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Thinking seriously about doing my PGCE - what do you think?

(13 Posts)
Rugbylovingmum Thu 14-Oct-10 17:18:04

Well the title says it all really. I'm thinking about doing my PGCE but I would really like to hear 'the truth about teaching' from any mnetter's out there, particularly from any lurking science teachers.

I really enjoyed my biology degree and my PhD but now I am half way through my first post doc and I feel as though I have had enough of lab work. My mum's friend teaches in a middle school and I've been helping him organise a science club for 30 9-12 year olds and I've loved it. It started me off thinking about teaching again - I considered teaching after my A-levels but I don't think I had the confidence to take the plunge at that age.

I'd love to hear what people consider are the pro's and con's of a teaching career and what traits you need to be a good teacher and enjoy your job. I really enjoy presenting to people who don't work in my area, explaining my research and coming up with ways to make it interesting and accessible. On the other hand I can be quite shy and worry about managing a classroom full of kids. I have done some mentoring/befriending type volunteer work with and have also done some tutoring which I liked but it was always one-to-one or with small groups and young children (4-11 year olds). Teaching seems quite good for family life in some ways (holidays etc) but I can see the downsides too, particularly the lack of flexibility which will be a shock after several years in academia.

My other worry is that DD1 will still be at nursery when I want to start my PGCE and the course looks very intensive and quite long days so I'm not sure how that will work. Plus I'd ideally like to continue working part-time (I do 4 days a week now) but I don't know how feasible that is as a newly qualified teacher??? That's without even thinking about how we will afford it.

Argh - I'm going round in circles with this....

ptitemaud Fri 15-Oct-10 13:34:36

not sure if i can help... i did my Capes which is the French PGCE when i was pregnant with DD1.
I had secondary school kids in a not so great area around Paris. One class was really good ( all studied Latin and German which is a way of selecting good students in France) and the other class had very very average kids with troubles at home.
I was very tired and a bit sick because of morning sickness and i found it really hard to fight with the kids to establish a routine and to get their attention.
It is nerve racking to repeat the same things for every kids ( open your books, page so and so....at least 5 times,trying not to shout)
at one point i had to stop two kids from kicking and slapping each other and i got a bit scared of receiving a kick on my belly.

It was not a tough school, just a below average one.I got on maternity leave and i am not working now, 2 years later. I enjoy taking care of my kids more than teaching teenagers. I lacked authority i think.

I also have friends who teach English in a secondary school in London (south london) and they told me some shocking stories. they enjoy working sometimes but find it really draining, mentally and emotionally.

a lot of stress is involved and you spend little time focusing on your subject, rather on how to handle people and their behaviours.

If you are shy, you will find it really hard.

However, if you are lucky to work in a good school, the kids will be a little bit more disciplined. Parents will be more present, in a good and bad way. You can end up being much criticized.

whatever school, the teachers are under scrutiny, from the state, the children and the parents.

It can be a rewarding job but i feel like society treats teachers badly. My view is open to debate of course.
in my opinion, if you can afford not to work, do something else that is linked to your discipline. teaching adults is great though
good luck anyway

EBDteacher Fri 15-Oct-10 21:56:20

PGCE year and the first year or so of teaching are rubbish for everyone- however talented/ endlessly enthusiastic/ well qualified they are. BUT it does get better!

My advice would be to leave training to teach until you are sure you have enough spare energy to take it in your stride. That way the first two years won't put you off and drive you out. Also, think really carefully about the phase you want to teach. I trained for secondary science and knew by two weeks in that I should have been doing primary. Luckily in my time there was a huge shortage in primary and it was easy to switch. Not so now- there are no teacher shortages to speak of and any job is hard to come by.

I now do special needs (behavioural difficulties) and LOVE it- I would carry on going in even if they didn't pay me. Teaching is all about finding your niche and making the most of it. If you can get through the initial cr*p and do that it's the best profession in the universe!

Good luck- I hope you find your place. smile

serendipity81 Fri 22-Oct-10 20:08:44

I teach Primary. Secondary scares the hell out of me! But I have had friends who have done a PGCE and it seems to be seriously hard going.
Since doing a BA in teaching and looking back at my progression and development as a teacher, I have never quite understood how a PGCE can quite prepare you for teaching in such a short time. Please don't think that I'm in anyway devaluing those with PGCEs. I just think that it takes time and support to find your 'inner teacher' as it were!
Having said that I absolutely love teaching . So I say if you think you can find a supportive environment that will nurture and support you whilst you develop your 'teaching voice' then go for it.
I love the sound of a middle school, nice age range.
A friend works in a private school and from what I remember from conversations...
I'm not too sure but I think some private schools employ subject specialist teachers for the older children. Especially boys schools that keep them on until 13.
Again I'm not 100% sure but I think some private schools might even employ subject specialists who are not qualified teachers.
Also they have crazy long holidays!!!
Not sure if I've been particularly helpful but feel free to pick my brain. Although it's slightly addled today after going into school for a KIT day after being off since Jan. Back to work full time at Xmas.

Simbacat Fri 22-Oct-10 20:11:07

You could do a graduate teacher programme. You are paid, school based and it takes 12 months.

maize Fri 22-Oct-10 20:11:29

I am doing a primary PGCE.

I am in uni 9-4 and in school 8-5 (not at the same time!). I do 2-3 hours extra work a night. Its very very full on and busy.

I love it though

moonminmama Fri 22-Oct-10 20:28:26

I have been teaching ten years and it has passed in a heartbeat. It is the best job in the world but can also be the worst. It all depends how well you cope with stress I suppose. The pgce and nqt (first year in post) are tough, there's no getting away from that. Lots of paperwork and learning new skills etc.

I have no responsibilities otherthan teaching in my job and find the workload easily manageable. I start work at 8.30 dropping ds off at breakfast club at 8am on the way. I usually leave around 4pm picking ds up from afterschool club on the way home (ds is 4 and I am expecting the birth of dd in feb- which will bring a whole new set if challenges!) one or two nights a week I will bring work home-usually marking which can take a couple of hours. It can be more or less depending on the time of year. Report writing, assessment cycles etc mean more work to bring home.

The planning etc gets easier the longer you've been in the job. My head of dept gets ver stressed and I know takes a lot of the stresses home with her. This is one of the reasons I'm happy not to have any other responsibilities within my job other than teaching because when I leave work it's much easier to leave it behind so to speak

I love my job. Have never ever regretted choosing it as a career. The rewards are amazing! Be prepared for the hard work and if you can get your head around the fact that to begin with you will find it much more difficult to spend as much quality time with your lo as you may do at the moment and it'll be worth it in the end.

That's my two penny worth any way. Good luck in what ever you chose to do x

moonminmama Fri 22-Oct-10 20:29:19

I like your name btw, I too am a huge rugby fan (league not union)

MrsColumbo Fri 22-Oct-10 20:59:41

Simbacat's suggestion of looking into doing a GTTP, where you will get paid, is worth following up.
This might sound a bit obvious, but you have to really like teenagers and find them an interesting group of people - they do get pissed off with being seen as the enemy, not surprisingly. Yes, they can be toads, but also unexpectedly nice. They can sniff out those teachers who are passionate about their subject and who are interested in the people they're teaching.
Although you say you are shy, you also say you enjoy presenting: teaching is about performing. Think about the number of actors who say how shy they are in RL, or get nervous before a performance. It's fun - yes, it's so hard sometimes, but there are so many reasons why teachers keep going back for more. Ask yourself this: if you don't go for this, is that decision something you may regret in years to come?

Waswondering Fri 22-Oct-10 21:06:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waswondering Fri 22-Oct-10 21:08:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

christelle444 Thu 04-Nov-10 21:35:50

PGCE almost "killed" me when I was single and child free 12 years ago so I would never consider it once having a family. My husband also is a science teacher, thinks the same. It sometimes gets easier if you are in a good school and stay there for a few years but in our case, it just feels that we work all the time including during the holidays. Sorry to appear so negative. In theory teaching is great and a very rewarding job. I now teach part-time, only 2 days a week in a private primary school and I am loving it despite the mountain of work but it is a huge compromise on family life and a very stressful career. In many schools, discipline is a major issue. You always feel you are NEVER finish with work and the money is poor considering how many hours you work including preparation, marking, open evening, parents evening and other duties.
Again, I am sorry if I appear negative but I would hate to see another mum falling victim of the demands of being a teacher. My husbands cousin did her PGCE in science a few years despite our warnings. She has not got children yet but she was forced to give up after 2 years as it was too stressful and not getting any better. She is back to her old job.
Good luck in whatever choice you are making. Take care

manyhands Tue 09-Nov-10 21:44:24

Well I did my PGCE part time with two young children and it was manageable. I'm doing my NQTyear and love it.

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