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In desperate need of advice

Discussion in 'Science' started by Jack_H89, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I’m hoping someone can offer me some advice, as at the moment I’m very much undecided. My situation is that I’m currently registered on a PGCE course (Science: Chemistry) to start September 2011 (having deferred entry from last year), however over the last few months I’ve been having some major doubts about going into teaching and I don’t want to start a course that is going to push me down a route where I will be unhappy. I have been thinking long and hard about teaching for a while now, ever since I was told I would make an excellent teacher by some friends at University. This lead me to take part in a SAS scheme as well as going part time at my job to work in a school and I’ve really got to see what teaching is like. I have to say there were good points and bad points, I really got a kick out of teaching a class and can definitely see the attraction of the “light bulb” moment, however then there’s all the behaviour issues and the long hours and heavy work load which I have read a teacher must go through. So what I want to ask is: What kind of hours are teachers usually working per week? Is teaching, especially the PGCE and NQT year really the horrible, stressful, no social life, life it’s made out to be? If I were to cancel my place in September, would it hinder my chances of getting onto a course in the future after I have had a bit more time to think about it and maybe explored some other career options? And finally does anyone have any advice for me or maybe been in the same situation? Any help would be greatly appreciated as I’m trying to get as much information as possible before making this massive step. Thanks for any comments
  2. Jack,
    I have just about completed my NQT year teaching science (chemistry) having done a PGCE last year.
    For me the past 2 years have been a huge challenge but immensely rewarding and I remain convinced that I have done the right thing. This is my third (and hopefully final!) career and it is by far the most work I've ever had to do in a job, but nonetheless satisfying.
    Of the 2 years, the PGCE was harder than the NQT year for me. The assignments we had to do didn't come easily to me and during placements the workload from planning came as a shock. It is a bit of a social life killer! You get into a routine though and when the NQT year comes round you find it manageable (even though there's no getting away from the fact there is more planning in your NQT year!). I have been extremely fortunate though - I got a job at the school where I did my final teaching placement so knew the school. My HOD and department have always been supportive and given me any help I needed. I'm under no illusion that this varies from school to school however.
    I tend to arrive at school at 7.45 and leave by 4 most days. sometimes it's 5, very occasionally 3! Assume there will be at least 1 afterschool meeting per week. I do little work at home in the week but will usually do some on a saturday (marking/planning).
    Behaviour issues - well you're going to have them! Good strategies are important and remember you will make mistakes. I will be trying to do a few things differently in september. Best piece of advice that rings in my ears from my PGCE course leader: "teaching is an act". Very true I think, you have to slip into the teacher role that sets boundaries for the class, even if it's not your natural personality. If I didn't I think they'd walk all over me!!
    I'm just giving my opinion, I've loved it, but balance my experience with the numerous not so positive experiences you will read about on here when making your decision.
    Good luck!

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