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Becoming a Secondary School Art Teacher

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by k8ew8e, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Hi! I'm getting really confused and just wondering if anyone can help...
    I completed my degree in Fine Art just over 3 years ago and since then I have been working in customer service without much focus on my artistic practice.
    I decided this January that I wanted to become a teacher, and since then I have been working as hard as possible to get some work experience. I have sent out letters and emails to local schools and youth clubs, but have only managed to go on one observation day in a school so far. I have another one coming up with a different school at the beginning of march and a meeting with someone this week about volunteering in youth centres. I applied to my local GTP scheme and was invited for interview a few weeks ago, but didn't get in because I was told I would need at least one year's teaching experience to get on the course and was advised to apply to becaome a Teaching Assistant. I have only seen a few support staff jobs advertised for a Learning Mentor and Cover Supervisor, both of which I feel very unqualified for. I do have experience working with young people: at university I ran a series of six art workshops for 14-16 year olds who had been excluded from school for behavioral issues. This was a fantastic opportunity but happened quite a while ago. Unfortunately I work full time and am on a very irregular shift pattern, which doesn't help either...
    I am about to apply for a PGCE (just waiting for my reference to come through), but I am starting to feel like this might be a waste of time (and money) if I don't have enough experience. It just feels like there are too many things that I should be doing all at the same time and I don't know where to start first!
    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!
  2. josiejosie

    josiejosie New commenter

    It's confusing isn't it.
    Firstly I should say, as you surely know, these are really tough times for prospective art teachers (and prospective teachers of arts subjects in general).
    Since the training places have been slashed across the board and there are rumbles that Art may be removed from the national curriculum, it is a rather unstable time.
    If you check out GTTR and see which courses still seem to have vacancies, I'd advise calling up the relevant department at the unis to check if they still have any places and even if the course is still running (several have closed due to their funding being cut so dramatically).
    It's true that experience is vitally important, but I assume in the statement you've written you've said you intend to get more experience in schools? Some people seem to get onto courses with very little experience, others reapply year after year and sometimes work full time as TAs or cover supervisors before they get a peep.
    You seem to be doing all the right things, and I'd suggest looking into afterschool volunteering schemes or similar community arts organizations where you might be able to organize something at short notice. Anything you can get before an interview is a bonus as you'll have solid recent experience to talk about.
    Also consider the PCET and DTLLS courses for older learners - can't advise much on this as I'm in the same boat as you but check out the prospective teachers forum.
    I'd also suggest that you try and bulk out your portfolio whilst you're waiting to hear - life drawing, printmaking classes, whatever. Going to a museum and drawing something, making a short film etc. The interviews for art and design are likely to include you displaying/presenting your own work, and showing recent stuff is a million times better than safe old degree work.
    Best of luck !! You'll get there if you want it enough - just might take longer/not be the same path as you expect!
  3. Hi
    I know they are definately cutting Art PGCE's this year but if you are determined you will get on one I'm sure. Approach your local schools directly both Primary and Secondary you will probably find them more than willing to help. Take a job as a Teaching Assistant if necessary because it will give you an insight into the 'real' life in schools. You will not find yourself in the art department alot but you will gain invaluable experience and it will give you the confidence to progress into teaching. Also keep an eye out for Art technician jobs in schools. A PGCE is not a waste of time or money if you have the personal qualities and enthusiasm to succeed the university will see that. Good luck in your quest!
  4. darkness

    darkness New commenter

    I am actually glad there is now a reduction in the number of training places available. What an unworkable policy before.

    Your approach to go to schools directly will yield little return due to the issue of liability. You would be better off approaching the council and having an up to date CRB ready. If the schools says yes to you personally, who is liable should something happen, whose head would be on the line? Such is the system, approaching schools individually these days just gets little return.

    This removing art from the NC, I have yet to read much on that, is it all myth? Art is only a foundation subject anyway, schools are not obligated and never have been to provide art or any other foundation subject.

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