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I want to change the subject I want to teach- need some advice

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by ap1997, May 2, 2020.

  1. ap1997

    ap1997 New commenter

    I currently teach ESOL at a FE college to 19+ learners. I love teaching adults but to be honest I find teaching ESOL boring. My degree is in English Lit and History. I love History and was originally planning to do a Secondary PGCE in History but when I did work experience at a secondary school I got scared by the behavior of the students and decided I'd hate teaching teenagers. The thing is I love teaching adults and my dream job would be to teach History to adult learners at an adult college/adult learning center. However, I never see jobs advertised for teaching History at FE colleges/adult education centers. All the jobs are either for ESOL or GCSE English or Functional Skills. I really love History and would love to teach it but I don't want to stop teaching adults. Is there any advice for me? I feel my quiet personality would make it very difficult for me to control teenagers so secondary school teaching isn't really an option for me.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Wow, quite a lot in common with my own interests!
    When I came back to the UK some years ago after a 15 year stint as an EAL teacher, I went through the GTP and began in a challenging school. I often though about FE as that had been part of my EAL overseas. When considering leaving the challenging school (every minute of every day), I saw that local boroughs offered course to adults (lots of information in local library). I saw that many of these courses being offered were on matters that I could teach. Contact ALL of them.
    A love of history might prompt you to look at museums which offer guided tours/ experiences for students -all the joy of teaching with no marking !
    Good luck !
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Can you talk to the dept that offers history at your current college? Ask them for their advice. You never know they might have something to suit you in September.
  4. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Unfortunately things have changed a lot in adult education in the last 15 years. There used to be many courses, such as local history, offered just for interest. Cuts in funding means these have nearly all disappeared. Our local adult education college has now become essentially an FE college offering mainly vocational courses, such as hair and beauty. The courses for adults are basically reduced to ESOL, functional skills and GCSE maths and English. Sorry to be discouraging.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. SonaHerr

    SonaHerr New commenter

    Talk to your manager, if you want to stay

    Although you might not be able to offer your learners a qualification in history, you could design a step-up course where perhaps e.g. your ESOL entry 3 learners could progress to the free L1 Functional Skills course with a very heavy history bias in the class exercises and discussions.
    So your manager has a class of students for FS Level 1 and associated funding. Your ESOL E3 level students progress to a L1 qualification which is free to them and you feel happier because you will be teaching your subject.
    I’ve done something similar after the go ahead from my manager by then asking my current students if they would be interested in such a course and getting a list of 10 or so names to enrol.
  6. Chesters8

    Chesters8 New commenter

    The situation in FE is definitely as @gainly explained. I teach a core subject in FE and have about half my timetable teaching adults, which I really enjoy. However the only courses offered to adults are GCSE English and Maths, Functional Skills in English, Maths and IT and ESOL. No other courses are funded and hence are not offered. In the past it was possible for adults to do a wide range of A levels at college but not any more. A large FE college probably only has one teacher of History to deliver the A level and hence such jobs are very rare.
    To teach much History you would really need to be in a secondary school, ideally one with a sixth form so that you could have A level. Even so many History teachers in secondary often have to teach other humanities subjects in Key Stage 3.
    English would be a better subject for FE than History as FE colleges will have A level English plus a large number of English GCSE resit classes and some adult GCSE.
    It is a real shame there is no longer adult A level provision in a range of subjects and it is very difficult now for anyone who didn't get A levels at age 18 or 19 to work for them as an adult.
    There is no real way of knowing whether an individual would be suitable for secondary teaching other than by trying it; being a 'quiet personality' does not rule someone out. However teaching is hard and you need to be really sure that you want to do it. It would be best to try and get a few days observing/helping in a secondary school to see what it's like, once schools are open again.
    agathamorse likes this.

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