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Demand for CS teachers

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by harlequin24, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. harlequin24

    harlequin24 New commenter

    I have a degree in Computer Science, although I studied 15 years ago. Since then I have been teaching humanities. I would be keen to switch to Computer Science, now that the focus has changed from ICT.

    I'd be grateful for some advice on the demand for CS teachers. I would need to refresh my programming skills, but would like to get some idea of the likelihood of finding work before committing the time and money.

    Many thanks.
  2. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    Demand for Computing teachers? In a word: high.
  3. Bateman8936

    Bateman8936 New commenter

    I'd agree with tjra. Demand is very high at the moment - particularly in certain areas. I work with our local training provider and know that at the moment we have not got enough trainees to cover posts in the county for next year. Feel free to contact me to discuss if you want some info.
  4. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    Are you sure ?


    As of today (Sat 16 Jan) in the TES jobs section there are 97 full time permanent secondary Computing/IT jobs in England (7 in Scotland)
    Over half of these (52) are in London and the the South East

    In you are flexible about where you can work, what sort of school/area etc you should be able to find a job reasonably readily.. If not ,you really need to do some more digging in your local area - how many schools teach CS; where do they advertise vacancies - TES has many but by no means all; etc .Before you commit to a new career path.
  5. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    An agency phoned me up the other day and asked whether I knew anyone who could teach Computing and wanted a job. They said that they were struggling to find people, I said that I wasn't aware of another Computer Science graduate teaching in the county.
    wanet likes this.
  6. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    The O/P will have zero problems getting a job, almost wherever they are based. Just write to schools directly and apply for jobs via the Guardian, local paper etc. I sometimes think schools have given up advertising for these posts as they cost so much to advertise and the chances of recruitment are small. As said above, there are so few real Computer Science graduates about, I'd not worry about yours being done 15 years ago. Just brush up on the National Curriculum topics, Python, Scratch and BASIC and you will be good to go in 90% of schools. My advice would be to know your worth; pick only the schools you'd like to work in and expect top dollar and ask for a recruitment fee. Schools need you a lot more than you need them but want to pay you as little as possible, with promises of jam tomorrow. You'll be lucky to get more than 10% a year for the foreseeable so go in being a bit cheeky with your salary request and don't accept any rubbish about your lack of experience. Start looking now so you can say 'No' if the package isn't right and still have plenty of time to find the right job. Don't rush.

    You might make life easier by going for grammar schools or independent schools. Personally, I've had enough of teaching Computer Science in this country though. The kids behaviour in my sink school is bad and very draining, and trying to teach Computer Science to mixed ability classes, where a third can't listen, follow simple instructions on a worksheet or sit in there chairs and get on with a simple job. Add to that unrealistic tracking data that is anything but fit for purpose, constant reports being needed, strategies being implemented and generally bo llox that you can see why so many teachers are voting with their feet. You probably know all of this if you have taught Humanities for the last 15 years. But hey, am I bovvered? I just got a job in China!! Rock on. Resignation was put in yesterday, I'm off at Easter for a long break then August in the Far East. Rockin'!!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  7. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    That should of course be a pay rise of 1% a year for the foreseeable ....
  8. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    LOL! There are a few but not many, and certainly nowhere near the numbers to meet demand. As a supply teacher, I love this situation and welcome and praise incompetent Governments for their poor planning and organisation skills. Long may they rule. I guess pupils will be muddled along by hastily struggling but well-meaning ICT teachers for many many years to come, and will be dazed and confused as a result.
  9. badpower

    badpower Occasional commenter

    I am a Computer Science specialist based in the North West near two large cities and many medium sized towns. there are very few jobs advertised :(
  10. harlequin24

    harlequin24 New commenter

    Many thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post. It seems an encouraging situation for one in my position. I am currently Head of RE, so understand the difficulties faced by schools in recruiting good subject teachers. (RE teachers are also in short supply). I think I'll chance my arm and begin applying. It will be great to shed the burden of management responsibilities.
  11. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Fifteen years is nothing - apart from getting smaller and faster, computers are largely the same as they were in the 1940s, and the current A level is very similar to the O level I did in the 80s.
  12. TonyGT

    TonyGT Established commenter

    I would think very carefully about which schools you want to target rather than just going for anything. I can't think of many worse things than teaching programming in mixed ability classes in a 'disadvantaged' school. You might end up back on the RE boards in a month's time asking the reverse question.
  13. johnblack

    johnblack New commenter

    I can't think of many worse things than teaching programming in mixed ability classes in a 'disadvantaged' school.

    TonyGT - This might be your opinion but if you can teach computer science in a disadvantaged school I'd say you could teach almost anything anywhere.

    I couldn't imagine anything worse than being in a staff room with a teacher who thinks its below them to teach the "great unwashed!".

    I have interviewed several teachers over the last few years frequently we have had 1-2 applicants per post and not all of those have been able to code their way out of a wet paper bag.
  14. pixiewixiepixie

    pixiewixiepixie Occasional commenter

    "I can't think of many worse things than teaching programming in mixed ability classes in a 'disadvantaged' school. "

    I have to agree - very difficult to do and I don't think I've ever been successful. The ability range is just too wide and the behaviour of the bottom three or four students takes up 60% of the lesson time. I was never able to teach and support the ones who were teachable. In my main subject (Maths) I've nearly always taught streamed classes - so much easier!
  15. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    If I were you - and you wanted to go ahead with this - I'd get on the books of some supply agencies and market yourself as a Computing teacher (not difficult if your degree is Computer Science). You'll probably find plenty of jobs. Twinklefoottoe seems to post in every other thread about how successful he/she is at finding them and I've never known anyone on the Internet to exaggerate!

    Realistically speaking you shouldn't need to get any formal qualifications to teach the subject - arguably you're in a much better position than the scores of ICT/Business specialists trying to learn the subject. If you're looking at what to learn, have a look at the specifications for a few exam boards (I'd recommend Edexcel) and play around with programs like Python. Computing At Schools (CAS) has lots of resources and advice too.
  16. TonyGT

    TonyGT Established commenter

    Yes in an ideal world it would all be 'Dangerous Minds' and we'd learn to connect with the kids and reach out to them personally and socially and turn them in to valued members of society.

    In the real world you're more likely to have over half of your VERY mixed ability class who couldn't care less about programming and attendance issues which add to the poor results which you then have to explain to the head. Most of your time will be spent dealing with behaviour issues as a result.

    I've worked in more than a couple of disadvantaged schools in the past. It's certainly not only a few select teachers who struggle and end up losing their minds over the pressures. Remember, this isn't History where they can cobble together something resembling a paragraph if they've missed most of the year due to being on an internal exclusion program - it's Computer Science where not a single part of their program will run if they make a single syntax error.

    I'd agree that if you can teach Computer Science in a disadvantaged school you can teach anywhere. However, I'm yet to see any outstanding Computer Science results from disadvantaged schools. Maybe you can point me towards some.
  17. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    Didn't think I'd get to say it but thank god for progress 8 and the lessening of coursework in the overall scheme of things - both of which would take the pressure off (a bit).
    For Progress 8 you only need to aim at expected attainment - not go all Michelle Pfifer and create a bunch of A* students.
    And with only 20% coursework in place, the actual coding isn't as important to the overall grade, and you can still get them to gain marks as you're getting them to 'cobble together a bit' about the investigation section (flowcharts, test plans, evaluations), stuff they can write down.
    And I've never understand this 'oh the kids are difficult' argument. They are KIDS! They are only 'difficult' if you let them be. It's not like we teaching English of Maths for heaven's sake where ALL the pressure is. Most of the 'difficult' kids pick computing / computer science because they like playing games or being on the computer (and the rights and wrongs of that is another matter). Surely then, you tailor your teaching to the class to get them and keep them engaged. Even if that means screen shots of Call of Duty, or linking databases to hacking (i.e. (used in my old school) "All hackers have an excellent understanding of the problems with databases, what do you think they are?" to someone who only just has the intelligence to know which program the database was, but assured us he was going to be the world's greatest hacker. Did the job though!).
    There are plenty of options out there for you to take up, some easy, some more challenging. They are all equally valid, but please don't right off one set of kids just because some people want an easier life.
  18. TonyGT

    TonyGT Established commenter

    I think you must have led somewhat of a privileged teaching existence if you think that's true. Go and work in one of the most deprived areas of the country with massive social problems and come back and tell me that 'they are only difficult if you let them be'.
    spam66 likes this.
  19. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    Tony, I've only ever worked in deprived areas. I've never had a 'privileged' existence as a teacher, having only worked in areas of genuine deprivation and of huge social (& antisocial) issues. And what they say is true; 1. if you have a love of the subject you teach, that does come across to the kids, who might engage because of it, 2. if you don't take yourself TOO seriously, that will come across to the kids, who might start to respect and like you, 3. if you differentiate the work, it shows the kids you are thinking about them as individuals and not as a class 'lump', and they may work to complete the work and push themselves further, and 4. if you've done the above, you can set out your stall about what is and is not acceptable behaviour in your class, and 9 times out of 10 they will do what you ask.

    There will always be problem kids in a class. And I'm not saying I don't sometimes have issues, lord above knows there are days that I wish public flogging was a school sanction. However, these kids generally try and rope in the others to misbehave, as they are the ones that need to be liked by their friends and so goof up to try and show off to them. I find that playing the 'you might not want to learn, but what gives you the right to stop so-and-so from learning and getting what he wants in life' card, in that exasperated voice will encourage the rest of the class not to take part in matey's fun and games and gets him quiet (for a bit).

    I have seen kids, who are little horrors everywhere else in the schools I've worked in, be like lambs and in fact over-achieve in our classes, getting the best marks on their reports in our subjects. This then self-perpetuates the cycle of wanting to do really well in ICT / Computing / Business. Likewise, I've seen teachers who don't follow the 4 principles above have real problems. It doesn't help that they may not turn up to class before the kids, or may not follow through with school sanctions, but at the heart of it is the problem that they don't show the kids they care about them. Crack that nut, and they'll do anything for you, even work :)!
    johnblack likes this.
  20. pixiewixiepixie

    pixiewixiepixie Occasional commenter

    "I think you must have led somewhat of a privileged teaching existence if you think that's true. Go and work in one of the most deprived areas of the country with massive social problems and come back and tell me that 'they are only difficult if you let them be'."

    Totally agree. Computer Science and mixed ability just don't work. I have been observing some Computer Science lessons recently in preparation for me taking over for a maternity leave, and it is not something I'm looking forward to. Half the kids are just not interested and have major disruption and behaviour problems, the other half are keen to learn.

    Could the great teachers here tell me / help me understand how to teach that - the current teacher is so glad to be going! Love the advice above by the way! Not realistic, but love it anyway.

    The only time I have got on top of things was Year 7, where most (but not all) are still keen and will do as they are told, sometimes.

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