1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

PhD but no PGCE: do I stand a chance?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by TusitalaH, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Apologies in advance for what will probably be quite a long, rambling post...

    I'm very new to TES but have trawled through this forum extensively trying to find all I can about teaching overseas. I feel I now need to ask some specific questions and would really appreciate some advice.

    My partner is a teacher with four years experience and has introduced the idea of working overseas (looking to September 2019). I'm extremely keen to go but I'm not a teacher. I'm nearing the end of a PhD in English Literature (also have BA, MA in English) and I've been teaching university seminars for two years. I have a higher education teaching qualification and plan to take a CELTA course in August.

    My partner has already posted here asking about the likelihood of me finding employment teaching english as a foreign language, if he is in an international school. He got some really positive responses, with people suggesting it might be possible for me to also gain employment in an international school, even without a PGCE or QTS. I was very surprised at this as all the job adverts I've seen request QTS and a couple of years experience. So I thought I would create an account for myself and double check what people think! I'm beginning to plan for post-phd and I didn't want to make some pretty key decisions without knowing as much as I can.

    As well as university teaching, I have experience designing and teaching secondary english lessons with an organisation that connects PhD students with schools that have low access to higher education. I know this doesn't equate at all to proper qualifications and experience.

    Basically I would like to know if people think I stand a chance? We are very open to where we go (although don't fancy the Middle East due to not being married). We're also aware we will likely be looking at more 'lower tier' schools due to lack of experience.

    Specifically I was wondering if anybody knows countries there is NO point in applying to, for reasons such as visa requirements? I know, for example, that China requires 2 years teaching experience, and was wondering if this will rule us out (or whether the university teaching could count)?

    I'd really like to hear what people think! If people say there's no chance that's OK - I will look into university teaching, english language schools etc. Teaching is what I would like to do and I am planning to come back to the UK in a couple of years and get properly qualified. However doing that now would mean delaying going away for at least two years, as I won't finish the PhD until December this year.

    Sorry for overloading you with information and thank you if you have read this far! Any advice would be very much appreciated.
  2. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Occasional commenter

    There are some non-Brits at the school I work at in the UAE (lower tier, mostly local students but international curriculum) that have PhDs and they get paid more for having a higher level qualification (or at least the top of their pay scale is higher). I genuinely don't know if they have a relevant teaching certificate as well, my guess would be at least one of them doesn't but the other two probably do (based on their approach and the small amount of classroom management etc I've seen of them).

    The lady I share my desk in the staff room with is moving to a Uni job from September and I think if you can I'd choose that option. Her salary will be almost identical but she will have considerably fewer contact hours each week, and longer vacations.

    edit to add: I know a few people here in teaching an non teaching roles that live together and aren't married but it is definitely a risk.
  3. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    With a CELTA and the rest of your qualifications and experience I would certainly be happy to interview you for a position here in China (currently kindergarten principal although that is due to change again in August :)) It all depends what age you want to teach and where. At the very least I would certainly send off some applications. The very worse that can happen is that you don't get an interview.
    However many schools recruit for August so with you finishing in December it limits your chances (I think Australian school years start in January though)
  4. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    1. Choose a country
    2. Husband gets a job at International School

    3. You get a job working at a university nearby.
    selbelle likes this.
  5. Anon (2018)

    Anon (2018) New commenter

    Firstly I would say not to sell yourselves short! With a strong CV and four years of experience, there is absolutely no reason not to gain a role in a Tier 1 school straight off the bat. I know many people who have.

    Secondly, I don't think it would be likely for you to gain a job before you move out to a country. However, once there, if your partner is in a good school you will find that they really look after you and would be willing to go out of there way to find you a role. It may mean working as a TA for a year and building up. I have several friends whose partners have been able to gain an opportunity within a school within about a year and are now completing teacher training alongside this.

    In many countries, you would find it extremely easy to live on one wage for as long as needed!
  6. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Thanks for your reply! From what I had read about the UAE I thought they were particularly strict on qualifications for the visas, so that's interesting to hear. I've had a brief look into university teaching but can't seem to find places where they are advertised... international school teaching seems much more straightforward in terms of recruitment.
  7. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Well that's very encouraging! I would be looking at secondary age, simply as I have zero experience with younger children. Do you know by any chance whether I would have trouble with the visa due to my experience not being in secondary education?

    We are not looking to start this August but August 2019, so I will have finished the PhD for a while then. Although do you mean it would be difficult to get interviews after January - do schools fill their jobs before this? Thanks for your reply!
  8. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Amazing, thanks. I would be very willing to complete some more training while out there (wherever that may be!).

    The only thing I'm worried about in the scenario you suggest is whether I would be allowed to work in many places if I haven't secured a working visa before entering the country?
  9. Anon (2018)

    Anon (2018) New commenter

    Hi, the school would help you to get a visa; I think your best strategy is to focus on getting your partner a role in a top school. The top schools really look after their staff and their families! I have worked in countries where visas were reasonably difficult to get, yet trailing partners (some without experience in working with children even!) were able to get visas and work within the school. Since you are so highly qualified in your subject area, I don't see that it would be a problem. I would double-check for individual countries though.
  10. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Ohh okay - great advice, thank you!
  11. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    Some schools start recruiting very early on for the following year. At the moment I don't think you will have a problem with the visa as they just focus on the degree qualification. It's not like the Middle East where your degree must match tyour teaching qualification
  12. Mr_Frosty

    Mr_Frosty Occasional commenter

    I hear about strictness for qualifications and visas but I've never met or personally heard of anyone who has had an issue - obviously that's a tiny sample size though.

    My colleague just looked on the Uni websites directly, I'm not sure if there is a central website that lists them? I do know from her search that NYU Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University and Abu Dhabi University all have vacancies at the moment and Zayed University had quite a few roles advertised earlier this year.
  13. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Great, thanks for the advice!
    If anybody else has come across teachers with PhDs but no PGCEs I'd love to hear about it, and the country it was in. Equally if anybody can tell me countries there is no point applying to that would be helpful!

    We won't really be looking at the more (from what I've heard) competitive countries like Singapore, HK. We really are open to anywhere though, although of course we would do our research before going. I've seen a couple of jobs advertised in Mongolia which would be an interesting first post abroad!
  14. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    It isn't anywhere near that simple, I'm afraid.

    OP, do any of your degree certificates say 'English Language' on them? If so, you stand a chance without any further study.

    If they don't, your best route is to do a Masters in Applied Linguistics, English Language or TESOL. (Some of these courses are now offered online.) This will enable you to teach English for Academic Purposes and is probably more up your street than a PGCE. This will give you many more options than looking for a job teaching English Literature. Jobs are advertised on the usual academic jobs sites. Your best bet will be China or the Middle East, though not being married might rule the latter out.

    A CELTA will give you lots of options in terms of teaching in a school, a language school or private tuition. A DELTA would be even better, though they take 3 months full-time and cost almost as much as an online degree.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  15. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Thanks for your reply! Sadly no, all my degree certificates are firmly 'English Literature'.

    I wasn't really considering university jobs, as all the English Lit ones I've seen advertised in international universities are for Assistant Professor or Senior Lecturer, which will be out of my league as a recent PhD graduate. I'm also a bit over the research side of it to be honest, and teaching only jobs are rarely advertised.

    I am planning on doing the CELTA in August, and seeing what jobs I can get with that. My partner will apply to international schools and mention me (as he's been advised on here). Some people have suggested there's a chance international schools in some countries will hire me (as an English teacher) based just on my PhD, higher ed teaching experience and CELTA.

    I'm not very fussy though. I will teach in language schools if necessary or maybe private tuition, as you say. We're just keen to get out there and experience it.

    The ultimate plan is to come back to the UK in a couple of years and I'll do a PGCE (or equivalent) then. Then teach internationally again a couple of years later (rough idea - who can really plan that far ahead).

    Teaching is what I would like to do and I've become a bit disillusioned with it in academia. So much pressure is put on research output that teaching is often neglected, or good teachers aren't valued. I have loved my PhD (and was funded to do it, so haven't lost out financially), but I want to focus on teaching and have loved the experience I've had in secondary schools. I'm planning to get as much more of this as possible between finishing the PhD and leaving the UK.

    So I was really just curious if anybody had come across teachers with PhDs but no QTS in international schools, like you occasionally get in private schools in the UK.
  16. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    This is not true for South Korea. ^
  17. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    A CELTA would allow you to work in Language schools in most countries, and would probably allow you to get a visa in your own right. It may even be enough to get you work as a TA/support teacher (perhaps, given your speciality, with some A level Literature co-teaching) in many International Schools - I agree with the posters that say you partner needs to find the job first, then send the school your CV and ask if there's a role for you. My wife can't boast of a PhD, but her BA in English and CELTA were enough for the school I work at to offer her part-time work teaching Cambridge exams and some media work...

    Good luck!
  18. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Being on the ground is your best bet. As others have said you should be able to trail with your partner and then take it from there. Your experience + CELTA should make you quite employable, as long as you're flexible/open to ideas. Positions become available at the last minute (it was that which got me into school teaching), cover is required, all sorts of things happen. Good luck on your adventures!
    TusitalaH likes this.
  19. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestions! All very much appreciated.
  20. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    In that case, they are teaching language skills rather than EAP.

    OP, a CELTA would give you lots of options in schools, language schools, the British Council, private tutoring and possibly universities. If you have an HEA teaching fellowship, don't forget to emphasise this in your applications.

Share This Page