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PhD seeking advice on entering a teaching career

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by mrnjw, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Dear Theo
    Firstly a bit about me.
    I will be finishing my PhD in analytical chemistry during the first couple of months of 2013. I have known for some time now that i would like to teach either secondary of FE/HE but decided to complete my research as i always finish what i start and recognised the professional and personal benifits of completing such an oportunity. I have gained a great deal of teaching experience within classroom, laboratory and field environements, published works, and presented at numerous international conferences. I will be 31 years old when i finish my PhD.
    Can you please tell me.
    1. What are the qualification requirements for myself to enter the teaching profession? I believe i am able to start with my current qualifications, no PGCE?
    2. If i am correct on the first point, can i advance at the same rate as those teachers who hold PGCE's, i.e. can i undertake advanced skills assesment and also work towards head/deputy head positions? I am extremely ambitious and like to know what is required of me to achieve.
    3. On what positions on the pay scale would i expect to enter? This is obviously an important question for me as my PhD pays very little at present. Do the pay scales differ between secondary and FE/HE facilities? This may seem a simple question but i cant find an answer to this online.
    4. I believe chemistry is a priority subject. How would this affect me in my search for a position.
    Many thanks

  2. leftieM

    leftieM New commenter

    Look at the jobs that are advertised in Chemistry to see what you need to have to teach Chemistry.
    Your PhD is not taken instead of a teaching qualification. A PGCE is required for state schools. You can teach at private schools without one and you may be able to teach FE without one but for mainstream state schools it will be required. Jobs abroad are less likely to require a PGCE.
    You may be able to negotiate a higher salary. It depends on the job market. There is no automatic right to one however.
    I've found the main advantage in having a PhD is getting shortlised for jobs, although a 1st class degree may be more important here. I've been shortlisted for most of the jobs I've applied for but I've only got a permanent post since I gained experience teaching A-level.
  3. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Remember if you want to teach in state schools where they is, and please don't laugh other forum members, more stability and scope for career progression (okay time to stop laughing now!), you will have to get QTS via one of the schemes mentioned above.
    Teaching in state schools is very challenging. One of the most important qualities a good teachers needs to have is the ability to differentiate their teaching. Now I am not a science teacher so bear with me whilst I attempt to give examples, How are you going to engage children in learning say How to add chemical formulas like sulphuric acid to water to children who
    a. can not speak English
    b. State, 'Science is boring, I hate it!'
    c. Have severe learning difficulties and many many more (far too many to list)?
    Regardless of how impossible it is to do this, this is what teachers do and mostly all extremeley well every day hence the need for intensive training. All teachers are assessed on how well these children do regardless of what learning issues they have. There are many children that are not easy to keep engaged because they have very short attention spans and your job is making Science as easy and as interesting as possible for them. This is a <u>child centred </u>profession and we are constantly have to change the way we teach (government policies etc) in order to maximise every child's potential.
    You should try and do some volunteering in your local school to see how you feel about it. If you undergo any form of formal training, you will need exposure to a regular school with many and more of the examples I have given. There are jobs in the Independent sector and but in the grammar schools they are real harder to find (less grammars). You should already have an idea before you enter the profession of which sector you are looking to work for and why. Best wishes
  4. As others have said, you need a PGCE to teach in state secondary schools. A PhD may make you more attractive to potential employers, but having QTS and good references from the schools you did your placements in count for a lot - after all, you can have the most impressive subject knowledge in the world, but you need to be able to transfer this to a bunch of possibly disengaged students! Advanced skills teachers are being phased out and so you won't find many vacancies for these (and you would need to have some experience of teaching before you apply for these). The vast majority of NQTs start on M1 - there is small scope to negotiate higher if you teach a shortage subject (which chemistry may be; physics certainly is), but this depends on the area and school. I think you need to decide whether to go down the QTS route and train to teach in secondaries OR the HE/FE route in which case you don't necessarily need QTS. However, pay / pay progression / job security is not as good in FE I don't think. If you have a PhD then lecturing / teaching in HE sounds more appropriate, but it's whether you have a burning desire to teach more basic stuff to the nation's youth or not!
  5. http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/inspire If you joined inspire you would get all your PGCE fees paid and a bursary of &pound;16.5k. Inspire is only open to science PhD holders. Recently one graduate of this programme failed to have her contract renewed after a term at a local school, as well... Despite been passionate about education and teaching she couldn't teach. Secondary is a world away from demonstrating at university. However, going through Inspire did get her her first job and she is now working elsewhere. She also was chemistry.
    State schools have scale pay, FE pays less and less holidays. HE pays according to the university and position. I find it amazing that you have virtually finished your PhD and you don't know the latter. I am in the early stages of mine and I am very aware that I need to publish, teach (and I have had to do the teaching in HE course despite being a qualified in teaching for ten years) and make myself as attractive as possible. A PhD on its own is very little and I have meet a number of PhD holders working as lab tech in local schools... however we are close to four different universities.

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