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FE - Looking to jump career in 2 years

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Crofty1984, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Hello all,
    I'm interested in becoming a further education teacher/lecturer. College/adult education/prisons, that kind of thing. For a variety of boring and grown up reasons I'll not be in a position to make the move for a couple of years. I'll also be working full-time.
    I'm interested to know what I should be doing now to put myself in the best position when the time comes. If I need to spend 2 years studying in the evening I might as well start it now.

    A bit about me - I'm currently 35 - a sales engineer and have been in engineering over a variety of disciplines forthe last 12 years. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering from a decent uni, but I got a poor grade (although I did pass). Surprise, surprise I'd be looking to teach Maths, Science, Engineering type subjects!
    I've been told about a level 3 introduction to teaching FE course that's 10/12 evenings. Mostly for the networking opportunities so I'd be tempted to leave that until I'm closer to "the move". But maybe that's wrong of me.
    Unfortunately money is an issue - I've looked at bills/spending money/mortgage, etc and would really need to earn about £35k fairly soon. It's a heck of a pay cut from what I'm on now but I realise it's hardly pennies. How realistic is that?

    I did go to an open day at my local college last year but if I'm honest it took the wind out of my sails a bit. I left with the impression that in their eyes if person A has a first in baking, he's perfectly qualified to teach science, but if person B has a degree in engineering and a decade of industrial experience, plus some STEM volunteer work, he's not even getting let on the training course because of his grades 15 years ago. No offence to any bakers! I certainly do not have the figure of a man averse to baked goods.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    With no teaching experience, no qualification and a weak degree it isn't realistic at all to expect to reach the top of the qualified lecturer pay scale quickly.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  3. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    I've come across this very belatedly but it seems to me that it is highly unlikely that you would earn £35k in an FE college for many, many years. Do some Google searching about pay in the FE sector. Additionally pure academic subjects for GCSE and A Level such as Maths and Science are rarely taught in FE, where courses are generally focused on vocational subjects such as plumbing, carpentry etc. In education you would also need a minimum of a GCSE equivalent in English.

    Maths, Science etc are however in hot demand in secondary schools where progression is far far easier, but you would still begin on a salary of about £21k after a year of doing teacher training. At secondary you have to have excellent people skills, and above all excellent classroom management skills, as you can estimate that about 50% of the class doesn't want to learn your subject, and doesn't want to be there, and/or have a conviction that they can't do Maths to save their lives. You will also have to face a very significant workload consuming your weekends and most evenings, in addition to attending parent evenings, after-school clubs and revision evenings and so on.

    If you want to teach in an area which is more advanced, with significant industry experience, I would strongly suggest that you consider teaching at university level. Here the students have elected to study your subject. You would probably need to get a masters degree in your chosen subject, and even consider doing a PhD in later years. However the behaviour is better as they are paying £9k+ a year!

    I would suggest that you read some of the postings on the TES forums to get an insight into what you would be getting yourself into, if you went into teaching, especially if you already have a good career in industry and so many people are disillusioned with the education sector.
    agathamorse likes this.

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