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Help please. Advice on PGDE/teacher training

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by oliveyou, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. oliveyou

    oliveyou New commenter


    I have been accepted into a PGDE (Scotland, secondary). I applied through clearing and will be starting late because I have had issues securing funding with SAAS. This has given me time to doubt myself and my path and I would really like some advice. I've been reading through the forums (admittedly mainly about the PGCE) and it has made me slightly terrified of this year. Can't really rely on my gut feel because I have anxiety issues.

    I am 28, I have worked in TEFL for several years. I have never worked in mainstream schools. The reason I applied to do the course was because I feel like I have gotten everything I can out of TEFL and I'd like to formalise my experience and learn more about the theory behind teaching. It is also a very good qualification and a respectable and solid career choice. I think I am good at TEFL teaching (based on observations and promotions), and sometimes I really like it. Some of my friends are teachers and I often feel jealous of their QTS status, skills, professionalism and solid job prospects (compared to TEFL). However, that said, teaching has never been my dream career or what I initially wanted. My attempts to get into the field I wanted to work in have been unsuccessful and so I have relied on my TEFL qualification and experience to survive.

    The other thing that is bothering me is that I have some mental health issues. A lot of the posts here have highlighted how tough the course is for that. I am not sure if I should let it put me off or if having anxiety and depression are a good enough reasons to seriously reconsider. I don't want my mental health to dictate or ruin my life or enable me to avoid being happy or successful. On the other hand, the last few years have been tough and I don't want to cancel out the progress I have made.

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone had any advice? My friends and family are sick of me and so am I.

    - ExternallyConfused
  2. hlcook89

    hlcook89 New commenter

    Your training year (regardless of route, PGCE, PGDE, SD, SCITT) is going to be tough at times and yes, will make you think about "is this the right thing" etc.

    If it is not your dream career or what you want to do, then maybe the course isn't for you. Could you defer for a year and get some experience in mainstream schools, which could help you decide if you want to pursue teaching?
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    It doesn't matter if mainstream teaching is not your dream career - the PGCE can open doors in the UK and abroad, and you can use it as a springboard for something else - so you don't need to go into it thinking you'll be doing it forever. The qualification itself may only be useful for teaching, but it is a post grad level course (if that means anything to employers), you will be part of a 'profession', and skills such as organisation, communication, team working etc. do become highly developed through doing the job - these are vital in so many other jobs. Or perhaps the development of creative skills is something you could stress in the future when moving on.

    Personally, I think 5 more years and I'll be done. I started with TEFL, then began my PGCE 5 years ago; after 2 years in the UK I went abroad and have saved a good amount of money in that time - I plan to save more over the next 5 years, then move on.

    The mental health issues are a concern though - teaching in the UK can be very hard on you, in terms of both physical and mental health. (It can also be hard overseas, but for different reasons). There are schools out there that are supportive, but finding them is the key.

    If you can recognise the signs in yourself and know when to stop and ask for support, or know how to support yourself, then you can get through the PGCE and NQT year. If you don't have that ability or support then I'd think twice.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    As hlcook89 says, get some experience in mainstream schools as a TA, volunteer or just some observation and talk to the staff there about the everyday life of a teacher. Your perceptions of teaching from afar may be a little different from the harsh reality. If it's not your dream career and you have anxiety issues, think very carefully and get first hand experience of school teaching before you commit yourself.
    agathamorse likes this.

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