experienced in this field.

I'm 36, living in London, a psychologist & a relatively new mum (I have a 1 year old). I am about to finish a PhD which has to do with child psychology- also have an MSc in the field. Have done a few jobs in between mainly in nursery school settings & research settings. Also jobs as seminar teacher at university level.

I've always known I want to work with young children & was planning to go into clinical psychology, educational psychology or psychotherapy (working with children). However, I'm more & more realizing the negatives in those fields- and am thinking of possibly retraining as a primary school teacher, as that is something that will provide (I hope) a more happy everyday life & a more balanced working year (regarding holidays etc). I also feel I don't really want to work with extremely difficult problems- such as working in child therapy involves- nor do I want to go into a lengthy training (again such as educational or child therapy involve).

As I said, am about to finish my PhD (probably in december) and am planning to get a part-time job this year (maybe in january, but could be earlier).

What do you think are my options in order to explore getting into teaching (or finding the right career path for me)? Where can I get advice? What I definitely want to do is to work at the same time as doing any teaching training (or other training).

Thanks in advance.

TeamEdward Wed 26-Aug-09 13:31:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

raindropsonroses5 Wed 26-Aug-09 13:33:02

TeamEdward: What do you mean 'like gold dust'? Am open to different ideas about career paths (related to teaching / education / educational psychology etc) would love to hear ideas about this.

piscesmoon Wed 26-Aug-09 13:41:18

One option is to get a school to take you on GTP scheme the TES forum here might help and answer questions.
Don't be fooled into thinking teaching is child friendly or gives you a work life balance! You get the holidays but need to do work at home. The school day is long, you work all evening and most of either Saturday or Sunday-that is why I only do part time. Full time is too stressful. I would try and go into your local primary and observe and ask questions first.

raindropsonroses5 Wed 26-Aug-09 13:53:06

Piscesmoon: OK thanks, I'll look up the TES forum & will ask for advice there. Also my local council might offer advice?

So is it possible to work part-time as a teacher? (you seem to be doing that).

TeamEdward Wed 26-Aug-09 14:08:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

laneyjay Wed 26-Aug-09 14:22:41

As suggested by piscesmoon you could look at the GTP. On the plus side it can take as little as one term to qualify for those with teaching experience and you do earn more than those following the PGCE route. These are highly competetive places and generally expect a lot for their money. The GTP requires you to be a more independent learner with some school and University mentoring but does not offer the same level of support as a PGCE. However, as a Secondary teacher who originally wanted to train as a primary teacher, I found that most courses were looking for candidates with core subjects. If your degree is in Psychology, you may even find that you would be expected to do a 2 year course to develop the required subject knowledge. Most of my primary colleagues work very long days throughout the week. Good Luck with whatever you decide!

raindropsonroses5 Wed 26-Aug-09 14:38:29

Sorry Laneyjay, what is a PGCE? (blush)...

And another question: You mean I would do a 2-year course before being able to start on a PGCE (which I still don't know anything about) or a GTP?

raindropsonroses5 Wed 26-Aug-09 14:40:17

And one final question: you say 'very long days throughout the week'. And TeamEdward mentions working from early morning til 6 (at the school).Are those sort of hours typical of a primary school teacher? (e.g. a reception teacher or a first year teacher)?

piscesmoon Wed 26-Aug-09 19:28:32

They are typical hours. When I have done my full time stint or even part time I aimed to get in by 7.30am and rarely left before 5.30. I then cooked a meal, sorted things out at home and then worked until bedtime. I had Saturday off and worked most of Sunday.Part time eased it because I did 4 mornings and so worked the afternoons at home and all day on my free day-it then gave me evenings and weekends free. Even so it caused tension with DH who didn't think I should work all the hours I wasn't getting paid for-however I couldn't operate without them, marking and preparation need to be done. I think that for every hour in the classroom you need an hour out. DH would say things like 'what are you doing with your afternoon off and I would look at him as if he was mad and say 'school work'-he did a lot of tutting! When I mention it to any primary teacher they all say 'tell me about it'! I was quite happy with the part time, evenings and weekends free were fine but they are difficult to get-they come my way every so often. At the moment I do supply work which has its own stresses and isn't very rewarding but it cuts out the planning.
I love the job but I want a life too!
Go to some schools and see if you can observe-it will give some idea as to whether it is what you want. Don't be fooled into thinking reception is easy-I find it the hardest year group.

TeamEdward Thu 27-Aug-09 21:45:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

piscesmoon Thu 27-Aug-09 22:06:33

I think you can cut down a bit once you have a second year with the same year group, I haven't had that luxury.However everyone has responsibility for a different area of the curriculum-if it is a small school you can have several areas of responsibility. Very often the SENCO has a class of their own in addition.

TeamEdward Thu 27-Aug-09 22:50:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tinfoil Sat 29-Aug-09 01:31:05

Be aware that it will be quite different teaching 30 children, from working with one at a time or seminars of a few adults. And there's a lot of work to be done in addition to the teaching time.

asteroids Sat 29-Aug-09 12:36:20

I am a teacher who would love to retrain as an Ed Psych. Can we just swap jobs?

piscesmoon Sat 29-Aug-09 14:43:50

I would like to do that too, asteroids, but fear that I have left it too late.Are there not child friendly options raindrops-or part time?

mrz Sat 29-Aug-09 15:23:22

I agree teaching isn't as child friendly as you might think. Working before and after school hours also weekends and holidays. Remember too it is unlikely you will be able to attend your child's nativity or sport's day you will be working.
I would suggest offering to help in a local school to get a feel for things before committing yourself.

asteroids Sat 29-Aug-09 23:11:33

Think I've left it too late as well, piscesmoon. It takes so long to train to be an Ed Psych.

cheapskatemum Sat 29-Aug-09 23:23:29

Agree with previous posters. Have you thought about working as a TA (teacher's assistant) in a primary school? Most schools I've worked in would only consider GTP with someone they knew; knew to be worth it and therefore wanted to retain as a teacher. I'm a secondary school teacher who's been very grateful for the insights of Ed Psychs over the years.

raindropsonroses5 Mon 31-Aug-09 18:12:24

Asteroids: why do you say you've left it too late? It takes 3 years to train as an EdPsych... normally you could do it at any age I'm 36 & I'm thinking very seriously of doing just that (training as an EdPsych) so I hope I haven't left it too late too!

Thanks everyone for all the advice. I have had a long chat with my DP & also a few chats with friends who are either teachers or EdPsychs. And I've concluded that, given that I'm a psychologist, it's probably better to make use of my degree & training & do Ed Psych. That too will of course need loads of preparation this year so come september I'll start looking for TA positions (as some of you suggested) & volunteer jobs in local schools / nurseries. I know that Ed Psych is a longish training but hopefully I can work part-time while doing it...

If anyone has more info / ideas on training as an Ed Psych (and what the job involves in detail) I'd love to hear about it, but I'll also do a search with 'educational psychology' as a keyword to see what comes up on previous MN threads...

mrz Mon 31-Aug-09 18:39:44

mrz Mon 31-Aug-09 18:45:48

2.1 Entry requirements
All applicants must:
• Have a psychology degree (preferably 2.1 or above) OR a conversion or Masters course, AND be
eligible for the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) of the British Psychological Society (BPS)
as set out below.
• Be able to demonstrate that they have gained relevant experience of working directly with
children within educational, childcare or community settings.
• Be ordinarily resident in the UK and able to work in the UK for the duration of the course and two
years after qualifying.
There is no age restriction for applicants. Applications from mature students are welcome.

3.0 Funding
Funding for students commencing training in September 2009 will cover tuition fees for all three years
and a bursary for the first year. Arrangements for years 2 and 3 vary depending on the specific regional
arrangements put in place by your training provider. Please refer to individual course details for further
3.1 First year bursary
The tax free bursary for first year trainees is divided equally over 12 monthly instalments paid directly to
the trainee and is as follows:

£14,400pa for non-London trainees
£14,900pa for London trainees

asteroids Mon 31-Aug-09 20:08:06

Well, I'm 45 (nearly 46) so getting on a bit in terms of career change.
I don't have a degree in psychology. My BA is in geography and primary education (2:1). I also have a Masters degree in special needs. I have 10 years teaching experience and I meet the UK residency etc.

Must admit, tax free bursary would be nice!

mrz Mon 31-Aug-09 20:18:03

I must admit the tax free bursary looked very attractive.

hercules1 Mon 31-Aug-09 20:21:00

I've looked into being an ed pysch but actually found I'd have to take quite a pay cut plus lose my holidays.

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