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Disheartened prospective teacher :(

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Laur3nTeach, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Just want to see if anyone else out there is getting that sinking feeling when applying for 2012 places?
    Applied for 2 GTP places and was refused on 1 with no real explanation. The second one, I received an email in November saying that they had received a lot of applications and they may or may not even look at my application! I felt this was very unfair - especially considering on their open day in October I was told that they probably wouldn't "shut their books" until March and they'd only had 5 applications up until then!
    I was really hoping to get a Secondary English GTP place as I have a Mortgage to pay, but this no longer appears to be an option - especially following the TDA's email today saying how busy GTP applications were and to look at alternative options...
    I've therefore submitted 2 Secondary English PGCE applications and have received my Track ID today, so fingers crossed!
    In a nutshell, I've got a 2:2 degree, am currently employed in a large Law Firm and have 4 weeks experience as a Cover Supervisor in several Secondary Schools, so I don't quite know what's so wrong with my applications? My personal statement covered all the usual bases such as my passion and enthusiasm for teaching, the general skills I could bring in ICT, Admin, team work etc as well as my experiences as an RAF cadet and active Marie Curie Volunteer duties, so I'm well rounded and busy person! I'm 28, in a long term relationship, fully CRB checked for the last 6 years and with a clean driving licence so as far as I can see, I'm ticking all the "personality" boxes.
    I'm in that awful position where someone just has to look at my potential and give me the chance to prove myself! I was struggling with references a little as my current, corporate, employer would only offer a 2 line confirmation of my dates and position and my Cover Supervisor work was done via an agency and non of my 30 or so lessons was really observed. Luckily, I managed to ask a friend of mine who's a Secondary Head of Department and she's stepped up to help. I have a couple of other people who could assist (eg my manager at my part time Bar job that I've held for 9+ years or the class teacher at the Primary School I attend on Right to Read)
    I'm going to try and take some holiday days off work to get back into the classroom and I'm regularly on here and have a TES subscription. I'm also doing a BTEC Level 2 Teaching Assistant course (luckily I have a 2 hour a day commute to fill!)
    I'm really at the end of my tether and sick of getting "no's" without any real reasoning behind it. It's dragging me down as I've been trying to get out of Law for about a year and every day is beginning to grate me more and more :eek:( I'm ready and raring to go and start my new life, but nothing seems to be working!!
    Any suggestions on where I may be going wrong and any pointers for trying to put it right?!


     
  2. Dont give up. It will happen. Their is still time. Their is extra and after that possibly clearing.

    I do know how you feel, i was unsucessful in my two primary applications to canterbury and to greenwich. So now im being brave and applying to cambridge and goldsmith. With primary you can only pick two and then wait and wait..........

    So relax have a coffee. Your doing everything you can. It will happen. Have you considered OU courses also? they do secondary pgce
     
  3. Hey Laur3nTeach,
    Firstly, well done for doing all that you are alongside a full time job. Clearly that shows passion, enthusiasm and a thirst to become a teacher :) It is really horrible and very confidence numbing when rejections arrive, especially when no real explanation has been offered. Do not give up! The GTP is always over subscribed purely on the basis because of the salary it provides.
    There are alternative routes into teaching which may not be your preferred route. PGCE's can be done part time, which allow you to continue working alongside studying. Would this be more helpful for you if you have a mortgage? Alternatively as the above poster mentioned the Open University offers PGCE's via distance learning and you study and fit everything around your life as opposed to going to a university and having to fit your life around their timetable. Both are pretty flexible :) Are you applying for primary or secondary? The Open University course (I think) is only for secondary but universities offer the part time option across both.
    Consider these options as I believe they would be better than a year long PGCE course with significantly less income to live on. Best of luck whatever you decide to do and please keep us posted. It's horrible applying and then waiting but if you don't try you don't have that chance of getting a place :)
     
  4. Well, If I wasn't feeling particularly glum about my application, I certainly am now!
    However, thanks all for your words of encouragement - it is nice to know and is some comfort that others are in the same position!
    I understand your time constraints Bobdog, but when, on one hand the Government are crying out for teachers, they then cut us off by restricting degree classifications and offering no financial support. They say that they want to recruit the highest calibre of graduates to the profession, but I work in Law (where the same principle applies) and a lot of 2:1 and 1st graduates who have come straight from GCSE to A Level to Uni to work have the personality of a cheese sandwich! On the other hand, those with that oft-trotted phrase "life experience" are penalised for having it as their degrees are perhaps not the best and/or they can't get weeks and weeks of school experience due to full time work/family commitments.
    It just seems sometimes that you can't do anything quite right!
    Re: references, I graduated in 2004, so an academic reference will again prove not very helpful as several thousand students have passed through the doors since and I know that several of my lecturers have moved on. Do you think it would be useful to perhaps contact the Unis I have applied to and confirm that I have several other referees I could call upon if needed, rather than my application simply be "binned" as the ones I have provided (my friend & secondary teacher and my Bar Staff employer) are not deemed good enough.
    I really just don't want my application to be binned outright as I haven't ticked one box somewhere, where if they asked me, I could fill in any gaps or provide the information they need as there's simply not enough room on the forms to fit everything in and explain everything I need/want to!
     
  5. Mmmm ... it's debatable whether the government are "crying out for teachers" with the exception of good Maths/Physics graduates. In most subject areas the number of applicants for a place on PGCE vastly exceeds the number of available places (which is a significant part of why you're having trouble). Work/life experience is highly valued - the average age of recruits to my PGCE course is over 30 - but again there are lots of people with that experience, and a 2:1. Doesn't matter if your uni tutors have moved on, your uni registry will hold a reference on file for you. What I want from an academic reference is some indication of your academic ability. The academic work on PGCE is assessed at Masters degree level - I want to know if you can cope with that. Such a reference is even more important if you have a 2:2; I'm prepared to accept that if you have a 2:1 you've proved already the academic ability. If you have a 2:2 I want to know if you nearly got a 2:1 (and perhaps had some modules passed at that level) in which case I might consider you (in the light of your experience) or if you just managed to scrape a 2:2 and were lucky not to have been awarded a 3rd. There's never enough space ... but that goes for all the others too ... but admissions tutors can see from what is there whether you have what they're looking for. But remember, you're one of hundreds with just as much experience applying. You need to make your application jump off the page, be different rather than ordinary. I'm not trying to put you off - I don't know you, you might be brilliant - but you need to think very carefully about ow to sell yourself.
     
  6. Goat2

    Goat2 New commenter

    Sadly Bobdog is correct. Gove -who is the most driven,tunnel visioned Sec Ed I've worked under in 30 odd years does not wan tlarge numbers of teachers, he wants teachers with high degrees.
    So even if you have a 2.2 and apply for a Biology PGCE, no Bursary!! If you have a first and decided to apply for a science PGCE no bursary! Even then our numbers have dropped from some 15 -20 to around 10, even in the shortage subjects in the last three years.
    As for personal statement exactly what is it you have gained from being a cover supervisor? What learning did you see ( that;s not teaching but learning!) and how was it supported by the teacher or the work. What acted as a barrier to the sudents learning, their level of literacy? the poor quality of the resources, their antipathy to something not relevant to their immediate lives ( remember as society we tell teenagers all they need now is to try being a celeb via X factor!!) Then having seen why they do not learn what can you do to inspire them!
     
  7. I understand the need for wanting high calibre teachers, as in any employment - why would you not hire the best, but a First Class degree does not necessarily make you good at your job, whatever that may be. Trust me, I've seen First Class graduates with no personality and no handle on how to do their job day-to-day and I think the same goes for teachers.
    Anyone can have the necessary skills to retain a chunk of information and then just "blurt" it out in an exam, but then totally lack the necessary skills to put what they've learnt into practice. It's a simple skill called memory..... It does not make you good at your job, be a problem solver, be empathetic, considerate, caring or able to teach what you know to others. Just because I don't have a First Class degree could mean all sorts - I hold my hands up to the fact that I'm not great in exams, never have been, but that does not make me a bad student. I was also quite ill during my time at Uni and missed a lot of lectures, but I think coming out with a 2:2 is not bad considering, but it will now haunt me and, if I come up against someone who does not deem a 2:2 or below good enough for anything, then I am fighting a losing battle along with a HUGE amount of students.
    The bursary i'm not too worried about - If you want to do something badly enough, you'll find a way to make it work in my book, whether that means taking on a part time job (I currently have a full time and a part time job) or taking out a loan.
    As for the personal statement - you have just 47 lines to include everything that all posters on here have mentioned as well as all over the internet as to what constitutes a "stand out/sell yourself" statement - your classroom/non classroom experiences, what you learnt, what you liked/disliked, the skills you used/gained, what your responsibilites were, whether you gained SEN experience, behaviour management experience, what learning you observed, what subjects you taught/covered, inside leg measurement, favourite food....the list is too long and the form too short for someone who's simply not done GCSE-A Level-Degree, only ever had 1 bar/shop job and a week's experience in a primary school. For those of us who have survived 2 redundancies, got a mortgage, worked since we were 16 doing all sorts of jobs, graduated 8 years ago and had to fit in as much classroom experience as we can around a full time job, 47 lines is simply not enough.
    I have emailed the Lecturer with whom I was speaking at an Open Evening mentioning that I have several other references available, so my application is simply not "binned" as Bobdog would have done (on that subject (not just Bobdog, but Unis I have applied to) I find the notion of simply not having the time to look at your application inconsiderate - all providers know these applications are coming, yet simply work on a "first come first served" basis. I know if I binned all the work I didn't get through by the end of each day, I wouldn't have a job for very long!)
    How do providers know that the next applicant on the pile is not the BEST applicant they've ever had, but unfortunately, as their application never saw the light of day, they'll never know and that applicant goes away feeling rejected and may have to continue doing a job they despise for at least another year?
    I'm just finding it all very frustrating - being told that my application may or may not even get looked at due to numbers, or that because I have a 2:2 degree someone somewhere will not even deem it worthy of their time and bin it outright, or because my referee (of which there is only room to put them down, not explain that you have others) is not the best or an academic referee, or that because you have "life experience", work full time and have a mortgage you are deemed to have not tried "hard enough" to take weeks and weeks off work to volunteer/work in schools and that you obviously (according to a tick sheet somewhere) do not want to teach that much.
    Luckily, I am a fighter, not a quitter and I will keep trying. I will keep applying, trying to tick all those little boxes so that my applications are actually read by someone and are not ignored. I know that a lot of people will be put off by one "no" or being told that the provider simply hasn't got around to looking at your application before it has filled all its places, and I take this as a positive sign that this will perhaps weed out applicants who put in a speculative application or whose heart simply is not in teaching and that I will rise into the "actually read it" category. I have honestly seen posters in the Forums who say that they are applying for GTP/PGCE with NO classroom experience whatsoever, just to see whether they are given a place or not. I just hope that these people are not ahead of me in the pile and get considered before I simply get binned for being next on the list :)
    Rant.Over.
     
  8. I totally agree Laur3nteach,
    I am a prime example in some ways. I am still doing my degree currently, but I got ok (ish) GCSE's. Got all A-C grades minus a D in Maths, which I took during the second year of my degree and managed to get a C. I got AWFUL A Levels (CCD) and I am now on the way to getting a 2:1 in my degree. Even though I am pretty much certain of getting a 2:1, I have not been an academic highflyer beforehand. So yeah I agree, just because you don't get fantastic grade DOESNT mean you will be rubbish as a teacher/any career you want to apply for. Many people I went to sixth form with have now completed their degrees (I took a gap year), got AMAZING grades at A Level and an awesome degree, but they are now still sitting in their supermarket jobs. You have to be determined and like you say, a fighter to be a teacher. It's not about academic skill, it is horrible that you have to have a 2:1 or up to even be considered now.
    The experience is a major help - I wish I could do more but being in the final year of my degree its mega hard! Just keep plugging yourself with the fantastic experience you've got and I'm sure you'll get there!
     
  9. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    Unfortunately (well, fortunately for me), I would appear to be evidence of Universities taking on students because of their degree classification.


    I have a First Class Degree and MA in my subject area, and got accepted to my first choice for a PGCE. I was working in a non-education job whilst doing MA, so have no formal school experience other than 10 days of observations. Most people on my course have got a lot of school experience, and I can't help but wonder how I got accepted on to the course in comparison to their experience. Perhaps my degree classification explains it?
     
  10. Def not jaimie!
    It may also be how well you came across in the interview :) You may show great skills and determination to be a teacher! But yes, the degree may have helped too :p
     
  11. I'd like to just add that although a 2.2 doesn't mean you won't be a good teacher, I argue with what you say in relation to it being a simple memory game. I have a first class degree and sat only 1 exam throughout my degree, the rest was for essay which took a lot of work, and overall demonstrated my grasp of my subject. The justification is that those who have a 2.1-1.1 show that they are capable of going onto postgraduate study (as lets not forget that this is what the pgce is and ultimately would be the same as applying for an MA). In that respect, Gove is saying that teachers need to have a firm understanding of what they are teaching, and the way he is choosing to test that is via degree levels, which to obtain the best results you need to demonstrate this.

    Jaime, don't just think you've been selected for your grade, I was rejected last year for the pgce and I was pretty much guarenteed a first, it comes down to how to portray yourself, that you show the correct qualities of being a teacher and even though you only have 10 days experience, you obviously could reflect on the teaching and learning that you've seen and could reflect on this practice. Rather than trying to put yourself down, be happy you have a place - as you can see many people have been unsuccessful!
     
  12. And please don't take this as I think you have no chance as this is not the case. I would urge you to continue fighting for it! Have you thought about trying to do an MA to boost your credentials? Or working as a TA next year to boost your experience? There are many things you can do to make your application stand out that will illustrate you are more than just a 2.2, but you are perfect for the profession! I wish you the very best of luck, and remember there is always next year!!
     
  13. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    masamune1989, I am delighted to have a place - I just still can't believe it. My degree was essay based too, I think what got me my First was organisational skills as I had to work 30hours a week through my degree as I did not have any financial support from my family or partner - these skills have come in very useful on the PGCE.

    There are quite a few people on my course with Masters, some of whom used it to boost their degree as they feel that due to individual circumstances they did not achieve what they could have done at degree level. They said that in their application/interview they reflected on their strive for personal development, hence doing the MA. However, as an MA will cost upto £9000 next year that's pretty pricey!


    Can you do any voluntary youth work? There was a youth club near where I live with some quite challenging young people (Some were educated in PRUs following exclusion), I volunteered there for a year and reflected on that experience in my application. Although it was a different environment to school I learn a lot about child protection, ecm and general behaviour strategies - essential when dealing with high, drunk teenagers :I .
     
  14. Some of you do miss the point. I'm perfectly aware that just because somebody has a 2:1 or a first doesn't of itself mean they'll be a great teacher. But faced with a choice between two people with bucketloads of experience, with excellent personalities for teaching, one of whom has a 2:1 and one of whom has a 2:2, I'll take the 2:1. And 47 lines ism ore than enough. I'm not interested in everything you've ever done, I just want to know, clearly and succinctly, why you think you'd make a good teacher. One of the key skills in teaching is to make a clear, short sharp point in answer to a question. If you can't do that in your personal statement it actually calls into doubt your ability to teach.
     
  15. heras

    heras New commenter

    Just to clarify, MAs aren't affected by the fee rise. Universities have always been allowed to charge what they want for postgraduate study (excluding PGCEs).
     
  16. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    Just thought I'd add my 2 pence, for what its worth (nothing!). Ive come to the conclusion that nothing is easy now. In my parents' day you could leave school at 16 and stroll into a job easily. My mum said that you could leave a job on Friday and walk into another one on Monday. For our generation things are just far harder. Getting a foot in the door of any career or even job is just so difficult. You have to jump through so many hoops. It's so ironic that people would be paid to go to uni then be HEADHUNTED when they graduated, and now we pay through the nose and we're lucky to get a grad job!
     
  17. Thought I'd come back with a quick update to this thread....
    Have today had a refusal from Notingham Uni for a PGCE place for September [​IMG]. All now resting on Nottingham Trent. The only other Uni within striking distance is Sheffield Hallam, but I'd be in the same position as I am now, paying £240 a month on train travel whilst not even having the job I have now.
    If I get a "No" from Nottingham Trent that's it for ANOTHER year - it's so frustrating!
    Has anyone appraoched their rejecting Unis for feedback and was it useful? Nottingham are still showing as having vacancies on GTTR Track so it's not simply because they are full. It'd be nice to know what was lacking from my application so that I can do something about it! Obvioulsy my heartfelt email to the Lecturer that I met on the Open Evening didn't quite do the trick....
    Was nice to read the Editor's column in TESPro on Friday 10th who commented that "Some assume it is how a trainee performed at university, hence all the initiatices designed to lure graduates with top-class degress into teaching. But academic high flyers are not always the best in the classroom", following on with "And do not imagine for a second that the magic ingredient is a long-held desire to teach: at least one study has suggested those who drift into the job actually tend to do better than those who dreamed of standing in front of a class since childhood"
    Your Honour, I rest my case [​IMG]
     
  18. Hi Laurenteach,
    I am really sorry to hear that you got another rejection :( But don't put yourself down too much. You will get there eventually! I think some universities are different to others when selecting candidates, I really do. Like I got interviewed by UEA and wasnt successful, and got told after that its such a popular course. Then I applied for ARU and got a place, having no extra experience than I did for my first interview. The only thing I had extra for ARU was that I had researched into current educational issues a lot more (which I didnt get asked at UEA anyway). I think it's all about their 'league tables' and how good they look, which also links into what you were saying about degree classifications. UEA want 2:1s for their PGCE course whereas to get into ARU I only need to get a 2:2. It's all about how good they look sometimes, and I think maybe you're a victim of this. It's harsh but you have as much of a chance as someone with a 2:1 or a first of being a good teacher.
    I would request feedback if you can - UEA wouldnt give me any, but then again they showed "No Vacancies" just after I interviewed, so I always wonder if the course just got full and I just didnt quite cut the mustard. ARU have been brilliant - yes, they have offered me a place, but they have also sent me a feedback form which allows me to see where I havent been as good and where I have, so I have targets to meet which will help me reach my full potential during my course :)
    Once again, I am really sorry. I know it doesnt sound appealing right now - but taking a year out for more experience is never a waste and very beneficial.
    Def apply for Sheffield Hallam if worst comes to worst. I am currently in my final year of undergraduate and I commute 50 miles each way (100miles a day) and I manage it with my student loan/grant, and one day in my part time job. It can be done. If you want it that badly you won't mind being poor for a year I'm sure!
     
  19. sparkleshine

    sparkleshine New commenter

    Good point, Bobdog. I think people were just expressing their anger that when the previous generation received so many benefits, i.e. free university education, their houses inflating in value, plentiful jobs, etc, we all feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us and the costs are sitting squarely on our shoulders. I absolutely agree with you on the education thing - shifting the costs on to the individual has turned a social good into a private one, which is wholly wrong.
    I think the Tories were mostly voted for by a mixture of much older voters (i.e. well-off Home Counties pensioner types) and also young families who voted Tory as a kind of an aspirational thing. I wouldn't say it's the young people as a whole because as a rule, they didn't actually vote. Young people really need to start voting, particularly 18-25 year olds as they're being shafted so much partly due to this. Just my two cents.
     
  20. StarbabyCat

    StarbabyCat New commenter

    I turn 25 in three weeks and I've voted in 2 general elections now. And I've voted Tory twice. If there was an election tomorrow would I vote Conservative again? Probably. I really disagree with Gove but I can't stand Labour. Sorry.
     

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