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Applying for PGCE, do I just have my head in the clouds??

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by anon331, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. I've just put through my PGCE application for Newman in Birmingham and Manchester, this is for the Primary PGCE. But to be honest, I'm starting to wonder if I have my head in the clouds and am punching far above my weight here. Here's a brief run down of me!

    I have a good 2:1 in Event Management from the University of Birmingham, so not teaching related. I did 1 year of an Education Studies degree before that but changed because of the course/university.
    I have very good GCSEs and meet all those requirements.
    My A Levels were Psychology, Law and General Studies (CCD) with AS Levels in Biology and Chemistry, which I think were a D and an E. I know that I could have done far better than these but I had a lot of personal problems to face at the time which interfered with my studies.

    I don't have primary teaching experience within the UK, though I helped as a Teaching Assistant voluntarily for a week but that was 3 or 4 years ago now. I do have a fair deal of secondary experience within the UK though. And at the moment I'm currently working in Thailand teaching English to 6-13 year olds. I've got 3 months experience in that at the moment and will have a year by the time I leave and hopefully start a PGCE.

    Am I likely to even be considered anywhere for a PGCE or am I just dreaming? Teaching is all that I want to do, but I wasn't lucky enough to know that before I started university. But now that I'm in Thailand, I know that there is no other job that I can see me doing and enjoying the way I do with teaching. I'm concerned that I won't even be considered for interview after thy see my experience/qualifications and that even if I get an interview, I'll just mess it up completely or get turned down because of lack of experience. Ah the joys of waiting! Sorry for a bit of a rant, any advice or experience similar would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Caroline
     
  2. I've just put through my PGCE application for Newman in Birmingham and Manchester, this is for the Primary PGCE. But to be honest, I'm starting to wonder if I have my head in the clouds and am punching far above my weight here. Here's a brief run down of me!

    I have a good 2:1 in Event Management from the University of Birmingham, so not teaching related. I did 1 year of an Education Studies degree before that but changed because of the course/university.
    I have very good GCSEs and meet all those requirements.
    My A Levels were Psychology, Law and General Studies (CCD) with AS Levels in Biology and Chemistry, which I think were a D and an E. I know that I could have done far better than these but I had a lot of personal problems to face at the time which interfered with my studies.

    I don't have primary teaching experience within the UK, though I helped as a Teaching Assistant voluntarily for a week but that was 3 or 4 years ago now. I do have a fair deal of secondary experience within the UK though. And at the moment I'm currently working in Thailand teaching English to 6-13 year olds. I've got 3 months experience in that at the moment and will have a year by the time I leave and hopefully start a PGCE.

    Am I likely to even be considered anywhere for a PGCE or am I just dreaming? Teaching is all that I want to do, but I wasn't lucky enough to know that before I started university. But now that I'm in Thailand, I know that there is no other job that I can see me doing and enjoying the way I do with teaching. I'm concerned that I won't even be considered for interview after thy see my experience/qualifications and that even if I get an interview, I'll just mess it up completely or get turned down because of lack of experience. Ah the joys of waiting! Sorry for a bit of a rant, any advice or experience similar would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Caroline
     
  3. Eva_Smith

    Eva_Smith Established commenter

    Traditionally speaking, you don't have teh requirements for teaching in the UK, but it really depends on the university in question and whether they feel you have the personal qualities requierd for teaching. Also, it depends on the calibre of the other applicants.
    With fewer jobs available when you qualify, especially in Primary (over 50% of new NQTs are unemplyed, according to the stats) you might make it onto the course, but may find it difficult to get employed against the (potentially) dozens of other candidates for each job. Most employers are going to favour an academic background more related to teaching, however, some might also prefer a candidate with successful classroom experience, even if it was abroad.
    So, to sum up my somewhat waffley answer....you won't know until you try. However,try to explain your reasons for wanting to teach as clearly as possible in your personal statement and/or covering letter; this would allow you the chance to explain why you may not appear to have the qualifications on paper, but that you have become committed to teaching and working with children in the years since university.
    Sorry, not too helpful!
    Eva x
     
  4. You may be in luck with a PGCE place, Caroline, it depends partly on how you worded your personal statement and whether they think you're worth interviewing! You certainly write about teaching with some passion. However places are more in demand than before, it seems.
    As for getting a job afterwards, you just have to try your best. Don't expect too much from your teaching experience in Thailand. It is very competitive to get a Primary job, but if your references are good, you have a little good fortune and you make a good impression there's always a chance.
     
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I am now on a Primary PGCE course but was worried about the same thing when I applied last year, as I had no teaching experience in the UK. You at least have some secondary experience - not the same as primary, obviously, but an insight into the British school system nevertheless. However, I did have NC subject A levels and degree, and three years teaching experience abroad. If you're unsuccessful in gaining an interview, don't despair - try and arrange some teaching experience in the UK next year and make another application. And if you get an interview, don't panic - they are quite keen on you if you get as far as interview, so as long as you are passionate about teaching and refer to your experiences in Thailand to back up your claims that you really want to teach this age range, you stand as good a chance as anyone. Good luck!
     
  6. Quite mixed responses there! But thanks :)



    I've been thinking about it and I know beyond all shadow of a doubt that this is what I want. There is nothing that I have ever wanted as much as I want this. I know that the journey to teaching isn't going to be an easy one in any shape or form. Getting an interview for a PGCE will be difficult. Getting through an interview an interview will be difficult. Completing the PGCE will be just as much hard work. And then getting a first teaching post will probably be just as hard. But I don't care. This is what I want to do with my life and if I have to put sweat blood and tears into getting onto and through a PGCE place, then that's what I'll do. I can't walk away just because it's going to be difficult. I guess that shows me how much I want it.



    I've spoken to one of the PGCE tutors at Manchester who has said that they've still got places and that they would welcome my application with the experience and qualifications that I have. He even said that they'll be able to make a special case and interview me while I'm still in Thailand if I can't get back. So it's looking positive so far. So I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.



    IF I get an interview and then manage to get onto a PGCE and pass it, I've hopefully got enough contacts within Primary schools around the UK to help me get my foot in a few doors when it comes to getting a teaching position afterwards. I've already had a few schools say that they would have loved to take me on a GTP place but that they just don't have the funding for it.



    So I guess it's all no clearer now and I may still have my head in the clouds and be dreaming about the whole thing, but I have to at least try. I've got nothing to lose but my £17 application fee and everything to gain. So fingers crossed, now the waiting begins and it might just kill me!!
     
  7. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    That sounds really good... I had to come back for interview (I was in Russia at the time). Fingers crossed!
     
  8. That's what I expected to have to do to be honest. But the problem is, where I'm teaching in Thailand, I can't just up and leave in the middle of the term for a week or so. I can't afford to either when I'd have little notice about it. There were a lot of unis that got back to me and said that no, it wouldn't be possible to do it via a video conference or something, so I'm lucky with Manchester really. I guess it's because I emailed them before and put in a very well worded email explaining the situation and how much I want a place this year and also how being here in Thailand is beneficial to me if I gain a place.



    Where did you apply for Kartoshka?
     
  9. GodOfBiscuits

    GodOfBiscuits New commenter

    I'm not trying to put a dampner on things, but if you don't get in this year there's always next year, and if it has to be next year then you can do a lot to strengthen your application. Maybe move back to to brittain, do some volountary work in a school and with youth clubs or cubs/brownies.

    Your degree might not be anything teaching related, but neither is a degree in history or english really. Unless we're teaching degree level stuff to our 10 year olds nowadays.

    On top of that, you're actually teaching now, it's in thailand, but heck, it's still standing in front of pupils and teaching them. How many people get places even though they've never stood in front of a class before?
     
  10. No I know, you're right and that's what I keep trying to tell myself. If I don't get a place this year, it's not the end of it, there's always next year. Yes it's annoying and yes I'd be extremely disappointed, but it wouldn't be over. Will be moving back this year whether I get a place or not, just will be a couple of months earlier if I do get a place.

    That's a very good point. But yet a lot of university's lean towards those with curriculum subject degrees and give it extra weighting.

    That's what I'm hoping. It might not be the National Curriculum that I'm teaching, but it's surely much better than just observing or being a TA or something. I have to teach, plan lessons etc. so definitely gives me more confidence in being able to teach in the UK.

    My application was finally processed by the GTTR today so my first choice have now received my application. I'm going to be checking Track a lot now I think, hopefully I'll hear soon!
     
  11. I did exactly that, caroline, I used to teach at a university in Thailand and asked them for the time off - they gave me a week so I was able to go to the interview in the UK. I think it is extremely unlikely that you would be seriously considered for a PGCE place without going to a face to face interview. Bite the bullet and ask your school.
     
  12. Sorry, should have made it clear to prepare to ask your Thai school in case Manchester doesn't offer you a place. Many PGCE providers want you to do a group task as part of the interview process and you can't really do that by a videoconference. Also remember that you'll normally be expected to do a week or so observing in a school before the PGCE course starts, so you may have to come back to the UK to do this anyway. The difficulty is - as you know - that Thai government school holidays don't overlap with UK ones.
     
  13. I already know that I can't take the time off, I've spoken to them. Beyond that, the price for a return flight is equivalent to a whole month's wages. I get paid very well for Thailand, but it doesn't convert back into the pound well. I can't afford to pay that for a flight when I have to also pay for my flight home when I finish here in 6 months.

    To be honest, if Manchester don't offer me an interview and my second choice or no other university are willing to offer me a video conferencing interview, then I'll have to wait until next year. I completely understand why they have face to face interviews with group tasks, but unfortunately for some people who are either working overseas at the time, or living overseas, it's just not feasible sometimes. I understand that this is my problem, not the university's, but at the moment it's not something that I can control.

    In regards to the UK experience, Manchester have said that my current experience is suitable, but that if I could be some observation in a UK primary it would make me feel more confident at interview. But I'm fine with not having that. I've got enough primary school teacher friends that I can talk to and I have been into Primary schools and helped, for between a day and a week, but the most recent of that was a few years ago. But I still have a good understanding of it I think.
     
  14. Fair enough, hope you get the place at Manchester for September, caroline.
     

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