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Computer Science or Chemistry?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by uu15926, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. uu15926

    uu15926 New commenter

    I'm applying for teacher training starting in Sept, and was wondering whether there is any strong case for specialising in teaching either computer science or chemistry.

    I have a 2:2 BSc in Chemistry (UEA, 1982) and a Masters in Computer Science (Manchester, 1983). I've spent the last 20 years programming and making website, but also love science, having completed a CertHE in Astronomy in 2012. I'm certainly more comfortable with computers, and am sure the SKE's will bring me up to speed.

    Both subjects seem to be recruiting in equal measures, but will one give me much better teaching prospects?
  2. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    Both subjects are in huge demand in schools. What is missing from what you say is about your motivation, enthusiasm for the students' learning as a result. If your subject knowledge for teaching is as good as your passion for subject knowledge for pedagogy - you will be a great asset whatever you teach.

    Only you could make the choice as to:
    • Which subject would you prefer to teach
    • What do you mean by "teaching prospects" - is this a permanent job (in which case you have a great chance because of both being shortage subjects) or your ambition to become a head of department or leading in an academic/pastoral context?
    Reflect also upon the kind of school you would like to work in - e.g. independent Vs state, comprehensive Vs selective, urban Vs suburban that applies to your skill set and experience. Your first potential job is integral to set the tempo for your career.
    uu15926 likes this.
  3. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    The actual demand for each subject will vary across the country and from year to year, In my part of the UK (South West England) there is a genuine shortage of computer science teachers and has been for a while. There is a need for chemistry teachers but it is not as great, but that could change if more potential teachers decide to specialise in computing.

    The simple answer is choose whichever you prefer, there will be posts available for both subjects in the future. Once you have qualified you could teach either anyway.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  4. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I'd suggest going the science route if you are mulling both over and then on your placements speaking with the schools about getting some observations/lessons in computer science under your belt. Science is a practical subject and it might be better to get trained in that as they'll cover the H&S stuff you'll need.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sheeesh neither...both are really hard!
    Chemistry gives you a chance to WOW the kids on a regular basis, so making the lessons more fun. And it is vaguely understandable and useful, so I'd choose that. (I did crappy integrated science at GCSE. A Level chemistry was fab, degree level organic chemistry deadly dull.)

    But for a far more enjoyable experience, come down to primary teaching. In a prep school you could still wow kids with chemistry or computer science. (I've wowed year 3 just by making text spin on a powerpoint!!!)

    Naaaa I am pleased there are people daft enough to want to teach secondary, but I saw the light after two years and moved down, down, down... :confused:

    Good luck whatever you choose. You'll have a great time.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  6. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Decades ago, I did exactly that.
    Moony likes this.
  7. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I did similar, my degree in in geology so I could have taken the geography route, however I see myself as a scientist not a colouring-in-ist ;)
  8. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    As @les25paul says, the demand for chemistry and computer science teachers varies across the country. From experience, I know that there is no demand for chemistry teachers in London, (unless you are prepared to do so on a voluntary basis), so perhaps computer science would be a better bet.
  9. hareonskis

    hareonskis New commenter

    This might be obvious but bear in mind the very different character of your day in the two subjects: in computing, children will spend a lot of their day seated and facing away from you. In a chemistry lab there can be a lot of movement, noise, fire and mess. Both situations have their benefits, but maybe it's easier to picture yourself in one than the other.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Many schools are dropping computer science courses at the moment.

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