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Unqualified teacher - how can I get myself ready?

(74 Posts)
Slurpy Tue 04-Jun-19 20:39:35

To cut a long story short, I went into my local secondary to observe some lessons with a view to doing a PGCE - by the end of the day I was offered a very part time teaching post in my degree subject.

The school is very supportive - they've factored in mentoring time, the head is a big fan of the GTP, so I'm hopeful that this can be a way forward for me. I'll be teaching an AS class this year, and hopefully taking them onto A2.

My subject knowledge is rusty, but I can polish it up. I have a background as a trainer (as well as training people in how to become trainers) but I've not done that much in the last couple of years.

Is there any books, tips, anything that people can recommend on how to actually teach?

It's probably absolute madness, but I would have kicked myself if I'd turned it down, plus the school were totally stuck on how to deliver the course next year. And 30 pupils have signed up!

Would really appreciate some advice from MN teachers. Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Tue 04-Jun-19 20:46:26

the head is a big fan of the GTP

(Now called Schools Direct). If the head is a big fan of on-the-job training, what training has he offered you?

You’re being taken for a ride, tbh.

newyearoldme Tue 04-Jun-19 20:46:29

The school should be furnishing you with everything you need. Start with the specification from the correct exam board (the syllabus) so that you know exactly what you need to be teaching them. Then get past papers and sample papers from the exam board website so you know what the exams look like, plus the mark schemes and the examiners reports from previous years. There are loads of subject teaching groups on FB and Twitter. A-Level can be tough to teach as it's so in-depth. Many exam boards provide a ready made scheme of work and offer guidance. You'll need to plan long, mid and short term and you need to know when they'll be expected to do mocks etc and what they need to have done by then.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 04-Jun-19 20:49:06

What subject? Will you be the only teacher of that subject? What does your mentor teach?

noblegiraffe Tue 04-Jun-19 20:49:41

If you can, get into the school as much as you can now and observe as many sixth form lessons as you can. Take textbooks, schemes of work, passwords for any online resources.

A lot of ‘how to teach’ books focus on 11-16. Sixth form is a different kettle of fish.

fedup21 Tue 04-Jun-19 20:51:24

How can you get yourself ready? By doing teacher training, I’d say!

In all seriousness-I wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole. You’re being employed as a teacher and will be paid buttons with no training.

Synecdoche Tue 04-Jun-19 20:53:18

I would get as much observation of sixth form teaching under your belt as possible and swot up on the exam spec.

abbiecloud Tue 04-Jun-19 20:55:52

They're taking the piss and can get away with paying you peanuts as you're not qualified. What subject ?

abbiecloud Tue 04-Jun-19 20:57:37

They don't know how to deliver the course ? So that means you'll be expected to write a scheme of work and prepare all the resources.

fedup21 Tue 04-Jun-19 20:59:34

What subject?

donquixotedelamancha Tue 04-Jun-19 21:07:05

* I'll be teaching an AS class this year, and hopefully taking them onto A2.* And 30 pupils have signed up! Oh Jesus Christ.

1. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are any good in your first year. Understanding how to get ideas across is much harder than everyone thinks and children are not the same as training adults. Be kind to yourself and understand that you will be getting better for several years.

2. Get in to meet with a good sixth form/college teaching that course and steal as much as you possibly can from them. Try to arrange a couple of days. You should be paid for this by your school and frankly I wouldn't take the job if they baulk at this because it would be a bad sign.

You want to know how they deliver the course, you want to nick their resources and you want to know where the pitfalls are.

3. Do another post on here for subject specific stuff. Again you want the same info as above.

4. Can you split that class? Teaching 2 groups of 15 would be sooo much better and you are doing them a big favour taking a part time role for A-level only. 30 kids is a lot of funding.

4. As PP says- use the specification religiously. Try to be very prepared on the material and make sure you look at how different websites have treated that content, not just one source.

5. Decide on your structures and expectations and stick to them. 16yo AS students are not adults. Find out what the achievement policy is when kids don't meet expectations (some won't) and use it.

If you start strict, with rigid structures, then in time they will do what they should automatically. If you start being all matey and thinking they are adults it will be a bugger to get back.

The school should be furnishing you with everything you need.

They have no one who teaches this. There is zero chance of this happening- this will be developing the course from scratch. Hard for experienced teachers.

Good luck.

AllOverIt Tue 04-Jun-19 21:12:52

What subject OP?

Haggisfish Tue 04-Jun-19 21:14:10

My money is on psychology...

MogMogMog Tue 04-Jun-19 21:28:02

As PP have said, I think you're being taken for a ride and those poor kids are being done a massive disservice. I mean no disrespect OP, but teaching is an art form that needs to be learned and developed. Just because you (sort of) know the content, doesn't mean you will be able to model it without the pedagogical knowledge that comes from a two year teaching course (PGCE and NQT). You will have to write a SOW from scratch, something that is mostly done by experienced HODs or middle leaders.

I bet your school is an academy in a MAT, with financial problems, in an area of high deprivation. Poor kids

Slurpy Tue 04-Jun-19 21:32:50

Sorry, took a break to have dinner and there's loads of replies. Thank you for the tips so far. I had a fear that (some) responses would go that way though, and probably should have consulted MN before I accepted.

Yep, Psychology. To be fair, I was furnished with the spec, other bits from the exam board, a text book and any past papers they could lay their hands on when they asked if I'd even consider it. They've also arranged for me to meet with the current teacher (an external provider) in the next couple of weeks and I'll be able to sit in on the remaining classes for the rest of the term if I can make it. Not sure who my mentor will be yet.

It's a brand new school (bilingual), in a small country town where everyone knows each other. The kids, on the whole seem really well behaved. I have friends who teach at the school and say its a great place to work.

I'm under no illusion about how much work it's going to be. I've been lurching about from midlife crisis to midlife crisis recently (bereavement) and teaching has always been in the back of my mind. I guess, as much as anything I'm seeing it as a way to try it out.

Only scanned the thread, so I'll answer anything else I spot afterwards.

OP’s posts: |
BishopofBathandWells Tue 04-Jun-19 21:32:52

OP I mean this with the greatest of respect, but I'm horrified by this. I bet they won't be paying you the going rate. I've taught A-Levels across a range of subjects and have a doctorate in my chosen field and I still sometimes struggle with the workload. I also very much doubt you'll be given the sort of mentoring you'll require.

Plus, those kids are expecting you to know what you're doing. They're relying on you to know. I don't think it's fair that they're putting you in a classroom without a PGCE, especially when your subject knowledge isn't up to par.

abbiecloud Tue 04-Jun-19 21:35:27

So they had no one in place to teach this subject but still offered it ? I'm presuming someone has dropped out/resigned ? Have they advertised the post ? They must have known the numbers for some time. Teachers leaving their present schools have to resign by 31st May to take up new posts in September so why aren't they advertising if they knew there was a vacancy ?

Sooverthemill Tue 04-Jun-19 21:39:44

get Yourself over to TimesED forums and pinch all the ideas you can for your subject ( remember to give back via the forum too). AS students aren't quite adults so you do need structure but not as much as younger years. I would say have a go but be ruthlessly organised and get everything you can from the school. Sue Crowley does good new teacher books which may help for behaviour.

I qualified PGCE ( PCE so as a teacher of adults )and moved straight into a school teaching post just as the then rules changed and survived but it was bloody hard. Don't let the school take you for a ride, get your PGCE as soon as you can

TheFallenMadonna Tue 04-Jun-19 21:39:54

Sorry OP. All a bit flattening after being offered a job.

FWIW I work with a teacher who came in unqualified, and now has QTS and finished her NQT year. She is fab. Mentoring is absolutely key, and there is no substitute for a subject specialist (and I say that as someone who is teaching outside my original specialism).

If that is not available, ask the school to set you up with a specialist in another school, would be my advice.

Lots of teacher will say "teaching skills" are not subject specific, but I disagree. I teach three different subjects, and I have had to learn how to teach each one, even though i had the subject knowledge and years of experience teaching my first subject. That is what ITT really should be doing.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 04-Jun-19 21:45:25

X post. That's one of my subjects. I don't teach it at the moment, but I am in the middle of marking AQA unit 1...

Slurpy Tue 04-Jun-19 21:49:57

They did advertise. I was the only applicant.

I've developed many, many courses in the past (including level 4 accredited ones, and an entire suite of 50+ interlinking courses), and although I know it will be different, and harder, that doesn't fill me with fear.

I intend, if I can, to hang around the A level classes like a bad smell for the rest of term...

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Tue 04-Jun-19 21:55:52

This is quite common in A Level Law where it is unusual to find qualified teachers. They seem to go quite unsupported but they seem to manage...

The subject knowledge thing is a bit concerning. Take a deep breath, find out the exam board and splash out on the textbooks (making sure they are up to date ones!) and read them. Do some past papers yourself!

Make sure they are clear what training and CPD they will offer you.

Get into the school now to observe lessons in similar subjects, taught in similar ways ( I'd suggest sociology, law. biology). see if you can visit another local school with a psychology department and arrange to meet. Put feelers out on twitter perhaps.

My subject attracts lots of anxious and underqualified/inexperienced/non specialist teachers. there is a whole Facebook community, so there may well be for Psychology.

I am a tad concerned your head referred to GTP!

Slurpy Tue 04-Jun-19 21:59:13

@Piggywaspushed it's still the GTP in Wales (but changing soon, which the Head referenced).

I am appreciating all the helpful tips and advice. And I acknowledge the horror from some of you!

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Tue 04-Jun-19 22:00:13

Yeah, I went back and reread your posts and sussed it was wales because of the bilingual comment!

Slurpy Tue 04-Jun-19 22:03:28

There's a very helpful Facebook group for the exam board, and I've been plundering their resources. Great to have some other ideas too, thanks.

Doing past papers myself is a wonderful idea, I will.

@TheFallenMadonna - what are your other subjects?

OP’s posts: |

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