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I am dithering...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Flumptious, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. Flumptious

    Flumptious New commenter

    This is my first post on TES. Hello, guys. Please be nice to me.

    Until yesterday, I hadn't really thought about going into teaching. I was (am) a university lecturer, in geology and environmental science. But yesterday, we were told that our department is going to be closed down. So I am thinking of trying to move into teaching. I enjoy teaching the students, and of course it would be very different teaching children, in a school, but I think I could do it well.

    I would like to teach geography, I think. However, I never even studied 'O' level geography (as the GCSE-level exams were, in my day). I did A level geology, then a degree in it, and a PhD. I worked in research for many years (in France, and South Africa), then I became a university lecturer, in Surrey, 17 years ago. I did a PGCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and I taught lots of geography and environmental science (pollution, contaminated land, and waste management, basic geomorphology...), alongside my geological specialism. I have also often taught basic chemistry, to our first years.

    So, my first 'Can I do this?' problem is my lack of geography qualifications. Would I be allowed to teach geography?

    My second problem is my 'disability'. In 2005, I fell off my bicycle (with a helmet on, fortunately), and I received a 'Traumatic Brain Injury'. I had to be off work sick for 18 months, but I was eventually allowed back. I am officially registered as blind, although in fact I can see well enough for most things, but definitely not to drive. When I look straight forward, I can see nothing to my right, but if I look over that way, I can see everything there, fine. I just have to make sure that I regularly look over to the right. I have been teaching with this problem for more than 10 years, and if I can cope with university students, I am sure i could cope with school kids, too. Would a school and the education authority be OK with this, or would they say "You can't do that!"?

    I really think I would like to move into teaching, but I do not know whether I will be allowed to.

    Lalad likes this.
  2. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    Hi Flump and welcome.

    You might not have chosen the best sub-forum to post this in. You might get a better response in the "Thinking of teaching" and/or subject-specific "Geography" parts of the board.

    I am, however, posting a reply to bring it back to the top so that it may get some attention from the regular Sunday morning crowd.

    It sounds to me as though there are a number of issues here which will need specialist comment from those who know what they're talking about! I cannot assist with that. My best guesses (and they ARE only guesses) would be:-

    (a) Your PG Cert in in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education will not be seen as a sufficient qualification to teach at secondary level, so a PGCE will still be necessary to teach in the state sector. Apply now through UCAS for courses starting in September 2017 if you can afford to take a year without income to requalify.

    (b) With your qualifications and background, I suspect that most ITT providers would bite your hand off to have you on their courses. I suspect that your geology degree and doctorate will be viewed as sufficiently cognate to allow you straight onto a PGCE geography course ... although you MAY fine you are asked to do a short Subject Knowledge Enhancement course to "brush up" on those areas of the syllabus not covered in your degrees (e.g. human geography). Speak to your preferred ITT provider(s) as soon as you can to ascertain their attitude. They are always happy to discuss.

    (c) No matter whether they are going to ask for SKE or not, your ITT provider WILL expect you to have spent at least 10 days doing classroom observation at the level you wish to teach, to be sure that you understand what is involved in teaching at this different level. You need to start thinking about this SOON if you want to do ITT starting in September 2017. Your UCAS application will have a section to detail your classroom observation. You cannot submit the form without completing this. If you do not demonstrate sufficient observation, your application is likely to be rejected on the papers. Once you have submitted the application you cannot amend it. So you need at least to have ARRANGED 10 days before submitting, even if some of them are in the future. You can include them, indicating that they have been organized but have yet to take place.

    (d) If you cannot afford a year out to re-train, then consider talking to your local independent schools. I suspect that many of them would LOVE to have a Geology graduate and PhD on the teaching staff in their geography departments ... and with the amount of teaching you have already done (albeit at a different level) they may well be prepared to take a punt on you without any formal secondary teacher training.

    Good luck ... I hope you manage to sort something out.
    Lalad and oldsomeman like this.
  3. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Welcome Flump.
    Just go for it. You can only do that. Why not?
    go with your gut feeling. Sus out what you want to do.
    some I know ask a mate who they have in teaching to do a week's observation and see what its like. That might be your next best move?
    good luck anyway.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I agree with post #2.

    Can I just say that during my career I came across colleagues in independent schools who had come straight from being a University lecturer to being a teacher (with no training at school level). I also worked in one (at least) school which offered Geology at A level - so I would suggest you offer both subjects (Geography & Geology) to potential employers.

    Good luck.
  5. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    There you are - I TOLD you that somebody more knowledgeable than me would come along.

    Have a look at THIS link, too: http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/Geology-C.../Research-Teaching-and-Communication/Teaching

    How do you feel about doing your PGCE at Keele???
  6. wordsworth

    wordsworth Senior commenter

    I may also be completely wrong but my understanding was that certain kinds of schools do not require a PGCE. And what about the private sector? I don't think they necessarily require a PGCE. I think that the OP won't have much trouble finding a school to take her/him on.
    les25paul and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    My only worry is your vision.

    Your command of a vast number of subjects is impressive and unquestionable so you'd be a major catch on that score.

    There are, shall we say, behavioural issues in some schools and I think I might worry on your behalf about your ability to control potentially tricky situations. That's my only caveat.

    Look, it's early days. Go round some schools. Several.
  8. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    When I was looking to move into teaching I arranged visits to several different schools just by phoning up and asking to speak to the relevant Head of Department. Teachers tend to be very helpful. As others have said the restricted vision might be a problem but the best way to know will be to go into some classrooms and see for yourself. Good luck.
  9. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Failing which you can maybe leave teaching and work for industry in which there is probably an opening for a person with your skills.and probably on much better pay and hours.Try the oil or explanation industry.
  10. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I meant to say welcome by the way and I hope you get what your heart desires.
    Lalad likes this.
  11. petaloutha

    petaloutha Lead commenter

    What is that?
  12. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    its where the make excuses why you shouldn't do this or that lol
    Well spotted on my deliberate mistake :rolleyes:
    Exploration.can I use yourself as a personal spell checker please.
    Calpurnia99 and petaloutha like this.
  13. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    You are correct, academies are not compelled to hire qualified teachers and since academies have largely taken over the PGCE is now somewhat redundant.

    @Flumptious , with your skills and experiences you are already well qualified to work in an academy. I would suggest brushing up on your Chemistry since this is a subject in high demand and will make you more marketable.

    I wouldn't worry about your disability either, Schools should have measures in place to cope with any issues since many students also have disabilities.

    But as other posters have mention your skills are very valuable to the industrial sector and "dare I say it" might be wasted in a modern UK academy.
  14. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    In my experience, schools do not like their teachers with PhDs. The impression I got was that, because you are highly academically qualified, they feel you are a threat, and resent your level of attainment academically. These days I suspect it is even worse because every Tom Dick and Harry in "management" seems to have a MBA, and such quals are about as use as a cycling proficiency test to a one legged man. So you would probably be better qualified than the chief management plonker himself.

    Can you not find another job in academia? I would not recommend teaching in a school to anyone. I went into FE after teacher training, as PGCE put me off schools forever, and I know it is way worse now.
    wordsworth and les25paul like this.
  15. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    I have a colleague who is a geologist. He trained as a science teacher then moved across to geography and has instigated geology as a gcse.

    There is a shortage of good geography teachers, and the bursary is good. Do have a look as geography is now up with maths in terms of bursaries.

    If you apply and your subject knowledge isn't good enough in human geography you can show willing to teach yourself. I dread having to teach glaciology as I never studied it and am very clearly a human geographer.

    With regard to your disability, only you know of you will cope.

    If you're keen apply, what have you got to lose?
  16. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    I would recommend teaching geography. I've been doing it for over 15 years now (where did that go!!). Ebacc has brought it back to prominence in many schools and it's always a relevant subject!! ;)
  17. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    We recently lost our geology teacher to retirement. The results were always spectacular, the subject at GCSE and A-level heavily subscribed and several sixth-formers actually left the sixth-form to go somewhere else to study geology. We've not been able to attract a geology specialist since, because obviously they'd have to offer something else as well (or be part-time) and the geography dept is fully staffed (plus the New Broom is desperately looking round for cheapskate ways of cutting staff but that's another story).
    I think there's a demand out there and I hope you find it.
  18. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    relevant for what? all subjects are relevant.
  19. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Lots of good advice to sift through, so only a couple of things to add.

    1. See if you can get a couple of weeks in school as soon as possible. You've only mentioned Secondary, but it would be worth looking into Primary too, particularly with your background.

    2. Your 'disability' has many positives and can be used as evidence of your resilience and ability to overcome adversity.

    As others have suggested, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain - go for it!
  20. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    Knew someone would bite.

    Relevant in that we're studying development and can find relevant news stories everyday.

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