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On becoming a history teacher

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by HBox1983, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. HBox1983

    HBox1983 New commenter

    I am a career changer (I used to be a lawyer) but now am I halfway through a two-year PGCE specialising in Young People and Adults. I currently teach A Level Law part-time in a local sixth form college.

    Despite my professional background and my current job, I do not want to teach Law (A Level or otherwise) in the medium to long term. I would much rather teach history (my degree is in history) and whilst I have applied for several history teacher jobs, I am conscious that I don't any experience teaching history and, indeed, this is what prospective employers tell me.

    My questions therefore as follows:

    1. how do I get experience of teaching history if most schools/colleges want experience first? (To me, this seems a bit of a circular argument.)
    2. To what extent am I limited by my previous teaching experience and employment history?
    3. Does anyone have any general advice in how I might best move sideways into a history-teaching role?
    Ta ever so!
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    When you say your PGCE is in Young People and Adults, can you speak to the provider and see if you can swap to a history PGCE?
    Or for next year teach some history in your teaching practice schools?

    Would your college consider you for some history teaching, since they already know you and your work?

    If you are only half way through a two year course, why are you applying for posts at all? No one is advertising for September 2020 yet.

    And two years ago you were applying for Latin teaching jobs and said you were qualified????
    (See thread here.)
    patternandsurface likes this.
  3. HBox1983

    HBox1983 New commenter

    That post should have read: "I am a career changer (I am a qualified lawyer)". For the record, I am not a qualified teacher.

    Thank you for your reply. My answer to your questions are in bold above, ta. Hb
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Your best option might be to find a similar role for next year until your qualify. Then, once you have that, start looking for opportunities to do bits of history alongside law and gradually build up that way.

    If your employer are paying for the two year course, but you are only on a one year contract, are you looking for a school who can (and will) pay for the remainder of the course and support you with training? this is very different to merely applying for teaching roles.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    As a head of history, I can advertise and get some good candidates. I don’t have any need to recruit someone with a bit of a maverick training route??

    If you wanted to teach history, I’m
    Unsure why you chose this route? What are you actually teaching in the PGCE? What age group?
  6. HBox1983

    HBox1983 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply.

    My career history is too long and circuitous to explain it here, however suffice to say that when I left private practice, I was offered a job teaching A Level Law at a local further education college. I did that for two years and then moved to my current job (also teaching A Level Law) where I began my PGCE in Young People and Adults. I would have preferred to teach history and do a PGCE in it, however no such opportunities presented themselves and given that I had (and continue to have) debts to pay and a family to look after, my current route seemed the most cost-effective way of becoming a teacher. Thinking more long term, I don't wish to continue teaching the law hence my asking the question above.

    I teach three mixed-ability classes of 16 - 18 year-olds, comprising about 60 learners in total.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Are you only qualifying to teach post 16? You may not be able to change that easily, as you will be going straight into A level. I would say, in a normal secondary school, swapping around between subjects is very common at a lower level, often not even voluntary! so if you can get work in a normal secondary school, then opportunities to teach in other subjects are likely to arise.

    If not, how about supply? You could get work as a temporary history teacher through a supply agency even for a week or two, to start building up experience?
    sabrinakat likes this.
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Your problem is that to teach history, most cut their teeth in ks3. You’ve got no experience of it, so automatically I’d discard your application as you wouldn’t meet the essential criteria.

    A sixth form college may go for you, but again, with no history teaching experience, you’d have to go up against a weak field and you just don’t get that often in this subject.

    I’d stick with law personally where your work experience is a massive plus over others
  9. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Supply is your best way to get ks3/4. But it could be a long and ultimately fruitless path.

    Unless you are looking at KS5 only- and with no legacy in teaching the subject it’s hard- then you need experience at that age group

    Were you a physics or maths grad wanting to teach that, I’d say a school would take you on. In history though, I don’t see it. Unless you do several years of supply and fall on. Up to you though if you feel the path, that mightn’t lead there, is worth it. Career wise and financially
  10. Kateray1

    Kateray1 Occasional commenter


    My daughter had a similar problem in that she had a degree in history and took qtls at college lecturing History there.

    It took a couple of schools but she finally secured a history teaching post in secondary ed.

    I see you want to change subject as well as age group, I would start as previously mentioned with college students doing an increase of History hours. Get your qtls and then start applying for school work or supply in school.

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