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Career change into Adult Ed - first step?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Pugwash, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Pugwash

    Pugwash New commenter

    I wonder if you can help me. I've been gone from this website for a while now as I've not been in education but I really do miss it dreadfully,
    I qualified as a middle years science teacher in 2005 and taught on and off via contracts and supply for four years but never actually completed induction which lead to me leaving education and starting work as an inductrial chemist - which I am beginning to hate!
    iFor 2 years I've been applying for science technician jobs at schools and colleges but although I got interviews I was never offered a job so after too many knock-backs I've given up and have reviewed the situation and have decided that schools don't want me as technician...maybe they saw the passion for teaching which is still with me.and I cannot hide? I am well qualid=fied in chemistry up to master's level so maybe they thought I wouldn't stick as a support job - even thought I was a school chemistry technician before I left to do my PGCE.
    My best bet is to go into FE teaching/instructing/tutoring/assessing etc....but since I've been out of the loop for 2 years I lack confidence in a classroom environment.
    I have recently applied to do a PTLLS although I realise I don't have to do this introductory course but as I said, I need to 'prise' myself into this new career gently.
    Are there any other suitable part-time courses I can do or could I just apply for jobs (I've never actually seen any advertised in my area).
    I might be able to do some volunteer teaching but I'm not sure who I should write to?
    I'm wondering if anyone can advise as to the first steps I should take? There aren't many FE jobs advertised in my area so the more experience one has the better. I have little experience of teaching people aged 16 and above and no experence of teaching in FE or the Lifelong learning sector.

    Can anyone help?
  2. Pugwash

    Pugwash New commenter

    Hi Georgia
    Thanks for your reply. I've applied for a post at a FE college as NVQ assessor and am waiting to hear if I've been shortlisted. Any chance you can just describe a few of your major responsibilities?
    I've applied for a 'supply NVQ assessor) in childcare and supporting teaching and learning. I guess I'll drwaw upon teaching experience as I have to be qualified to level 3 in the subject area - I'm a chemist? But with a PGCE do you think that's what they'll look at?
    The reason I ask is that I only applied because the interview panel that interviewed me for a technician post encouraged me to apply for this particular position when they informed me of my unsuccessful technician interview. I did apply but I'm not exactly sure what I applied for.
    Can you help?
  3. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    As an assessor I had a caseload of learners that I had to visit in their workplace.
    They were doing NVQ or QCF qualifications and to achieve these qualifications there are different units made up of different criteria that has to be met. Some of it is knowledge based e.g. they might need to produce a written piece of work or you might give them a series of questions to answer either on paper or via a dictaphone. Then you have the observed elements, this is where you observe them in their work and evidence that you have seen them meeting the criteria in practice. This was either recorded on paper or on a dictaphone.
    I was expected to see 16 learners in their workplace a week. A typical day would be
    9am-Meet the first learner in their workplace, catch 5-10 minutes with them (depends on how long the employer will allow them off the floor!) review any written work they have completed, provide them with further work to be doing. Then observe them in practise and match this against the criteria needed to gain the relevant evidence. Complete a learner meeting sheet where I had to write what the learner had done since our last meeting, what had been covered today and how they were moving forward. The learner had to also comment, as did the employer.
    11am/1pm/3pm-Seeing three more learners and doing similar as above. I had to deliver key skills e.g. numeracy and literacy too so had to sometimes invigilate these tests or support learners with portfolios for these.
    Obviously in between each visit there was the travelling between locations, I covered a 60 mile radius so sometimes I had a lot of travelling to do.
    I used to get my 16 visits done over 4 days. Then the 5th day I would use for the admin side. This part is a nightmare and involves scanning all the paperwork and uploading and allocating it correctly to an online system. This can take some time, you also have to check through written work etc. You have to keep on top of your diary to ensure your week is full, this means lots of phoning sometimes and you get lots of learners cancel last minute. Some people spread all their visits over 5 days and leave time at the end of each day for admin. I think this might have been better in hindsight.
    There is a lot of pressure to get learners completed on their qualifications. They have a set time to be completed and if you have to deliver key skills, these need to be done by a certain time. Some learners are a nightmare to get an appointment with and it can be hard getting them complete and you will have pressure from above to rectify this. You can also have difficult employers who are uncooperative.
    On the plus sides there is the freedom to manage your own diary, I always felt independent and liked the freedom to be out and about rather than stuck in an office and there was lots of variety. I don't mind the travelling in the summer but in the winter it is a pain.
    There typically is a high turnover of assessors as it is quite stressful due to the pressure to get an often very large caseload of learners completed on time. I personally did not find it very stressful because after teaching I found it a breeze! But my non teaching colleagues were often in tears.
    Hope that answers your questions but please ask anything else you want to know. I really regret leaving my assessing job. I was only on 18k and got 20 days hol a year but I never dreaded getting up on the morning and I loved that I had a lot of flexibility over how I worked my day. It is also lovely working with adults who are on the whole are keen to get a qualification. I am even going to beg my old company to take me back (not hopeful as I left them for my teaching job!!)
  4. Pugwash

    Pugwash New commenter

    Hi Georgea
    Thanks for all this info - very helpful. I'm a wee bit worried in that I haven't leearned to drive! I could do CBT training to ride a moped/scooter with a provisional - Do you think I could do the job via moped/scooter? I get around mostly on bicycle and at the moment bike and train as I work 40 miles away from home. I'm beginning to feel at a disadvantage now that I don't drive.......I'd be happy to ride a motorbike ...as long as it goes faster than my bicycle as I've many a time overtaken a learner moped driver......frustating or wot?
    This job does sound very appealing although 20 days holiday doesn't. That's what I've had for 2 years and I've suffered somewhat.........especially coming from supply teaching - which I loved - but it wasn't a career. Maybe the 'supply' job based at a college will give me more freedom although I'd like to make a career of it - I've had enough of fannying around - too old for that now!
    Thanks again for your reply. I'll let yoiu know the outcome - if I get an interview.

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