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Primary or Secondary???!!! Aggghh!!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Cheapseatunderthestars, May 18, 2010.

  1. Apologises for the length of this post and the fact that I have posted it in Primary, History and Prospective Student Teachers forums, but I ‘really’ need some advice!! I’m just finishing the second year of a BA History degree, at the end of which I hope to undertake a full time PGCE. I had always thought (for some unknown reason) that I’d take the secondary route, but this year I decided that actually I should attempt to do some work experience in both primary and secondary, and that is exactly what I’ve done. The problem is, having done this, Instead of helping me firm my decision on what age group I want to teach, it’s served to confuse matters!!
    After my first primary day (KS2; I have no KS1 experience), I was so excited and enthusiastic I was almost jumping up and down. I loved the class I was in, the primary school environment was fun and bright, I enjoyed the fast paced environment in the classroom, the flexibility the teacher had to teach across the Curriculum and the variety of the day (Morning maths, some reading before lunch, geography and history in the afternoon etc). I loved it and I knew that I wanted to teach.
    My first day in secondary was very different. Initially it reminded me of everything I hated about school. The silly uniform rules and the teachers shouting down the corridor for you to walk at a certain pace etc. I wanted to give it a fair chance though, so I continued to go in. Year 7 and 8 so far have always been fun classes to be in, they participate a lot in class and their classes are not as structured as the later years when they’re sitting exams to set syllabuses. Personally, I also feel as though I am not intimidated by the younger secondary school pupils, whereas the older ones, I really am. As much as I loved seeing my favourite subject being taught in the classroom (history), I couldn’t help feeling that when the kids paid no interest in the subject, I as a teacher would feel disheartened. The teacher may have sat up till midnight planning a fun lesson which was not appreciated at all! This bothered me a lot. The other major problem that I had with secondary was that there wasn’t much flexibility in what you could teach, it’s set out for you either in the form of exams or by the Department. Having said all of this, I love my subject and I don’t think I’d bore of teaching it, I’d probably just prefer to teach aspects of it that I am extremely passionate about and not necessarily the subject matter that exam boards would like the children to learn.
    I should add, that I have done 2 weeks experience in secondary (part of the Student Associate Scheme and still have 1 week to do on that; primary I have 5 days experience so far, and a further 5 days to do in a few weeks)
    My local university offers a Middle Years PGCE in History; on it, you would train in KS2 and KS3. This was initially quite an exciting prospect and a solution to my thoughts, however having looked into this is more detail and having spoken to current PGCE students, I have been informed that at this competitive and busy time in teaching, I would be better to do a more specific and recognised PGCE , i.e. 11-18 PGCE in order to stand the best chance of gaining a secondary history job and a PGCE Primary for a primary job. This Middle Years PGCE is the only one in UK in my subject. Also, we no longer have Middle School’s in my area, therefore the only use I can see that it would be, is working in a 5-18 Academy (of which I only know of a few, but not in my area).
    I’m not asking for someone to tell me what I should do! But I am interested to know if anyone else has experienced this and if anyone could offer me some advice and thoughts on my thoughts!
    Many thanks in advance for your time!
  2. I did a key stage 2/3 pgce and ended up in primary, where I really wanted to be. I said at the time that I would never recommend middle years pgces to anyone who lived in a place where there were no middle schools; primary is extremely competitive and schools can afford to be picky. My placement primary school head said he wouldn't employ anyone with this pgce as they wouldn't have had enough experience across the primary age range. From what i have read in your post you want to do primary- so do a primary pgce!
  3. Hi guys,
    im fairly new here.
    Im looking to complete Student Associate Scheme for a primary school but I can't find any insititutions that provide the scheme for primary school.

    Where did you guys do yours?

    Many thanks for your help!!

  4. I did a secondary PGCE and am now in primary 2 years later- I was told that as long as the headteacher is convinced that you can do the job you have a chance.
    With a KS2/3 NQT year ( I did 1 term in secondary and 2 in primary), and having a specialism in a foundation subject, I'm now a class teacher.
    Remember that if you do 11-18 PGCE, and you don't enjoy it, a year that is already hard will be even more difficult if you're miserable, and just doing a primary PGCE when you're not sure, especially if a general primary, then it closes doors on teaching in secondary. I would say middle years is best- a friend of mine did it in MFL, and she's now a class teacher, as she did one placement in each type of school, then specialised in primary more.

    If you're only 2nd year as yet, you still have time to decide- spend more time in both settings, and see which you're happiest in, talk to the PGCE people at the university you're interested in, and talk to some head teachers at the schools you're doing volunteer/SAS work into see what they think. SOmetimes, you're more employable if you have a subject specialism, than if you don't.

  5. lots of good advice on here, but I disagree that with a Middle Years PGCE you cannot find a job in primary. I have twice, and I have a Middle Years PGCE in MFL. I think the disadvantage is that you're not trained for KS1, so there are less jobs to apply for - or if the school is looking for somebody who can teach across the age range, but then I never wanted to teach in KS1 anyway - cute as they are, it's not for me. For KS2 jobs I don't think it's a disadvantage, in fact it gives you an insight into where the children will be going, so you'd understand the importance of the right transition into secondary school etc. As for the choice between the school types, that was hard for me to decide, for very similar reasons as you're finding it hard. In the end I went with my instincts, ie where would I be happier.
  6. I did a BA in Upper Primary/Lower Secondary Education and have not had any problem in finding a job - rather, heads have been keen because I have a good understanding of the levels in Year 7/8...
    However I have applied for Year 6 positions and my specialism is mathematics so I don't know if that has made a difference for me.

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