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Geography Subject Knowledge

(23 Posts)
Verbena37 Sat 21-May-16 18:23:56

I'm having a think about doing a PGCE to teach secondary geography (my degree is BSC Geog) but as I'm now 38 and other than two years working for DEFRA, I've not been in a geography environment.

A few years back I had applied for a primary GTP and volunteered in a primary school for almost two years, but changed my mind after realising the school I was going to be placed at really wasn't for me.

Now though, I'm thinking I can prepare and apply over this coming year and start training in 2017. However, the geography curriculum has really changed since I did it as a student but how much will that matter?

I'm worried my subject know,edge won't be good enough. I've read up on SKE courses but do you only do those once you've got onto a PGCE course....because do you fit it in whilst doing the PGCE?

GinandJag Sat 21-May-16 20:57:43

Your degree will enable you to get onto a PGCE course, and then you will be in an environment where you learn how to teach Geography for almost a year.

I don't think it will have changed much. It is still human, physical and environmental. There will be new hot topics, such as migration and global warming, but I am sure you have been keeping track of these.

I have taught KS3 Geography as a Science teacher and it was fine.

Clonakiltylil Sat 21-May-16 21:03:57

I really wouldn't worry about it. Seriously. You are going to be teaching 11 year olds at the bottom end and 18 year olds at the top. Have a look some papers on one of the exam boards - AQA, for example- and you will see the kinds of questions the GCSE and A level students will be tackling. BBC Bitesize is good for that too and they cover KS3 as well. You will have to mug up a little but it seems like you are going to be more than fine to me.

Verbena37 Sat 21-May-16 21:05:01

Don't think it was human, physical and environmental when I did
A level....just human and physical. I do remember a specific new part to the written exam which was an environmental catastrophe (massive oil spill off Jamaica) and we had to plan what we would do.
I do like the much larger environmental aspect to geography now though.
I've just been looking up about the QTS skills tests and I'm already panicking about passing the numeracy one!

Rosie29 Sat 21-May-16 22:20:07

I have a place on a Geography PGCE starting in Septemeber. I have geography A level but my degree is in another subject, slightly relating to some areas of human geography. For whatever reason the government has placed geography on the list for being in demand so there are bursaries available. I went to a couple of get into teaching evenings and made a few contacts there, did my application, asked to interview the next day and was offered a place during my interview. I do have teaching experience but in another subject and not in the UK.
I'm studying for skills test at the moment and then plan to brush up on my subject knowledge over the summer. I'm sure you'll be offered a place without any trouble. I had a good talk with the university about my ability to come up to speed with regard to my subject knowledge, they were very encouraging, especially if, like me, you're slightly more 'mature' and have other skills to offer!
Good luck!

Verbena37 Sat 21-May-16 22:33:59

Thanks. I'm not sure I feel ready to apply for this September, although there seems to be places left for geography.
I think if I plan, get more experience in school and apply this year, I'll feel more confident when it comes to training.
Good luck with your course.

thefemaleJoshLyman Sun 22-May-16 19:30:13

Most PGCE courses will do some form of subject audit. I also agree with pp, you will always know more than the students, especially in lower years. Personally, I think it is worth looking at this year, you will pick up the subject knowledge fairly quickly. Actually teaching topics will really quickly embed your own learning. Teaching geography is fantastic, enjoy!

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 19:38:13

There is just so much information online about it....and not all through the getintoteaching website.
I'm just not sure I'm mentally prepared.
DS has recently been diagnosed with HF ASD and so getting used to that and what support he might need on transition to secondary.
I like to be well prepared so I thought this coming year I could get classroom experience and just get into the feel of it all.

lljkk Sun 22-May-16 19:40:31

Beware... At DD's school the geography teacher does a lot of science teaching, too. They will stretch you as wide as they can.

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 19:44:48

Well I wouldn't mind biology but chemistry and physics would do me in grin.
I could actually teach French as I have A level French and German so could cover both if illness or training needed me to but wouldn't have thought in a large secondary with specialist subject staff for all subjects, there'd be much swapping?

lljkk Sun 22-May-16 20:17:29

AFAIK, MFL, sciences & math teachers have the most severe shortages / most vacancies.

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 20:30:07

Think they're also saying geography also now because of EBacc.

caroldecker Sun 22-May-16 20:45:19

I would think anyone with a decent degree could cover the subject knowledge for all subjects at GCSE and most at A level.
Teaching skill is much harder (and more important)

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 21:20:11

Yes I agree, I need to be confident delivering a lesson and all the things that being a great teacher involves, as well as making sure my subject knowledge is sound.

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 21:30:02

Such a shame as I've just seen my local secondary is desperately seeking a geography teacher for this September....either geog or a teacher who wants to retrain as geog teacher. Shame it wasn't saying Teach First or I might have considered it.

cannotlogin Sun 22-May-16 22:26:46

Why Teach First? The clue is in the title with that one! You have already been in the workplace for a considerable period of time...all Teach First I have worked with are teaching first! Do you mean Schools Direct?

thefemaleJoshLyman Sun 22-May-16 22:38:56

Teach First aren't doing Geography in my area, it is a good programme for teacher training buto don't think is available nationwide. Geography has a massive shortage of teachers at the moment. If you are interested in the school, contact them and ask about SCITT. My job involves teacher training, so feel free to PM if you want.

thefemaleJoshLyman Sun 22-May-16 22:39:30

Teach First is not for people already teaching.

Verbena37 Sun 22-May-16 22:48:16

Sorry yes, I meant School Direct.

Verbena37 Mon 23-May-16 09:09:06

After another night of sleeping on it and my ASD DS having a full blown melt down yesterday, I'm thinking now whether it would just be better to do the government TA secondary and primary course online and then applying to do secondary TA. I can then always change to train as a teacher later if I wanted.

ceebie Wed 25-May-16 11:03:34

With respect to your original question about brushing up on subject knowledge - I'm in a similar position.

I had my PGCE interview in April, and discussed how best to revise my subject. I was offered a place, with a condition of the offer being to complete a SKE course. I've registered to do the TES online SKE course, lasting 8 weeks, in June and July. The average study time is 20-25 hours per week, which can be done any time so I can fit it around my current job (although I'm taking annual leave one day per week to help with study time, so it won't be all evenings and weekends). Because doing the course is a condition of the offer, the course fees are funded so i don't have to pay, PLUS I get paid a bursary of £1,600 which is on top of my salary! Had it been a problem to fit in the SKE course as well as my job, I'm pretty sure that the university would have amended my offer to remove this as a condition, but by including it as a condition ensured that the funding would be available for me.

I see that TES offers an 8-week Geography SKE course with the same funding arrangements.

I think applying to start in 2017 could be a good option; I considered doing the same and I first starting thinking about this career route in October 2015! It's a long wait but you'll be able to get a lot of preparation done in that time. I would suggest that you apply to courses in October, and at interview ask them if they would support you to do a SKE course before the start of the PGCE/School Direct. They could also provide you with a reading list for more general background reading (I've been given a reading list including "How to Teach..." and "Learning to Teach" type books). BBC bitesize is also great, or the CGP Revision Guides. You could perhaps also fit in some class observations in difference schools over the next year?

With the numeracy test, it really is a matter of practice, and above all, Keep Calm and Don't Panic!

Good luck!

Verbena37 Wed 25-May-16 11:18:54

Thank you so much ceebie....that is all really helpful.
I was wondering about best timings to apply etc.
Is the SKE assessed or purely informational?
If assessed, if you fail, do they withdraw their offer of PGCE?

ceebie Wed 25-May-16 13:19:56

I think applications for Sept 2017 open towards the end of October 2016. I doesn't really matter when you apply, but the sooner you apply, the sooner you'll be offered a place, and you can start all the preparations.

I actually don't know whether the SKE is assessed and if so, what would happen if I fail! blush. I'm sure the knowledge is buried somewhere in my brain and it just needs to re-surface. I figure if I can't manage the course, it wouldn't look good for my ability to teach, would it! I should be able to tell you more in a couple of weeks once I start the course.

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