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Is one language enough to get a job as an MFL teacher?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Shimona, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Shimona

    Shimona New commenter

    Hello!

    I am currently doing a PGCE to teach MFL although the only modern language I have is German. I am aware that the vast majority of posts advertised will ask for two languages - do I stand much of a chance of getting a job to teach only German? I am in Norwich at the moment and would like to stay in this area.

    I am doing an evening course in Spanish which started in September and will continue until the end of January, through which I hope to show myself willing to learn another language to be able to teach it. I would also be able to spend time on a course abroad, say in Spain, next summer. But I am still concerned that I am at a massive disadvantage by not having two modern languages.

    I did study Latin at university too, so I would also be able to offer this; however, ideally I would prefer to start my teaching career in a state school teaching German rather than in a private school teaching Classics. Otherwise I feel that there is a lot I am learning at the moment which is MFL-specific and which I would like to put into practice when I start life as an NQT. I also received a private education and would like to broaden my experience by teaching in a state school first of all at least and see where it takes me. At the same time I am conscious of the fact that in the current climate I can't be too choosy.....

    Any advice would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Theoretically speaking, yes, one language should be enough, but realistically speaking you are going to find it hard having just German. You will almost certainly be called upon to teach another language, probably French, which is the first language of most secondary schools.
     
  3. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    At university, I did German with subsidiary French. Only once have I managed to have a timetable which was 100% German and that was 19 years ago. There are very few German-only jobs, and virtually none of them in the public sector. Even the posts of lead teacher of German and head of modern languages require German specialists to offer something else. Even now, heads will want a second subject, usually but not necessarily another language, as there just isn't the demand. Spanish has been taking over from German in some schools because headteachers think it's easier to pass than German.
    Viel Glück!
     
  4. Well, I've got a joint honours degree in French and German and I recently took Spanish A level and I can't get a job so I think you really will need to work on your Spanish! It seems to me that a lot of schools (completely wrongly imo) are dropping German in favour of Spanish in my area (North West). Having said that, you may have the advantage of being young and cheaper to employ than me! Good luck and cast your net wide!
     
  5. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    If you have just French, you will find it easier to find a job than if you had just German. 2 of my colleagues have only one language whereas the rest of us can teach both French and German to at least GCSE standard. It can be a problem when timetabling and the teachers with only one language tend to get a majority of KS3 classes.
     
  6. Shimona

    Shimona New commenter

    Thank you everyone. The fact that you are all saying the same thing has made it crystal clear about needing another language.

    Thank you!
     
  7. In my (independent) school, most of the language teachers just teach one language. We don't even have a languages department - just separate Spanish and French departments.
    So you could try the independent sector, who might value a talented teacher even if they only offer one language.
     
  8. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I disagree with that last poster. In my independent all languages teachers teach two languages, bar one part-timer. The timetable simply doesn't fit with just one language. True, the second language taught is minimal, sometimes just one class, but it still offers flexibility.

     
  9. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I am not saying that all independent school MFL teachers teach just one language, just that in some schools (such as mine) it is possible.
    So the OP might have an option of getting a job with just one language, although I agree that offering two is always going to broaden your employment prospects.
     
  10. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    So you're one step ahead of these children with your learning of Spanish. 2 months in, a bright spark (and yes there will be some - they aren't all "academically low" by any means) says "Miss, why do you use "soy" there but "estoy" there and they both mean "I am"?" Can you explain confidently and, importantly, correctly?

    Teachers charged with KS3 in a language should have at least A'level in that language, IMHO.
     
  11. Although I hate to say it, for various reasons, I fear you are spot on about this, Geekie. If we are to dig languages out of the terrible hole they are in at the moment I agree that we need well qualified language teachers, and in more than one language. And the reason I hate to say it is because we are probably a long way from reaching that point, and unless government policy changes - and the coalition appears no better than previous administrations in this regard - nothing will change. I seem to remember a thread on this forum a while ago that talked about the qualifications needed to become languages teacher in other countries. Sobering, I seem to remember, in countries like Germany where you need a degree level qualification to teach any language.
     
  12. Right again, Noemie! In my experience you need more than one language to teach MFL in most independent schools, with only rare exceptions.
     
  13. Shimona

    Shimona New commenter

    Thanks everyone, all your comments are really useful. I am keeping next summer completely free so that I can arrange to go on an intense language course and in my applications I will certainly stress my willingness to learn another language.
     

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