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PGCE Quitters - How Did You Explain Quitting to Employers?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by MiruMe, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. MiruMe

    MiruMe New commenter

    It’s all in the title, really. I’ve recently quit my PGCE and am struggling to find a job in my previous industry despite loads of experience.

    I suspect it’s because a) the PGCE is so far removed from what I used to do before, employers are likely confused why I even went there and b) quitting never looks good.

    I understand it must look to them like I’ve been having this steady, stable career - then for whatever reason made an unpredictable sideways lunge to briefly dance with the unicorns - and now want back to sanity, but sanity won’t have me.

    My old job would probably have me back as they know I’ve been wanting to teach for quite a while and it would make sense to them that I tried it and decided it wasn’t for me. However, there is a reason I left that job and I don’t see myself going back.

    Problem: quitting your PGCE isn’t as easy to explain to potential employers. I’m not ever sure how to address it in my cover letter, let alone during the actual interview. Not that I actually scored any interviews. They probably see my unfinished PGCE and run. Leaving it out is not an option as otherwise it’s a huge gap that I’d have to lie to cover, and I’m not a good liar.

    So, fellow quitters. How did you address it with your future employers? How did you approach it in your cover letter? I’m lost as nothing I’ve tried seems to have worked.
  2. KEC72

    KEC72 New commenter

    I had a 20 plus years in industry but gave it up and did a secondary science PGCE in 2018. I absolutely hated it but toughed it out to the end and passed with a ‘good’ but there was no way in hell I was going to do my NQT; why would anyone in reality do a 70 hr week in a stressful environment for £24k, your house will be a pigsty and own family comes last? (Although very true, I keep that one to myself). In interviews I do always get asked about my “gap” and field the question saying this; ” that we generally we regret the things we don't do, not the things we do, I had always wanted to be a teacher, I’d set my stall out, did the conversion course and all the entry exams, got accepted on the course and despite all the hard work was mature enough to realise it wasn't for me - I have no regrets and it made me realise I preferred the career I left” seems to work.
  3. stanley4shoes

    stanley4shoes Occasional commenter

    didn't you quit 3 weeks ago? there's been 10 days or so where not a lot will have happened administratively in most industries in that time, for most people it will take a lot longer than that to find a new job, sorry
  4. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    I didn't quit mine as I just saw it as a means to an end but you sound like you are happy with your decision so fair play.

    It is probably best to be honest. Make it positive towards your previous industry rather than an attack on teaching e. g, the pgce highlighted to me that I prefer the routine/nature of job in previous industry. I gave teaching a go and decided that it wasn't for me. Also, what did you learn from your pgce which could benefit future employers? To be honest I don't think you should mention it at all as if it is an issue then it will be addressed at interview.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. unfoggingblogger

    unfoggingblogger Occasional commenter

    There's nothing wrong with stating that teaching isn't for you.

    It basically means giving up your entire life for 38 weeks a year.
    agathamorse and MiruMe like this.
  6. MiruMe

    MiruMe New commenter

    Wow, thanks, that is a neatly phrased explanation! Also, glad to hear you got out just in time!
    agathamorse and Shedman like this.
  7. MiruMe

    MiruMe New commenter

    You are right, it is (or was) Christmas - not a good time to be looking and in retrospect, not a good time to have quit. I am just freaking out a little bit as will need a job soon. Hopefully somebody gets back to me in January!
  8. MiruMe

    MiruMe New commenter

    Yeah, probably best not to mention it at all until they ask. Just concerned a little that if I don’t address it, some potential employers might be too confused to even invite me to the interview. Oh well - guess I will see. Thank you for your advice!
  9. stanley4shoes

    stanley4shoes Occasional commenter

    I don't think you need to hide it, as you've recognised it's there on your CV. I've quite an eclectic work history and although I've not quit anything in the middle have changed career and left a career at a point that looks a bit odd (ed to add, twice in fact, for different reasons) - but for very clear reasons. I've always just been up front about it.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Sell the positive. You did part of a PGCE. Do not ever sell the negative. Think about the skills you actually gained - even in the part you did.

    It isn't so much as you quitting as you then decided to 'broaden your horizons' and work with adults instead for example.
  11. JennyWoods

    JennyWoods New commenter

    Hi MiruMe,

    I saw your post and - being in your shoes - thought I'd share what I had said to employers.

    Regarding the CV, I still included the fact I studied the PGDE course (I wanted to highlight to employers that I had been busy with studies and training rather than them thinking I hadn't been doing anything productive with my time), but when queried about what qualification I achieved out of the course, I simply put "no formal qualification gained (training only)".

    At interviews, I mentioned studying the PGDE course (if it was relevant to the position) and when asked why I hadn't passed I simply answered "I realised in hindsight that I was more passionate about X/Y/Z (whatever position I was being interviewed for entailed)" or "after careful reflection, I realised teaching wasn't for me". But I would back up this statement with the positive feedback I received from my mentors during placements. Their feedback stating that I had a "natural" approach as a classroom assistant actually helped me gain a position as a learning assistant.

    So my advice would be: just be honest and emphasise any positive feedback you received from your mentors/tutor if that would be beneficial for the position you're applying for.

    Good luck!
    agathamorse likes this.

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