Dear Theo, I started my PGCE in September at a great university which I love. I have just finished my second week of placement at a wonderful and outstanding nursery, and I am just getting my head around the EYFS framework and the planning side of things. I love working with the children and my first ever observation this week was rated 'Good with elements of Outstanding' and my second one was rated 'Good.' One of my targets is to manage my work-rest time because otherwise I will have burnout by Christmas. I love teaching. I spent three years in marketing after a degree in journalism and then got my first children's book published which I do in my 'spare' time. It was this that made me realise I need to be working in education, and after two years of volunteering in schools as well as working, and getting my TA qualification, I successfully got on to the PGCE. I am just a little worried that when it comes to the NQT year I won't be able to handle the stress of all of the paperwork. I get ill very easily when I am stressed. I was always a sickly child and I am trying to look after myself and have started taking vitamins to keep my immunity up until Christmas. A wonderful fully-funded 4 year PhD in education has come up for next September which would be when I should be starting my NQT year. I am wondering whether to apply for it or get my NQT year out of the way. I have already thought about my research proposal, and I want to specialise in literacy phonics and accent. I have also found a research supervisor who I would like to approach. It is not a requirement of the PhD to have been teaching, but would I be looked down upon or not taken seriously if I haven't done my NQT year? I am also worried about references. I have a wonderful uni tutor who has worked as a teacher and has only just started their PhD now. Would someone I asked to be a reference be able to refuse to give me a reference if they think I should do my NQT year first? I don't want my tutor to think I'm silly to go for it with only a little teaching experience, because then how can I tell others how to teach it? If I don't take this opportunity now I know I will never go back to it again, and I know I would be good at it as I am better at academic things. Please help, as I don't know how to approach my references, but it is something that I would really like to do if I could choose to. Thanks!