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Life after PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by eyenose1, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. eyenose1

    eyenose1 New commenter

    Hello all

    I have some questions about life after PGCE to help me decide if teaching is a career for me. I had assumed that having completed PGCE, one becomes a fully qualified teacher. However, I realise now that a NQT year must be completed in order to become a fully qualified teacher. Reading through various forums including that of tes, I gather that the NQT is more challenging than PGCE and getting a fixed term or permanent job right after PGCE is challenging. Furthermore, many may even fail NQT.

    So my question is if someone fails NQT or doesnt complete it within the required time, do they loose their chance of being a fully qualified teacher forever? And how easy is it to find a place for NQT if one is relatively flexible with location? Then, how easy is it to find a permanent job after being fully qualified? Secondary biology is what I want to teach.

    I am serious about going into teaching- although I do not have any teaching experience, I really feel that I will be a good teacher and will enjoy being one. While growing up, teaching was one of the choices in my list of careers that I wanted to do. I have just been offered a PGCE place. I am aware that teaching is a very demanding job, but I do not want to enter the training if I am going to struggle finding a position. I am
    already changing my career for a more stable and guaranteed job- I have an academic background and have decided not to go for a postdoc. I am not very young and have a family so I want to invest all of my energy into one career now. The other option I had though was civil service job which is very stable. Now I am starting reconsider if I should go for civil service job due to the job security.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    What do know about the demands of the job? Do you know teachers work 60+ hours per week? They also work during holidays. Do you have recent experience working with teenagers? When was the last time you were in a secondary school?

    Many teachers leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying mainly because of workload and the appalling behaviour in some schools. Working in a lot of secondary schools is nothing about teaching, but more about policing classes ensuring students stay in the room and don't hurt anyone else.

    Teaching in a decent school can be rewarding but if you get in a terrible place, it can destroy you mentally and physically.

    Try to get some e/patience actually working in a school either paid or as a volunteer before you make up your mind.

    Reaaly, teaching in the UK state system is nothing like you probably imagine it to be.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Oh dear. yes, I fear that there is a lot of truth in what pepper5 has written. I have spent the last twenty years teaching in various countries around the world and I would never consider going back to teaching in the UK.
  4. teachingmatters1

    teachingmatters1 New commenter

    'Life after PGCE' for myself involved completing my NQT year +1 and then escaping overseas as working in the UK was absolutely dreadful.
    'I want to invest all of my energy into one career now' - This may come back to haunt you as you spend evenings and weekends up to your eyeballs in work and forget what having a life is...
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    No, this is incorrect. Once you complete your PGCE, you get a qualification called "QTS", which stands for "Qualified Teacher Status" - so you are a qualified teacher. If you want to go on to teach in a British state school, you need to successfully complete an induction period, which is three terms of teaching full time (or the equivalent if teaching part time). This is commonly known as the "NQT year". If you don't want to teach in a British state school - you could work in an independent school, or abroad - then you don't need to complete induction. Whether you do or you don't, it doesn't affect your QTS - either way, you are a qualified teacher.

    I would say both are challenging, but in different ways. The PGCE is challenging because it's your first experience of teaching so everything is new and there is lots to learn. But because you are just learning, you have lots of support and the amount of teaching you have to do increases gradually - so to start off with, you'll be observing a lot and teaching a little, building up over the year to teaching 60-80% of a full timetable. The NQT year is challenging because it's your first full year of teaching and it's the first time you have responsibility for a class. You have a mentor who supervises your planning and does lessons observations every so often to check how things are going, but mostly you are on your own and teaching 80% of a full timetable straight away.

    I wouldn't say it's any more challenging to get a job as a teacher than any other job. Obviously a lot depends on location and the subject you teach (some subjects are more popular to teach than others, so there tend to be more applicants for a position), but generally I wouldn't say the majority of people struggle to get a job, unless they are inflexible about location or for some reason receive a poor reference from the PGCE.

    Of course it's possible to not successfully complete the NQT year, but it is rare. Mostly, if you aren't doing well, you will leave before the end of the year, and try again elsewhere (perhaps after doing supply for a while to gain more experience, or taking some time out to deal with mental health or families issues that might have been affecting you, etc). If you were to fail to complete the year successfully, you would be barred from teaching in a British state school (I believe for life, but the rules may have changed). However, you would not lose your QTS, so could still teach in an independent school or abroad. There is currently no time limit on how long you have to complete the NQT year.
  6. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Just choose the school that's right for you.
  7. observer1

    observer1 New commenter

    I'd normally say do some voluntary work and see what you think of the school environment. The reality a that you'll never know until you actually teach, plan, mark and assess and then mark and assess some more. Take **** from kids. Deal with awkward management and maybe even awkward parents.

    You never know till you do it. The only thing I'll say is a lot of people leave and there is a reason for the shortage of teachers. It's not so much teaching as it is pushing for grades and targets.

    It's not in a good place right now.
  8. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Well I spent two years post PGCE in UK, nearly didn't leave due to a woman I was thinking of marrying, but wanderlust got the better of me.

    UK teaching is way to varied to generalise. Hell holes to where kids complain you don't do enough exam questions in class (usually selective girls schools).

    But one constant is the change and BS from government.

    Abroad less BS, less work, more pay (I get the equivalent of a 100,000 gross salary just as a teacher) and far better kids on average.

    But I wanted to work overseas as I came back to UK to train simply to work overseas more securely - after TEFL in a primary school that made me realise I like kids.

    The real issue is do you like working with kids? After that it becomes an issue of what sort of school do you want to teach in?

    I assume you have a PhD. So do I and it is a bonus to more academic private schools especially if from an elite Uni. It is a bonus for sixth form teaching especially IB.

    So think about that.

    I felt my PGCE was easy, older people often do as more organised and resilient. NQT year was harder as often you get no real support in tough schools. Apart from I was told "great your back (Jan) that's good as many NQTs run away...."

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