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From FE to SE

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Georgia99, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    As someone who has worked in both FE and Secondary, I would advise you to get some experience in a secondary school if you haven't already. No matter how good the school policies and management, behaviour will always be an issue.
    Noone can even try and explain to you the challenges of teaching a secondary level class and until you have experienced it first hand you will not understand this or know if you can cope.
    I wish you the best of luck but I do feel your comments are very naive and you seriously need to spend a good amount of time in a secondary school before you consider making the move or you will be in for a serious shock.
  2. Thank you for your response Georgia99. I agree that this will be a major culture shock and behaviour management will be an issue. If I sounded naive or blase about working in a secondary school then I'm probably belying my determination and enthusiasm to succeed at what I consider to be a massive challenge for me.
    I've had to deal with challenging behaviour from students who have recently left education and have barely been able to read. Surely not all students in secondary schools are like this! A close friend has just moved from school to another and claims the difference is unbelievable in the way she is supported with the school having a strict ethos.
    Yes, I think this is a very pressured environment but I think these lie chiefly with achieving specific targets more than behavioural issues.
  3. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to echo Georgia99. Behaviour in secondary schools is a massive issue, outside a small number of highly selective and/or oversubscribed schools. Compulsion makes a massive difference. In college if a student is annoyed they can walk out of your lesson. They'll be chased up, but no biggie. If they walk out of a lesson in school they'll be pursued by SLT or heads of year and corraled back, due to safeguarding fears. They know this, so discontent is voiced as disruption in the classroom. You may be thinking that your enthusiasm and inspiration will overcome this. Yes, it helps, but no amount of brilliant teaching can stop disruption - you can't please all of the people all of the time. And you will face students who actively loathe your subject and loathe you because of it.
    Even if 3 students out of a class are actively disrputive it's pretty much impossible to teach. It doesn't have to be all of them. Mainstream secondary is tough, and requires a totally different skill set from FE.

  4. Thank you Olasma!
    Firstly, if you've been teaching before 2007, QTLS is not considered as mandatory with FE's professional body, the IfL. Therefore, depending on the discretion of any prospective employer, you may not need QTS let alone do another PGCE - heaven forbid!.
    Modern thinking academies and the results of Wolf's proposal where Michael Grove claimed staff with qualified teacher learning and skills in FE should be able to work in schools, contributes to what I feel will become an increasing trend of FE lecturers making the transition into compulsory education. I turned down a contract earlier this year to work in an English Dept at a local school academy. Nothing clever about that but it does demonstrate that jobs are available to FE lecturers in this sector without necessarily having to take further qualifications.
    Let us not underestimate the differentiation between teaching in FE and compulsory education but also let's not overlook the similarities either, which, let's face it, are far more prevalent. Most of my teacher friends are in the compulsory sector and obviously we talk about teaching when we meet. It's sad, but that's what teachers (compulsory or not) tend to do! I digress, but the PGCE for lifelong learning and the PGCE for compulsory education is not exactly a model of polar opposites and I would argue it has 90% of its content and learning outcomes are virtually replicated.
  5. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Hi, at my secondary school there are three teachers who are PGCE FE trained who teach on the Construction, Hairdressing and Dance courses. They are all paid on the main teaching scale.
    I know quite a lot of people who have made the move and the school may support you to gain QTS, this includes collecting evidence for Q standards and completing Maths, ICT and English tests. You would not need to do another PGCE though.
    The PGCE in both compulsory and lifelong learning are equal qualifications. The difference with the compulsory PGCE is that you have to achieve QTS alongside this in order to work in secondary schools. (Although as noted above, schools are increasingly taking non QTS candidates particularly for vocational courses). One key issue is that there is a surplus of secondary school teachers competing for jobs and this makes it difficult for a FE qualified candidate to even be shortlisted for a non vocational subject. But I believe that FE qualified teachers more commonly have a better knowledge and experience of their field as they are often ex professionals in these sectors and I think schools are starting to acknowledge this.
    The main areas that FE teachers seem to need support is behaviour management and afl. In my experience most FE teachers seem to know very little about afl and this is really important to understand in schools.
    I would love to gain a lecturing post in FE, I personally find it far less stressful. But everyone is different. Sorry if my last post sounded harsh, I didn't intend it to. I don't want people to make the same mistake as me and leave a FE job to go to a secondary school because of the better contract, conditions etc before really understanding the challenges of independently leading a class of compulsory school age kids!! It is tough and stressful and I work in one of the better schools in my area.
  6. How on earth can an FE lecturer assess a student's attainment or potential with no knowledge of AFL? I'm assuming this TLA stands for Assessment For Learning??? [​IMG]
    Secondary School really is not the bed of roses it is made out to be. I have lucked out and work in an amazing FE College where I am earning considerably more than ANY secondary school (public and private) in the surrounding area.
    I hate secondary school. It is just as regimented for the staff as it is the students. Maybe this is down to my laid-back attitude but I would much rather get involved with the topic material rather than spending half my lessons getting the kids to sit still and stop chucking things at each other. I experienced Secondary School on my PGCE Course (2 terms school placement, 1 term FE) and it really did remind me why I didn't want to teach that age range. To boot it was Roman Catholic Private School (sigh)...
    FE (as it currently stands) means all students HAVE to elect to be there and HAVE to choose my subject... given that I am firm believer in motivation and desire being the ONLY catalyst to successful learning, I am extremely happy here. :) If my students' behaviour isn't directly impacting their, or anyone else's learning, I really don't care. Screw the rules. I am not getting called up by my HoD, asking me why I didn't tell Steve to tuck his shirt in. Christ. Sod that.
    Maybe this is a reson why I have never experienced any challenging behaviour? I treat my students as adults, with respect, and it comes back tenfold.
  7. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Which leads me on to them 'choosing' what subject they study - if they've got poor grades, let's be honest, they are generally limited to low-level vocational quals. My experience is that schools invariably, encourage female low achievers into Childcare/Health & social care, while boys tend to be led into Construction / Sports.
    Just my experience.
    I can agree with that. I teach BTEC Health and Social Care in secondary and I have 2 large classes across Year 10 and 11 of nearly all girls who are all low achievers or have emotional/social difficulties. Most had the subject picked for them. The same applies on the BTEC construction course offered at the school for the males. The thing that always humours me in secondary schools is that the Construction teachers often have no experience in this sector-ours in an ex Science teacher and the Health and Social Care Teacher I am covering at the moment is a Food Technology Teacher and knows nothing about hsc.
  8. Phew, glad it's not just me! It's actually a real shame that that approach is taken if only because it devalues an already looked-down upon qual (Btecs).
    Unfortunately the sad fact is (and I'm saying this as a BTEC lecturer), most BTECs just aren't academically challenging as GCSEs or A levels - hence why your not so bright students get put on it. This is slightly less the case at level 3; although I have been told by an A level & Btec colleague that the former students he taught were more studious whereas the latter saw College as a social club.
    With regards to non-sector teachers teaching sector-specific subjects, don't get me started! That's one thing I totally disagree with that goes on in schools. I used to teach the (ridiculous) Diploma in SHD as part of a consortium and 1 of the other (school) teachers was really a Biology teacher, and the other teacher (similar to your example), was really a Food Tech teacher - madness![​IMG]
    Hopefully this will change as & when QTLS becomes accepted in schools.
  9. Unfortunately I suspect that not only do schools find vocational BTECs a useful option for low achieving students they also find them a useful option for those members of their staff that, shall we say, 'need a change'.

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