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I am new and I am enthusiastic, and I am realistic!

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by casperyc, Feb 18, 2016.

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  1. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    I just finished my PhD and I am now on a training for QTS. So by Sep 2016, I will be NQT.

    I have always wanted to teach and I am originally from Shanghai (China)! As probably you can now guess, I am now a Secondary (trainee) Maths teacher!

    Long story short, there is a changing in teaching secondary maths. I am really enthusiastic to adopt my shanghai style teaching into the UK classroom. But as I am on training, I have to consider all teachers' standards. So as much as I can "try" to teach in certain ways, if things don't work, or don't seem to work at the moment, I'd be "told" what "should" I be doing or "how" should I be teaching. But that "should be doing" did not make UK students good at maths. Did it?

    My 1st problem is: As I am "only" a trainee, how much "freedom" is there? How would you suggest I copping with the "correct" way of teaching?

    Second problem is more personal. I am not a citizen in the UK. Although the working visa only requires about 25K salary, I can definitely find "a" job and keep being a maths teacher. Realistically, that means I will probably renew my visa every year, or every 2-3 years depends on the contract. I don't want to have this constant pressure on me.

    Good news is that I have an interview very soon and the job offers Main pay range/UPS. Can someone clarify this for me? I am still not quite sure about what's the difference between UPS and "Leadership Group Pay Range"? What's the best approach to argue for a higher pay scale? Or what determines the pay scale?

    Also there is the argument about what's the best category to stay due to tax reasons? Any suggestion on this?
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    UPS is for teachers who have been teaching for more than 1 year - about 6. You can't go for UPS unless you have reached the top of the main pay scale, and successfully passed performance management, and as for leadership...not unless you actually go for a job that is leadership.

    Reading between the lines, you are implying that what you are being asked to do on your teacher training is not good enough. I suggest, if you are actually serious about wanting to teach here, that you take the advice given to you by those who are qualified in this system. If you are not prepared to do that, then perhaps teaching here is not for you.

    However, if you do not have a visa to enable you to stay here more than a couple of years, then you are in a difficult situation. You may not want the "constant pressure", but no visa, no job.
    casperyc and sabrinakat like this.
  3. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    There was a great programme over the summer on the BBC called 'Are our kids tough enough?'. This showed the Shanghai teaching style and its impact on a particular group of UK teenagers. Their exams results were better, but the teaching style did not translate well. You might find it illuminating.

    As CWadd states, as a trainee, I would suggest following the advice and suggestions of your UK trainer and placement schools - you need to fulfil the UK Teachers' Standards first and even as an NQT and potentially beyond.

    I have a PhD but no PGCE - I had a baptism of fire as a trainee (treated as an NQT) and thought I knew everything - I do know my subject well, but not all the various expected aspects of teaching within the UK system. I do now (I think!) and have done the Assessment only QTS route. My current position allows me greater freedom but I still list a starter, lesson objective and plenary for every class so even if it's not formal, I know the progress and hiccups. Remember also your students will need to use and apply the material, not just memorise. That is perhaps one limitation to what I saw of the Shanghai system....in humanities, essay writing and those types of subjects would be disastrous if the Shanghai system was applied!

    PS. Outside of London, most NQTs get about 21k to start.
  4. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If the OP is still reading, I would take @sabrinakat's words seriously.
    Middlemarch, casperyc and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter


    That does clarify a bit. What I have at the moment for the job interview (for Sep 2016 as an NQT) is listed as "Subject leader", can I assume this is what you mean by "go for a job that is leadership"?

    What would the minimum be if it says "Subject leader" and the pay is "Main Pay Scale/UPS"?

    I have been following all of this news as I am originally from Shanghai. I came here in 2006, did my BSc/MSc and PhD in the UK.

    What I am trying to say is, I do understand it is not possible to do exactly as what we did in Shanghai. But there are things that I want to do with my students, and the effect might not be able to reveal in just a couple of weeks.

    And yes, I am struggling to keep some of "my teaching" and making small changes according to the "what I should be doing". Because I don't want my students to see me as an "inconsistent" teachers who "trys" a lot of different things weekly.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    So you've got an interview for a post as Subject Leader.

    Do you realise what a Subject Leader is?

    It means you will be in charge of a Department, which can be anything from 2 to 10 people. You will be responsible for SoW, exam results, mentoring new staff - including NQTs - budget, meetings with SLT...

    Shall I go on?

    The fact you have applied for this when you are not qualified indicates that contrary to your original post, you are not being realistic. You will only have completed training in September - you will need to do your NQT year to be able to officially teach.

    You don't know what you don't know, is my advice. I would apply for jobs that are teaching jobs, and don't think about leadership until you are at least a couple of years in. Teaching is an extremely stressful job - why make it even harder?
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Will keep this simple

    1) You are not in China any more. There is a lot wrong with the English education system, granted, but I am not convinced the Chinese system is the way forward anyway. In a system with the scrutiny of the English education system, and the pure focus on results, there simply is not going to be the freedom for you to teach as you see fit. You may have more luck in the independent sector.

    2) You will be unlikely to start on 25k- You really have to be on M3 or the equivalent to get this (outside of London) You have a PhD and you are in Maths. This is an advantage. On the other hand, one assumes your experience of secondary education is limited. Outside of London I think you will be lucky, particularly in good schools who have a selection of candidates to choose from....

    3) Visa- To be blunt you have chosen to work in a country where you need a Visa. You have to live with it, as would I if I moved outside of the EU.

    4) Subject leader- How possibly can you be a realistic candidate as a subject leader? Go for jobs you can get...
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Try teaching in a school for a few years first.

    It might not be what you think it is.

    Which institution accepted you for training?
    aspensquiver_2 likes this.
  9. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    Thanks again for your input! I do take all your advice and will think about it! That's pretty much what I have been doing over this half term!

    Yes, I do have "some" idea of what it mean by "Subject Leader". As I am also aware my situation of being "new" to teaching (formally).

    I *HAVE* made an informal inquiry to ask if I can(should) be applying to this post to the relevant staff and his replies was her would not dis-encourage me to apply for the job as the school is at a unique phase.

    Yes, I have heard about the stress before I came into teaching, from various people. I do feel the stress at the moment, even as a trainee teacher. But like I put in the title, I am enthusiastic! More importantly, my stress came from the paperwork (evidence) I need to have for QTS and the pay (in terms of visa). I am not stressed at all from any of the "teaching" side.

    Honestly, I have not led a team of "adults", but I do have lots of leadership experience when I was a student in UK universities. I am up for the challenge as long as the school is willing to take me and share the same "vision".
  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Honestly, I credit your enthusiasm, but you have no idea here at all. Subject leader for maths? NQT? Totally bonkers, sorry. The only school I can imagine is one in serious difficulties, in an area where they struggle to get maths teachers. You have not the experience to succeed however good you think you are.
  11. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    1) Yes, I am aware. And can I please emphasize that I never said I am using exactly the Shanghai style of teaching. I am merely saying that there are things I feel it will work (in the long run) and I want to "try" as they go alone. As far as "my" teaching is concerned, I am getting "good" rating. But to take this further for the "purpose" of my training, I want to be "outstanding", so I have been "told" how to teach.

    2) At the moment, I am on inner London and I am getting just a bit more than 25K.

    4) As far as this is concerned, well I do get a "chance". I won't get my hopes up, but I will treat this as a proper interview. I am up for it!


    Lastly, for everyone that is so patient and giving me all good advice.

    I did lots of outreach work in secondary schools while I was doing my PhD. I have worked in various schools both state and independent as a GCSE and A level mentor. I have given talks on UCAS open days and I have led maths inspiration sessions.

    Yes, none of them is "formal teaching" nor "leading a department". But no offense, with all those "who are suitable candidates", where have they led us to? Again, not saying Chinese way is the only/best way, but you *NEED* a change?
  12. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    I am not here for an argument, nor a fight. But fine. Let's just have to see how that goes?

    FYI: It is an OUTSTANDING school, actually quite famous and successful.
  13. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Whoa, hang fire on this. You are attributing what you deem as English educational failures to teachers, as if they work in a vaccum. That is unfair. I would argue that standards of education are more societal rather than something down to teachers at the chalkface.
    wanet likes this.
  14. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Is this a Head of Maths job? I am sorry, but I can't see for the life of me why any successful school would interview an unqualified teacher as HoD? Is it in the state sector?
    wanet and aspensquiver_2 like this.
  15. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    This is for *Subject Leader*! Please read more carefully. At no place no one said it was for Head...
  16. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Same thing, different name.

    Which institution accepted you for training?
    wanet likes this.
  17. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Lesson one before embarking on your glittering management career

    1) Don't be so patronising to those posters who give their time to help you. Especially when you seem to know so little about the profession (I have seen your post on P&C)
    wanet likes this.
  18. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    I did not know that. Does that mean the current Head of Maths will be gone by September? I really don't think so because in the JD it does say report to Head of Maths and STEM leader.

    I wish to remain my training body anonymous, but why do you ask?
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Whilst I have no direct knowledge of your culture when I was teaching a young Chinese girl and had to get my head round some of the cultural differences to help her adjust to this country I did talk to a number of people who work out East.

    It seemed to me, that generally you have a culture which aims to get onwards and upwards quite quickly and I do know of several people in their early 20s who run their own companies. Now generally, though not impossible, this is not the expectation in this country and hence much of the advice given by other posters.
    wanet, casperyc and DYNAMO67 like this.
  20. casperyc

    casperyc New commenter

    I am sorry if it came out in a patronising way. But like I said, I do appreciate your patience and advice! And I hope we can drop this topic of whether "I am suitable". I only have an "interview".
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