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Do They Really Want New Teachers?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by FishermanNeil, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. I write as the father of a 35 year old daughter who wants to change career and become a teacher. From what little I know new teachers are wanted, a BBC news story in August 2018 highlighted the issue. Offers of a salary while training would seem to indicate that those wishing to transfer their skills learned in other workplaces to the classroom are in demand. I would have thought that the education establishment and profession would welcome those wishing to join them.

    As you may guess from the fact I am saying the above my daughter has been rejected for training because “she lacks sufficient knowledge of the National Curriculum”. Perhaps I fail to grasp the idea of training (The Cambridge dictionary defines training as “The process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity.”).

    Well, knock me down with a feather! Really, someone who has not trained or worked as a teacher doesn't have enough knowledge of the job. In other words my daughter does not have the training to commence training. I am minded to press a certain button found on the TV show The Last Leg.

    Perhaps I should add some background. My daughter gained a 2.1 degree in Chemistry at Loughborough. Upon leaving university she felt that she was not mature enough to go straight into teaching, a profession my wife and I felt she was born to do. Instead she got a job in order to start earning and paying her way. She has stayed in that job since gaining promotion to supervisor status fairly rapidly. It is only the lack of opportunity that has seen her not progress further. Of course the inevitable happened – marriage and a family. So her aspirations to be a teacher were put on hold until she felt secure enough to make the switch. That time has come.

    My daughter is the main wage earner in her household. Therefore the option of doing voluntary or low paid work in a school in order to gain the requisite pre-training training is not feasible.

    It may also add some weight to my belief that she can teach if I mention that her first child, now age 8, was able to read at year two level early in her first year at school (year 0?). The school had to buy in books in order to stretch her reading. I am told that in that first year in some classes she could be found reading to a group of her classmates as if a teacher herself. I am sure my daughter must have had some part to play in my granddaughter's reading ability being so advanced.

    What does it take therefore to be accepted for training? Does the education establishment actually want new teachers. Or is it a closed profession that does not like to admit outsiders. I suspect the latter, but then I am a cynical, grumpy old pensioner.
  2. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    No, not really, the government and schools do not want teachers. Once they have them they don't look after them because, like buses, there will be another one along soon.
    Did your daughter go in to school to help other children read? This will count as some experience. Likewise, many people join the Scouts/Brownies/Guides in order to gain experience with young people. Where there is a will there will be a way of gaining the required experience.
    Well done for having such an advanced grandchild with a lot of support at home. This doesn't really prepare your daughter for teaching children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with learning difficulties. Some children are still in nappies at the end of year 1!!
    Surely it is fairly easy to swot up on the demands of the National Curriculum. I know my bit, of my subject, upside down and inside out. Again, she should know the NC up to 8 year olds quite well. Does her daughter's school provide information to parents with regard to what their children are studying? Presumably, she knows the requirements of phonics testing and KS1 Sats. Your granddaughter is now in KS2 and her mother should have some knowledge of this. Which KS stage is she planning on teaching? Is she planning Primary or Secondary? Will she be a subject specialist?
    blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If you knew the turnover for NQTs you wouldn't think that. Half don't stay in teaching after 5 years. (https://www.theguardian.com/educati...-london-as-nearly-half-quit-within-five-years)

    As @saluki says, having done well with her own child is no indication that she'll do well as a teacher. Teaching is a brutal job, and not at all holistic like being a mother is (or should be). You are held accountable for the progress of your students, regardless of their life situations. The working hours can be brutal, and the marking. Some schools are toxic environments, where management only care about achieving Ofsted 'outstanding' by jumping through ridiculous hoops, rather than providing an actual education.

    Teaching is not just about your qualifications. You need to show that you understand something of the national curriculum - it's online (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum), plus she can look at GCSE and AS/A2 papers for various exam boards (I assume we're talking about secondary? If not then she needs to have an understanding of what she'd teach at primary). She also needs to show that she can build a rapport with students AND that she understands the reality of teaching (as in the time and pressure, the accountability, and so on) - this is why spending time in a school is useful, but again, as Saluki says, any experience with young people is beneficial. I really would recommend that she get in touch with some teachers though, in her subject/age phase, to understand the realities of teaching.
    oHelzo and pepper5 like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with saluki in that the Government does not look after the teachers they already have. The pay isn't that good compared to what the job entails. Class sizes are rising and in secondary schools classes are in some cases 32 in classes.

    Teaching whether it is in secondary or primary is a gruelling and underpaid job - teachers work over 50+ hours per week just to stay on top of what they are required to do.

    In some schools the behaviour in both secondary and primaries are challenging and creates a lot of stress for teachers.

    Your daughter should try to get some experience working in a school before she makes her decision.

    Many talented and gifted teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    exactly, and if she thinks that her daughters reading age counts in some way towards her teaching application, then she has a very unrealistic understanding bout what teaching is about.

    it is, and it would be expected before you apply.

    It would seem to me that your daughter is over confident, with no real understanding of what teaching is about - so I'm no surprised she was turned down.

    However, it is probably for the best, you say she has children, teaching is not compatible with family life.

    lucky escape!
    Shedman and pepper5 like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I agree it’s a bit nuts that you have to know the job as well as a professional to get in as a trainee. Especially as schools are desperate for science teachers. But then, recruitment and retention are as ****** up as every other aspect of this job so I’m not surprised. I think it’s been about five years since the depth of incompetence in the running of education stopped surprising me.

    I also agree that this profession is horrible and anyone failing to get in should be thanking their lucky stars. Your daughter sounds like a highly capable young lady and there are better job choices out there. Those of us who have done it for a while are stuck.
    Shedman and pepper5 like this.
  7. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    For what it's worth (and at risk of the wrath of those who can see no possibility of anyone finding satisfaction in a teaching career): some schools are ghastly places; some schools are wonderful places; most are somewhere in between. Different schools suit different people and for anyone going into the profession, that's one of the difficult parts. The environment can also change quickly if management changes.
    Is your daughter looking at school-based training or PGCE? With the former, I guess there's a bit more chance of knowing what the context will be like, given that you can visit the school and meet prospective colleagues. With a PGCE you essentially get placed in (several) schools - and the same variability I mentioned above applies. Whatever route, nothing can beat spending time in school in any role to get a flavour of what it's like.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    just reread the first post more carefully and saw this sentence.

    Outside what?

    i can't imagine or guess what this poster thinks his daughter is outside of?
  9. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    given the people who are accepted, I really think this young lady must be very unsuited indeed, Plenty of unsuitable people are taken on,
  10. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I agree that the NC is something you'd expect to learn about during your training, even if under your own steam. And let's face it, they change the specs often enough.

    I applied as a 'mature' entrant to teaching, at 30, and I was warned that some training colleges wouldn't consider me because they prefer younger, more malleable candidates who don't ask awkward questions of those they should be in awe of. That may or may not be true in general, and may or may not be a reason for your daughter's rejection.
    MathMan1 and saluki like this.
  11. PGCE_tutor

    PGCE_tutor New commenter

    From the OP it sounds as though this was a salaried ( so probably SD) training position for which the competition is incredibly high.
    As is often said on other threads, feedback from interviews/selection is often unreliable; something to say to disguise the fact that someone else was just a better fit. So I'd take the lack of knowledge about the NC with a pinch of salt and suggest that an application for a PGCE course at Uni would be almost certain to succeed.
    TEA2111, Stiltskin and moonphase9 like this.
  12. htaylor16

    htaylor16 New commenter

    As a mature entrant into the teaching profession I gained experience in a boarding school, a 3 year stint as a cover supervisor to gain valuable classroom experience and was a scout leader. I still spent two years and numerous applications before I was accepted on a (unpaid) training course. Despite the press teacher training course are still incredibly hard to get onto, particularly the salaried ones, especially in subjects which are still ‘popular’. Physics is a shortage subject, chemistry is I believe not. Your daughter needs more experience than jus5 getting her daughter to read bette4 than anyone else in the class,she also needs to brush up on her chosen subject and how it’s taught in school and for tha5 she needs to actually spend some time in a school. During mytrain8ng yea4 I spent very little time bein* taught my subject knowledge (as it was expected I did this as an undergraduate) and more on the theory of how to teach rather than what to teach.
  13. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    This is where the confusion arises: These things no longer exist. There are only commercial interests.
  14. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I would suggest if she is interested in becoming a teacher, she should take 3 days annual leave and use this to spend time in the classroom. She'll still get the money she needs whilst working out if it's what she imagined it will be like.

    You don't say what she wants to teach but she may find PGCE route a better option, dependant on bursary, than schools direct.
  15. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I always said I would knee cap ;)our son if he decided to try for teaching @ 10 years ago .He didn’t, so we didn’t have to :). So glad on both counts :D
    dunnocks and Wotton like this.
  16. TheOneTonBun

    TheOneTonBun New commenter

    I'm training in Primary and I assume your daughter wants to do Secondary, but from my observation it isn't that easy to get a salaried training place. The people on my course who have these are all TAs who are being sponsored by their schools.

    That said there were providers I saw advertising that they wanted trainees in August 2018 who were clearly pretty desperate. The salary is very low though. It was more than a student loan but not much so it depends on your attitude to the debt.

    I am older and took a lot of advice before choosing to do this after being made redundant last year. I am kind of doing things backwards as I have worked in the Education industry for years but have always felt limited because I didn't have a teaching background. I've worked in various regulatory / awarding body, and marketing roles and there are plenty of ex teachers doing very well in those industries (many roles you can't do at all without a teaching background) who don't have a good word to say about their former lives (and some who do). After I was laid off I couldn't really face applying for another Education marketing or admin support role so thought I would try the actual core service.

    I spoke to a range of contacts and got some experience and what I learnt was that some teachers hate their jobs and can't wait to leave and some people love them and don't want to do anything else, and some people are in the middle. Similar to other jobs.

    This at least gives me some hope as 98% of people in my last industry hated it and the other 2% were new. There are certainly awful employers but they still want employees. I think the key is to find a good school, but still not sure how you'd spot that on the interview!
    saluki likes this.
  17. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Did the OP ever come back and explain any further? I know this post is weeks old now, but it is still really playing on my mind. The idea that this is what people think teaching is, is just staggering. I think the post gives a real insight into the deeply held misconceptions about the teaching profession that many parents have. Those that only see school through the eyes of a parent, grandparent or carer.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  18. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    these quotes just blow my mind! mind still blown several weeks later
  19. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    also, this account of a different school really puzzles me What sort of school would have to buy new books to stretch a child like this, or find this behaviour unusual?

    and of course, the obvious, teaching is not a suitable job for a mother with a school age child themselves.

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