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English Teacher without an English Degree ...

Discussion in 'English' started by MediaPumpkin, May 24, 2007.

  1. I have just been reading a thread on this site about an individual who would like to branch out into teaching English, although s/he has a History degree, and they have asked if anyone would consider their application if they were the hiring manager. A couple of responses have scared me, as I start my Secondary English PGCE in September but I don't have an English degree - it was hard enough getting my foot in the door, am I likely to face an uphill battle my whole teaching career?! Honest posts appreciated!
     
  2. I have just been reading a thread on this site about an individual who would like to branch out into teaching English, although s/he has a History degree, and they have asked if anyone would consider their application if they were the hiring manager. A couple of responses have scared me, as I start my Secondary English PGCE in September but I don't have an English degree - it was hard enough getting my foot in the door, am I likely to face an uphill battle my whole teaching career?! Honest posts appreciated!
     
  3. MrMedia

    MrMedia Senior commenter

    I hired someone with a German degree. She got A at A level and was teaching junior school English and simply stepped up a bit.
    To be honest, at KS3, it's ok to have a History degree. At KS4, it becomes harder for you to stretch the A* by stepping up to A level work.
    I wouldn't give you any A level classes - which isn't so bad as it leaves more for me! However, I would imagine a 11-16 school without a sixth form would be no problem.
    Finally, my Head needs multi-subject people badly. Teachers who can only teach one subject are hard work. With all the part-timers these days and small course take up, he needs someone who can spread themselves around. We have a History teacher who teaches sociology and psychology and who could easily teach KS3 English if needed. The Head loves him!
    Get the QTS and then don't worry about it. I would, however, try to get a bit of history in there so you can offer both...
     
  4. vnm

    vnm

    I am an NQT with a Media degree. I would say that you do have to work harder to ensure that you are seen as a good teacher. Some people looked down upon me in my training year as they didn't think I had the subject knowledge to teach English. But I proved them all wrong.

     
  5. I have a History degree and teach English, 'A' level Law (on my own) and from half-term, 'A' level Media. I did English for 2 years of my History degree.

    My school are very obsessed with performance but have no problem giving me Year 10 who are doing English and Lit GCSE a year early. I have no Media background whatsoever but am going to be teaching that.

    I was an NQT last year an got the second job I applied for.

    I don't think it as much of an issue as people think it is.
     
  6. hey mediapmupkin, where are you doing your PGCE? I am in a similar boat- my degree is in media studies... dun dun duuuuuuun haha. (cue shaking heads and disapproving looks) I'm preparing myself for some withering looks and dismissive comments when I start my secondary english PGCE in Manchester in september. As long as you get your subject knowledge up to scratch I don't see why we can't be just as good as anyone else. I may be being naive on this count though...
     
  7. Nottingham and I can't wait! I have a degree in Social Science and one in Media Studies so I'm expecting lots of disaproving looks and whispered comments about 'Mickey Mouse' courses! I'm pretty thick skinned about things like that (and I have some pretty strong arguements about why both subjects are worthy of academic study up my sleeve!) but I just wanted to ensure that on a professional level I wasn't at a HUGE disadvantage when it comes to fighting it out for those few and far between NQT jobs, so to hear that I should get a fair crack of the whip is good news!! Thanks peeps!
     
  8. Penelope55

    Penelope55 New commenter

    Hi there

    I'm starting my PGDE in English up in Scotland in August and I have a history degree also (2 years of this consisted of English) I never even thought about the fact that other teachers might look down on it. I'm hoping to at some point be able to teach both history and english.

    I'm sure it can't make that much difference as a degree generally shows that you are capable of learning...I hope!!

    Good luck with the PGDE's! Lets know how you get on!

    P X
     
  9. Actually, it may help as part of a really enriching learning/teaching experience is that 'being with' the learner on their journey....bit airy-fairy, maybe: hope not. BH
     
  10. What relevance does having a degree in English Literature have to teaching 11-16 anway?

    Most literate graduates can do it.
     
  11. Sorry! No! I am a HOD who has just come a cropper with non specialists prepping studentents for GCSE and check your thread for the spelling errors that prove my point!
     
  12. Yes and I realise I misprinted students - irony? Or perhaps I am just wrong?
     
  13. Ok, so I mis-spelt 'disapproving' and 'arguments', is that a decent reason for dismissing someone without an English degree? I am 99.9% sure that most people make spelling errors occasionally ? especially when they are typing quickly! Had I realised my spelling was going to be put under the microscope I would have checked it a little more vigorously! I just wanted some advice.

    I will now go and sit in the corner and write ?disapproving? and ?arguments? over and over again until I can spell them correctly...
     
  14. ...if we're being pedantic, then maybe you'd care to hyphenate your bound-morphemed common noun...
     
  15. Penelope55

    Penelope55 New commenter

    I totally agree Buddyholly7 and Messi - thanks for that!
     
  16. ...hope I didn't appear patronising - irony's lost in here...
     
  17. xg!

    xg! New commenter

    "Sorry! No! I am a HOD who has just come a cropper with non specialists prepping studentents for GCSE and check your thread for the spelling errors that prove my point!"

    You don't have to have a degree in English in order to spell correctly Maresa.

     
  18. As an experienced HOD and mentor on initial teacher training courses, I consider non specialists to be people without training or experience in the teaching of English, rather than teachers without degrees in English. I have worked with linguistics graduates who destroyed literature for students, and literature graduates who could not teach grammar; I have also had the pleasure of working with many skilled, inspirational teachers of English, some of whom had non English degrees, but all of whom loved literature, were avid readers and lifelong learners.
    A first degree in Media Studies, History, Humanities or any other related subject is no bar to becoming an excellent teacher of English. I would however advise you to buy and use The English teacher´s Handbook from NATE.
     
  19. ''What relevance does having a degree in English Literature have to teaching 11-16 anway?

    Most literate graduates can do it.''

    I think that is a tad extreme.... And there aren't many English students who JUST teach Lit.. are there??
     
  20. I'm an NQT and my degree was in Journalism. I know that some people look down on me because of this fact. At first I did let it bother me, but then I started to break down my degree and my studies. I had a lot of elective classes and I opted for language and linguistic based classes. I also studied abroad for a year and studied many different areas of literature, language and journalism.

    Yes sometimes I do feel overwhelmed when people talk about a book I haven't read, or discuss some technicalities of the English language that I don't understand. But then I think about everything I bring to the subject. I have written for newspapers both here and America, I have a good knowledge about other cultures because I have travelled so much.

    So what if I don't know everything there is to know about grammar, I can look it up. Whereas the knowledge I have can only be gained from life experiences.

    I'm not knocking people who have an English degree, I'm just appalled at those who look down on those that don't. Surely the fundemental importance in teaching, is a love of teaching!
     

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