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Choosing time: Should I become a teacher in the UK?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by shanewhitejackbauer, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. shanewhitejackbauer

    shanewhitejackbauer New commenter

    Dear Tes

    I am a 33 year old Irish PhD graduate in Physics, living in the Netherlands and uninterested in doing research anymore. I have been in and out of work for 4 years since my graduation. I have been considering teaching in England since I graduated in 2015. I have applied 4 times for teaching and each time I either turned down the offer or I got on the HR lady's nerves so badly, they "lost" my application. I might have indirectly called them "incompetent" for screwing up my interview date AFTER I bought all the non-refundable tickets to go there but I digress.
    I am a volunteer teacher in a local school here in the NL so I have some experience in teaching and I enjoy it. For whatever reason, I find myself unable to "pull the trigger" on moving to do a school-direct/Teaching course in the UK. The closing date for the 2019 applications is coming up and I am once again paralyzed about what to do. Teaching in NL is not a option as a) I do not speak languages good enough to teach in Dutch and I have tried very hard to do so. b) International schools are full of exiled UK teachers with more experience than me and usually they demand qualifications I don't have. c) Universities don't hire dedicated lecturers here so that approach is out.

    I have a number of reasons/negative beliefs for holding back on moving to the UK
    1) Brexit; (not an issue for me legally, but it leads into point 2)
    2) I won't like English culture as I don't like Irish culture and moving there would be a major step back.
    3) Teaching is a job that becomes increasing difficult, year on year due to dwindling teacher recruits. I have read too many horror stories in the Guardian about teachers driven to mental-health issues or driven out of the profession entirely.
    4) The children are unruly, the parents are not so nice (Moderator blanked out my original word), your colleagues are apathetic and you will likely end up bullied by one of them
    5) The teaching culture is results-driven and you will live in eternal fear of the Ofsted inspector.
    6) I'll have to wear a suit and tie
    7) I have sincere doubts about my ability to withstand all of the above without snapping and taking it out on the kids.

    I just needed to write all that down in a place where people would understand it.
  2. shanewhitejackbauer

    shanewhitejackbauer New commenter

    8) I am required to do a Skills test to prove I could read, write and count BEFORE i can become a teacher. As I live in the NL, I need to travel for 8 hours to a center to complete this. This is the straw that broke the camels back on last years application.

    I also have a few reasons for wanting to go there
    1) I like kids and I like teaching and i don't think I would be content doing anything else
    2) I aint getting any younger and I need to get my life pointed in some direction
    3) Call-center work is not so pleasant.
    4) Kids make for better company than most of the people I previously worked with.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    As I say to any prospective teacher, get some school experience before you commit yourself. I would contact some schools or perhaps MATs (Multi academy trusts) and ask if you can set up a few days or a week's school observation and experience. Get some first hand experience of the day to day realities of teaching in schools. Watch the lessons but also talk to the staff about their take on teaching as a career. You could also approach some independent schools. Don't believe the glossy, shiny spin put on teaching by the British government teacher recruitment ads - most teachers laugh at them.

    All that you describe about the negative aspects of teaching are true to some extent but there are many teachers who love the job. But, teaching is a challenging career these days so best make sure you know what you are letting yourself in before finally committing yourself.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Why not go back and train in Ireland they head off abroad once qualified.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. shanewhitejackbauer

    shanewhitejackbauer New commenter

    Programmes in Ireland are unpaid. I do not have the finances to pay for the course AND support myself for two years in full-time education.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Yes, so teaching is quite a large commitment and also a time of conformity. It will be short term pain for long term gain. I think you sound like you’d be a good fit for the international community. You can get the PGCE and QTS in England to achieve this and it does give you a better head start. There are other international routes but they don’t give you as much solidity as the English training and qualifications do.
    Your 'sense' of teaching in the UK is not very accurate. Each school and indeed MATs now is/are very unique. There are some proper horror shows in the system and you do need to avoid them. There are some utter joys to work in and you’d like two of them please. Don’t conflate the opposing sides and think they are all like that. Your job will be in selecting the right provider with a good range of partner schools.
  7. observer1

    observer1 New commenter

    Teaching in the UK isn't great at the moment.
    Class sizes have increased and Budget reductions are untenable.... And it's only getting worse.

    I'm not sure what teaching in the NL is like, but it's pretty toxic at the moment.

    Ultimately it's up to you, you have relevant experience and skills.... however if anyone asks me personally, i'll only recommend if they are prepared to live abroad where it is a better experience - (Obviously a Life changing step if you have family).
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    My advice would be to send one of those silly TES "Conversation" things to a crazy old hippopotamus. Having taught in the UK, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE, Qatar, China and now China, I really do not much about international schools, but you could still contact me anyway.
  9. BTBAM85

    BTBAM85 New commenter

    Don't even dream of leaving the Netherlands for the UK. Don't you dare!!
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  10. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    A research PhD whiz only looking at half the evidence hummmm?

    Go and do some volunteering, learn about British culture and history, and stop making excuses not to try!
  11. shanewhitejackbauer

    shanewhitejackbauer New commenter

    I know enough about British Culture and unfortunately I dont have the financial resources to volunteer and support myself in Britain. If you have trouble understanding why, have a look at the cost of a season ticket for british rail.

    Part of being a scientist is looking at half the evidence and making a decision based on it because you will never get all the evidence. On this forum, the evidence is pointing towards teaching in the UK being a terrible idea in the current climate.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter

    I see. The thing is though, if you want something bad enough you will get it. I am fortunate enough to not need rail travel, I don’t like travelling on trains following an attack when I was 16.

    As for teaching, yes there are a lot of negatives about it but I am determined to go through with my dream of becoming a teacher and no one could ever put me off that. Where does your dream really want to take you?
  13. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    There is no age limit for teaching. You can become a teacher at any age, even after you retire
  14. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    Teaching in the UK is horrible.

    Go overseas to find yourself and enjoy your teaching career.
    pepper5 likes this.

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