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Help! So many options - your opinion is much appreciated.

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Tiggsam, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Tiggsam

    Tiggsam New commenter

    After many years and a varied work history, I have recently found my dream career: I really want to become a Secondary English teacher and I'm wondering what the best route to gaining my specialist knowledge/qualifications.

    Work experience: I am currently teaching English in China (TESOL: Primary and Middle School.) I have previously worked as a tutor for adults in the UK (PTTLS: vocational courses) and I have also been a manager for various shops, responsible for training staff.

    Qualifications: BA Media Studies and Culture; A Levels: History, Media, Politics and Psychology; AS Level: Film Studies (No English A Level studied :(); My GCSEs are good - all A and B grades. I also have TESOL and PTTLS as mentioned above.

    So, as far as I can see I have a few options to become qualified to teach Secondary English?
    • BA English, then teacher training
    • Masters in English, then teacher training
    • Go 'back to the drawing board' and do A Level English and then one of the above options
    • PGCE with English incorporated
    • Some other route I'm not aware of?
    Sorry for the long post but I really want to get into teaching! With my varied experience and training I want to select the best route, bearing in mind I might have some transferrable skills. Please advise what route you think would be best - I really would appreciate any thoughts.

  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Established commenter

    Before you decide that teaching secondary English is for you, you must spend some time in UK schools. Behaviour and pressure from management are very different to working in a cram or state school in China; also in the UK you are teaching to a national curriculum, whereas in China there is no such thing.

    Look at the UK national curriculum for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 English - do a knowledge audit: Where are your gaps? What do you already know? How can you best fill the gaps?

    You teach a lot of texts in secondary English - familiarise yourself with some modern children's literature, classics, and those on the exam board specifications (AQA etc.)

    Contact any unis/providers that you're interested in - ask them if your background is sufficient, and what they recommend you do.

    Your options:
    - A whole new BA won't be necessary (unless you want to do one; I have two myself). Instead, you could always study a stand alone Open Uni English module (60 credits, undergrad, level 2 or 3).
    - OU masters courses don't require previous studies in that subject at undergrad level, whereas some unis have prerequisites, so it could be a good option.
    - Not much point going backwards to A level, although it could help you appreciate what the students go through!
    - What is 'a PGCE with English incorporated'? If you're studying a secondary PGCE it's always in a named subject, which is generally the subject you want to teach; they don't teach you English subject knowledge though, you are expected to identify gaps and fill them yourself.
  3. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I would advise you approach a couple of providers with regard to the lack of English degree. See what they advise. Most providers will hold information meetings where you can ask these questions. You also need to get into school. Although you have many transferable skills, your experience so far will not replicate a UK classroom, it is a very particular environment. You might hate it.....

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