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Advice for potential teacher- Primary, CELTA, or FE PGCE?? HELP!!

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by liddyloo88, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I am a recent BA English with Creative Writing graduate, looking to teach. However, I need advice.
    I do not want to teach secondary, for various reasons...the bureaucracy, the pay, the politics etc.
    I have considered Primary, as I love kids, but feel I would be under challenged. I also considered CELTA, so I can travel but I really love the idea of teaching English to 16-19 year olds, and in an environment where they might be uninspired usually, and inspire them. My main interest is FE English, but on research there seems to be not many jobs, and literally no possibility of travel! Is it better to do a CELTA or TEFL, then later on do a FE PGCE? Money is also a big issue, i.e funding.
    Also if any FE teachers can give me advice, this would be so helpful!
  2. wkclark

    wkclark New commenter

    If you don't know what age range you want to teach, it seems like you could use some experience to decide if teaching is right for you!! Volunteer in a primary, or see if you can get a placement in an FE college. See if teaching is right for you full stop. Go out and test the waters. No one else can tell you what is right for you.
    By the stage of FE, most students have made up their minds about what they want to study, and so will already have been 'inspired.' Helping them to decide which specific subjects they like tends to come earlier.
    Although there are proposals to make English and Maths compulsory for pupils who fail to achieve at least a C at GCSE, but who continue in education, until the age of 18. But then again, these are just proposals and I personally don't see how the British system would work with this requirement...
    Funding. No one can predict what will happen in a few years time. Most of the planning these days is very off the cuff. Loans are, at present, available.
  3. Hi Lydia,
    I'm an FE lecturer and have been teaching English in FE for nearly 3 years now....and i love it!! atmosphere is alot more relaxed and chilled out.
    When you say you want to teach 'english' im assuming you mean AS and A2 Level? when i did my post 16 PGCE my placement didnt give us the opportunity to teach at that level...having a English Language degree i was really keen to do so...instead i was teaching adult literacy from Entry 2 to Level 2, functional skills english, ESOL and literacy in the workplace...which is completely different to teaching a-level english..but you do have scope to 'inspire' the kids into the world of english as all my students are studying on vocational courses such as catering, perfoming arts, hair and beauty etc and most of them do have their english GCSE but still have to do functional skills in english..which they don't want to do..."i don't need to do this ****, when i already have a C in english" one of my students said last week but upon having marked his work over the course of the year, you would be forgiven to believe that he hadn't even gone to school!! which is where your 'inspiration' comes in to get them coming to lessons and actually doing the work!
    Like the other poster has advised, i would do some voluntary experience and see where you fit in, in terms of where u want to teach..
    I would strongly advise doing a PGCE before doing a CELTA....i did the 4 week intense CELTA course for £995 and it was a breeze...but only because of the confidence, skills and knowledge gained by doing my PGCE training...i've also been teaching ESOL for about a year now...and believe me it is not easy!!! (well i found quite hard) i assumed as i knew the english language it would be a doddle..how wrong was i...some of my students knew more of the technical grammar of the english language than i did and it is my first language..embarrassing!
    You're right there hardly isn't any FE jobs at all...and thats why im worrying now..so i applied to do secondary english..if you want a secure job then do primary or secondary....ive got an interview at leeds uni in july to do PGCE secondary english....just because there are no jobs in FE...i did 1 week work experience in a secondary school and i absolutely loved it...but my heart is still in FE.....
    even though i have a English Language degree, a CELTA ceritficate and 2 and a half years of teaching experience ive found it quite hard getting a job teaching english abroad, specifically in the middle east which is where i want to go! apparantly i didnt have enough experience and they want 5 years + which in all fairness quite right to say so as teaching english to speakers of other languages is hard and only with experience does it get easier...
    I want to move abroad for professional reasons and personal reasons...but even out there, especially in the middle east (qatar) i found that most of the jobs were either primary or secondary...so for me i just took the plunge and applied for secondary....
    Good Luck with whatever you decide to do :) PM me if you want to any further help.. x x
  4. I've just finished a FE PGCE and am about to completed my second week working as a full time tutor teaching Functional Skills English .
    If you don't want to teach in a state funded school I highly advise that you complete a FE PGCE as the course seems to be a lot easier than a school based PGCE and it will open more doors than a CELTA qualification. However, I have found that a lot of private ESOL schools don't recognise the FE PGCE so if you do want to teach ESOL outside of an FE college the CELTA course will still be a good qualification to get. CELTA is the main TEFL qualification and a lot of the cheaper TEFL courses are not recognised by employers.
    Although the job market is tough (I'm based in West Yorkshire) there are lots of teaching opportunities out there if you are an English specalist, especially if you're willing to relocate. You could work part time for the WEA as an English Tutor (they might even employ you with just your degree), you could work as a private tutor, you could teach Fuctional Skills, you could teach A-Level, you could teach adult literacy, adult ESOL, you could work in a prison, you could work for a private training provider, you could be employed to tutor for a charity...the list of possible employment opportunities is huge!

  5. FE is in a mess with limited jobs and low pay go for a sencondary PGCE which will allow you to teach both in schools and colleges. FE PGCE does not confer QTS which is critical. More jobs in the schools sector both initially andin terms of progression
  6. Hi Lydia,

    I'd seriously advise you to stay away from the PGCE (PCET), or FE, qualification. There are very, very few contracted positions available, and this is the case nationwide. I possess it, and have been teaching through an agency and being paid hourly since I qualified just over a year ago. Due to the 40 per cent cuts FE has undergone, the colleges simply cannot afford to hand out full-time contracts. It is also worth mentioning that the pay is considerably less than in a sixth form college (in FE it peaks at 29000ish for a regular teacher), and career progression is long and arduous as well.

    Don't get me wrong, the teaching itself is fantastic - There are generally much fewer behavioral issues than you might encounter in a state secondary school, and the maturity levels are obviously higher. This isn't to say the students don't have a certain spunk, but it makes for an invigorating atmosphere.

    It is also worth mentioning, that virtually all FE and 6th Form colleges will accept teachers who possess a regular PGCE, whereas the PCET qualification isn't recognized at all by secondary schools.

    Hope this helps.

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