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Is it possible to become an English teacher without an English degree?

Discussion in 'English' started by BrixtonBoud, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

    adult continuing education
    took me ages to figure (ACE)
  2. I'm quite horrified that so many of you see subject expertise as separate and almost unnecessary to good teaching.
  3. So am I, but the intrusion of non-specialists is to be expected when English departments are invariably among the largest faculties in any school.
  4. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    Well said airy and bob.
    Our department is packed with non-specialists.
    Out of ten, only three have degrees in English.
    Five of the non-specialist teachers have degrees in media, sociology, drama (x2) and art.
    Three of these teachers have been promoted to middle management whole school roles.
    Subjects like Shakespeare and grammar are disgracefully ignored at all levels.
  5. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    You are a breath of fresh air!
  6. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    The non-specialist often slips-up.
    Our second in English said Of Mice and Men is about the Great Depression - it isn't.
    She also asked 'what is the English Renaissance'?
  7. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    She also said, when asked about Romeo & Juliet (the play the non-specialist <u>always </u>decides to teach), that she had never read anything by Shakespeare (she has a second to top set) and said "I'm just going to watch the film with 'em'.
  8. What are the results like, or are the non-specialists given classes where they can do least damage?
  9. At best, it's just deferred damage.
  10. Lizbit

    Lizbit New commenter

    Subject knowledge is important but the knowledge required to teach English Language up to GCSE level is often quite different from that gained through studying an English Literature degree. A degree in English Lang or Lit is probably more important for A-level teaching but even then, not necessarily essential.

    I've worked with English graduates who are poor-to-average teachers and non-English graduates who are brilliant. As a HoD, I would usually look for applicants with an English PGCE or other English-specific training through direct entry routes. You don't necessarily need an English degree to be accepted to train as an English teacher but you need to demonstrate expertise in the subject and to be reflective and willing to learn.

    If we're honest, not many of us were really 'ready' to undertake the enormous responsibility of teaching a core subject when we stepped into our first school as NQTs. I certainly wasn't. My PGCE training was excellent but it was only doing the job, learning from my (many) mistakes and the support of experienced colleagues that made me an English teacher.
  11. I learn every day. I also use my degree skills every day and I know being able to demonstrate an easy competence with the material cuts down on behaviour problems. I could perhaps have developed that competence without the degree but if you have the interest and ability and want to teach, I cannot understand why you wouldn't do the degree.

    I think England is one of the few countries which doesn't expect teachers to have better qualifications than the level they teach!
  12. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    Cr$p - special measures a couple of years ago.
    Afraid not, no.
    They often teach top-sets though.

  13. <font size="2">I have been
    contemplating whether or not to apply for a 'Schools Direct' or 'PGCE' course
    to teach Secondary English, I currently work as a TA in a behaviour unit and
    have a degree in Media and Radio Journalism. I must admit some of the comments
    on this topic have led me to doubt my own ability as to whether I am
    academically capable, I have even looked into studying an A level English Lit
    course to brush up on my skills.</font>

    <font size="2">Since working in
    a Secondary School I have been filled with some confidence, I attend lessons to
    support the staff and on a daily basis I see teachers who are filled with all
    the knowledge but have no skills with the pupils to engage them. I understand
    that some of these classes are low ability and the behaviour can be poor but surely
    this is where the teacher training comes into play? I also see some outstanding
    teaching which inspires me to want to teach?</font>

    <font size="2">I will continue
    to follow this thread as I value the opinions of staff already in the role, or
    perspective employers and at this present moment in time I am hoping to apply
    for September 2014.</font>

  14. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    Does ITE prepare you for this nowadays, then?! [​IMG]
    Have I read this correctly?? [​IMG]
  15. @ValentinoRossi
    I can get onto a PGCE with what qualifications I have but completing an A level I would be helping boost my application and my knowledge further, am I missing something?
  16. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    If you don't have an A level in English Literature, you have a degree in English, then?
  17. My degree is in Media and Journalism, I feel as though from your point of view that even applying would be a waste of time unless I go back to University to study English.
  18. You want to teach English but don't have Literature qualifications beyond GCSE? If you want to have confidence in your academic ability do a degree course not an A Level.
  19. Do you want to teach to A Level? If so, do you not think it would be useful if you had a little more knowledge and expertise than the pupils you're supposed to be teaching?
  20. A degree doesn't necessarily mean you are one step ahead of your students. I'm an English hod with nothing more than gcse language and literature. My degree is in theatre design and I have a PhD in Education. Does that make me less capable than my colleagues? Previously, I was an AST and an English consultant. No one ever questioned what my degree was in because I had learned my stuff and honed my craft.
    If you want to teach English, you go for it and don't let anyone tell you to the contrary.

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