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I want to teach!! Where do I start, and is it for the right reasons? (long)

(19 Posts)
CallingTheShots Sat 01-Aug-15 08:56:34

Hi all, forgive me if this shouldn't be posted here but just seemed appropriate..

I'm an almost 18 year old girl in the UK. Throughout secondary school people continuously told me that I would make a good teacher, and I really enjoyed Psychology. Putting the two together, when it came to A Levels, it made sense where I wanted to be and everything was ok.

Many, many, things happened through the start of my AS Levels. I had fallen in with the wrong crowd the summer before, I was drinking a stupid amount, smoking a stupid amount of dope and having some serious mental health issues, which was impacting greatly on my A Levels, as I was skipping lessons, then days, then weeks of school, the lessons I did go to, I would be more often than not either drunk or stoned, and j wasn't doing any of the work because I was too busy trying to not kill myself.

My school got involved fairly quickly, and they soon became the most brilliant support system in the world. I grew close to a fair few of my teachers who were aware of what was going on with myself and things that were happening at home.

I've never had people that have cared so much for me and those teachers are what got me through that 1st year of A Levels. I missed a lot of school, was in a lot of trouble more often than not but these few teachers were so important to me. They were the only people I had to speak to about what was going on, and the best part was that I didn't feel like they didn't want to hear it- they honestly cared and wanted to help. I cannot explain the extent to which they helped me, it was so much more than they had to do and I will never be able to express my gratitude to those people.

Laying in bed at 3am this morning, it occurred to me that I still really want to teach, because of the impact these few teachers had on me. Unfortunately I left during my second year of A Levels, just before exams, because my depression was growing increasingly bad and at the same time, I had stopped trying. I gave up and didn't want to keep going, it just wasn't right for me anymore. I had missed more than half of each of my subjects lessons, and was going to fail undoubtly.

So I left my sixth form in February this year, with my head of year promising that I could re-do my A2's in September (this September!) if I wanted too.

Up until now, I've had occasions where I have considered it, but was 99.9% sure I didn't want to go back, would rather work for a bit until I 'work out what I want to do for the rest of my life'

I want to teach. Secondary. Psychology.

But I don't know where to start. I don't know if I can manage to get myself back into that school again. I know I could achieve if I really try, but I'm almost embarrassed to go back. I had a lot of meltdowns and breakdowns in that place, and it was humiliating to leave at the last hurdle.

Plus, I have no idea if I could cope at Uni, I don't know if I could cope training to be a teacher. I'm no good at public speaking unless I really really try, my confidence and self esteem is so low at the moment and I am terrified it will only get worse with this career in mind.

I don't know if this post make sense but I wanted to try and explain it, and hear what others have to say- especially any teachers themselves!
I don't know if my reasoning for wanted to teach is good enough- I just wish I could do what those teachers did for me- it's giving someone so much, an education, a support system, someone for young people to look up too when they have nobody else.

For me, my school life, from years 7 - before I left in 13, was a safe place to go. I had people watching over me constantly, encouraging, caring and wanting to help me make something of my life. I want to do that.

Thanks if you managed to read this, and even bigger thanks if you respond! flowers

Haggisfish Sat 01-Aug-15 09:01:22

You could do it-you would need to do your a levels and get a degree in psychology. These are very competitive in uk at traditional unis but the open university do a great psychology degree. You'll probably find your confidence improves over the time it takes to do these. You could also volunteer with some teenage stuff like local duke of Edinburgh groups or scouts. Good luck!

Wolfiefan Sat 01-Aug-15 09:07:32

Can you go to a different school? Or talk to one of these teachers with a view to getting back in?
I can highly recommend the uni experience!
You obviously want to support young people but teaching is about much more than that. You will have targets, difficult classes and some students who may well be very difficult to deal with.
Given your history would a counselling or mental health job allow you to support young people more in the way you want?
(I'm saying this as an ex teacher driven out of the profession by depression and anxiety caused by a couple of decades of the job. So hugely biased!)

sanfairyanne Sat 01-Aug-15 09:12:17

maybe think about mentoring? you would be a great volunteer mentor with an understanding of young people and difficulties. i also agree that counselling/psychologist might be a good longer term goal. teaching is a career i wouldnt recommend personally.

birchygoo Sat 01-Aug-15 09:14:17

You have the rest of your life ahead of you to achieve this if you really want to do it! Life is not a race! It's an experience. You can easily do what you want to do in uni in 5 years time, it doesn't have to be imminent. So take your time making this decision. You have the rest of your life to make the correct decision.
You can try some volunteering to see how you get on and if you think you would like it.
Also if it's helping young people you want to do - you could become a youth worker or work in women's aid etc.
you don't need a levels necessarily - you can do access course through your local higher education tech. They will also do A levels (might be quicker route just to do your A2 part of you have good A1 results) although you will need to make sure they do same exam board. You can also try spreading you A2 over two years. So maybe do one subject next year and 2 the following year. You can also do uni part time to take the stress and feeling of totally overload of you.

You have lots of options but until you speak to people at the schools and higher and further education techs you don't know what is available to you.

Ps I became a secondary science teacher - lasted my training (pgce) and hated it. I then went and did a masters and changed my career path. 2 of my best friends are teachers and love it (both science). It is a calling .. I would advise volunteering and being sure as if it's not for you it is really shit. Although like me you can always change career at the end!

CallingTheShots Sat 01-Aug-15 09:30:34

Thank-you all for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

I have thought about counselling with young people and youth work, but I have no idea where to start with that. I would love to go into student support in schools, which is something I had that was incredibly helpful for me during my time in education but I have no idea if all schools have this or how to get into it as a career.

My AS levels were okay considering the way I was during my first year. I came out with B's in psychology and sociology and a C in English literature.

I know I have a lot of time to get to wherever it is I want to be, I just feel like since leaving school all I've had a part time job at a children's play centre, and I've spent 5 months still not really sure with what to do with myself..

noblegiraffe Sat 01-Aug-15 09:58:58

Has it been pointed out to you that if you want to complete your A2s you don't have a lot of time as the A-levels in your subjects will be changing from this September? If you don't go back this September to finish them off, you may well find you need to start again from scratch.

Your desire to help students as you were helped is great. Teachers aren't necessarily best placed to give this support and there are usually pastoral roles in schools where you don't need to be a teacher. I think you should get your A-levels first, then see how things look.

CallingTheShots Sat 01-Aug-15 10:10:32

noble Thank-you! I didn't know that.

Another thing that worries me about going back, is that I'll be put in with the year below me at school, people that already have their set friendship groups and having spent the other year and half of sixth form having no friends, the thought doesn't fill me with much hope of enjoying it.

There is a lot of things that are making me not want to go back- but at the same time, i don't know how far I will get without having A Levels. Probably not very far.

It's so hard trying to figure out my future when it honestly feels like I am only now starting to live my life..

Haggisfish Sat 01-Aug-15 11:13:38

I know the thought of a year with 'no friends' doesn't appeal, but it's not actually that long in the grand scheme of things. It will be incredibly difficult to be a teacher, especially primary, if you do not have a levels. And they are a pain in the arse and expensive to do with much les support if you have to do them after you leave school. Whatever you choose to do, I would strongly recommend you go back to a school you know, and that knows you, to complete your a levels before all the specs change and you have to start at as level.

noblegiraffe Sat 01-Aug-15 11:43:01

I would agree with Haggis. Also if you are in a school that knows you then you are going to find it much easier to access careers advice and support with university applications if that's what you decide to do.

If you don't go back, restarting your AS-levels as a mature student will be expensive and even more intimidating as you'll have to do it somewhere where even the teachers don't know you.

And if you don't get your A-levels, then that will close a lot of doors for you.

You won't be the only person resitting Y13, perhaps you could become friends with some of the others. Or you might find friends in your subject groups, groups change a lot in Y13 with people dropping subjects and switching option blocks so it might not be as set as you think,

Short term pain for long term gain is how I would see it.

Happy36 Sat 01-Aug-15 14:17:21

Agree with Giraffe.

Good luck with your education, qualifications and career.

Lottiedoubtie Sat 01-Aug-15 14:27:18

I agree with the PPs.

Life isn't a race and you have plenty of time to achieve your career ambitions. I think taking things one step at a time is the best approach.

Step 1 is complete your A Levels. The quickest/easiest/cheapest way to do this is to go back to school. You know the set up, you know the teachers and you know that you will get support and good teaching from them. You can't be assured of this anywhere else- and whilst you could find it elsewhere it will be much, much harder.

It will be tough being with the 'year below' but you can overcome that. Try to consider it differently- you are going back for a purpose - achieve brilliant A2 results, not make friends and socialise. So head down, concentrate on the work.

Good luck!

HSMMaCM Sat 01-Aug-15 14:37:00

I had to take a year out of A levels and it was difficult and weird at first, fitting in with another year with established friendships, but I soon found out they were all lovely people.

Open University might accept you onto their Psychology course without A levels, if you start with one of their Level 1 courses. You can work, or volunteer at a school, or wherever while you study for your degree at your own pace.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

CallingTheShots Sat 01-Aug-15 15:01:19

Thanks for the really helpful and lovely advice from you all. I've emailed my sixth form today, but with it being the summer holidays AND the weekend, I don't know if it'll even be read let alone replied too.

The worry now is that I've left it too late.
If I don't have a reply then I think Ill head into the school on results day, and and hope to catch the head of sixth form then!

Wolfiefan Sat 01-Aug-15 15:03:09

Good luck. flowers

lottiedoubtie Sat 01-Aug-15 18:29:57

flowers an excellent plan, best of luck!

KnitFastDieWarm Sat 01-Aug-15 18:57:19

I don't have any advice but just wanted to add that I'm so impressed by how self aware you are and how you've turned things around. I don't mean that in a patronising way - you've done a great job to take the support available and get to this point. Whatever you do next, you sound like you've got your head screwed on right smile

A little anecdote if you are interested in psychology and in supporting/working with dad had a similar time at school to you (lots of issues at home, depression, drugs, left before he did a levels, etc) and he did an access course a few years later, rather than a levels. He then went to uni to study psychology as a mature student (at 23 so not that mature!) had a great time, and eventually qualified as a mental health nurse working with teenagers. He's just retired after many very happy years at a very high level in his field and a lifetime of helping teenagers who were going through similar stuff to him as teens (and you, by the sound of it).
Good idea re contacting your school - even if completing a levels there isn't doable, a social sciences access course might be worth considering. Does your school have a counselling or careers guidance service? They might be able to help you work out a plan to get where you want to be.

CountryLovingGirl Sun 02-Aug-15 06:48:44

If you do go down the mental health nurse/counsellor route you can always do a post-16 PGCE (part time at a local college) and still teach psychology (even if you wanted to do it part time alongside another career) in FE and secondary (I believe).

I think it's amazing that you are doing this. Keep going! It will be worth it in the end! I had to stay at my school for an extra year (A-levels) as I missed months of school during 6th form (bacterial meningitis). It was ok, I didn't feel embarrassed or anything. I passed my A-levels and went on to get a good degree and Masters. I have worked in the NHS since (although, I have a 'pull' towards education).

Wishing you well flowers.

Pointlessfan Sun 02-Aug-15 06:54:59

I really think volunteering would be good for your confidence and for you to experience working with young people. It will also be great on your cv/uni application at whatever point you need them.
Good luck!

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