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Reality Check

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Sycamore123-321, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Sycamore123-321

    Sycamore123-321 New commenter

    I’ve recently joined this forum to get a bit of advice/ a reality check! I’ve spoken to a few careers advice people but I thought it might be better to ask actual teachers.

    I have just finished a level 4 qualification in accounting. I left school part way through sixth form, due to family reasons and sort of fell into accounting. I decided quite a while ago that it wasn’t for me, however have stuck out the qualification.

    I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was tiny, however I thought until recently that my lack of A levels would stop me.

    I’ve since found out that I can do a credit transfer for my qualification for the business/ business with a language degrees at open university, or also potentially do a top up degree in accounting. I would also have the options of an access to he course and then open University in a different subject.

    I have the benefit of being able to speak french quite well, so a business and language degree, with credit transfers, hopefully shouldn’t take to long. I will have to study part time as I have a mortgage, however I have just turned 21 so believe I would be classed as a mature student and possibly able to get a student loan.

    I basically need to know, for the following situations, would it be worth it? As in, how likely am I to get a job at the end of the studying.

    The first option would be to do either the open University business and french degree, and then apply to train to be a french teacher. I’m not sure, however if my lack of french A level would be a problem. I could also do the top up degree purely in accounting, and then do a french A level alongside, however I don’t know if then I would struggle not having a degree in french. I could maybe also do the open University degree alongside a french A level.

    The second option is to do the same training, and apply to be a primary school teacher, which is what I really want to do. I think that with how competitive it is, I don’t really stand a chance, as I would have no a levels, and only half a degree in a proper subject.

    I’m also really conscious of how long it will take to train, as I will really struggle long term with a large pay cut, and i can’t risk training for the next however many years, and then not getting any work at the end of it.

    I currently volunteer with the brownies, and I have work experience lined up in my annual leave next year.

    Realistically, what are my chances of becoming a teacher? I’m assuming that I’ll have a better shot at being a french teacher, but I maybe need to have a total career rethink!

    Thank you!
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    When you say you 'speak french quite well', what does that mean? How well? There's a difference between speaking it, and understanding its grammatical intricacies (not to mention, being able to impart them). You'd be expected to interview, in French, for the PGCE, and for teaching jobs, so your speaking skills would need to be excellent. Perhaps you're being modest, but your phrasing just doesn't sound confident here!

    As you haven't studied French A-level, I'm not sure you appreciate the amount of subject knowledge you'd need in order to teach it. The French A-level requires you to teach French literature, as well as culture and language. I'd definitely suggest studying the A-level yourself, if possible. The French GCSE, meanwhile, requires students to translate something. I guess you might cover some/all of these skills in the degree, but at the moment you're saying you want to teach French because you speak it quite well, but do you also understand the culture, and read French literature? If not, what if you encounter these things for the first time on the degree, and hate them, or struggle with them yourself? It seems like you're doing things backwards - deciding on being a French teacher, before studying it.

    Schools usually expect MFL teachers to have more than one language. They go through trends, sometimes favouring German or Spanish. If you can only teach French, I'm not sure about your employability. It depends where you live, though.

    If you're more interested in primary, why train to teach French? It would be possible to change, once qualified, as long as a Head somewhere would be willing to give you a chance, but it seems like a lot of hassle to me. Primary is so different to secondary - you need entirely different subject knowledge, each year group or key stage is totally different, the schools are run quite differently, etc.

    Also, I'm not sure that MFL is less competitive than primary, especially if you're up against people with language A-levels and joint French and Spanish degrees.

    I would definitely suggest spending time in both primary and secondary schools, and asking the host teachers about teaching.
  3. Sycamore123-321

    Sycamore123-321 New commenter

    Thank you so much, that’s an incredibly helpful reply!

    I would say I am fluent in conversational french, but looking deeper into it, I probably don’t have the required knowledge to teach. I’m sure I’d do a good job teaching conversational french, and I’d be happy to interview in french, but grammar is maybe something I’d need to work on!

    I was mainly considering this as a second option as I was told it would be very unlikely to get a job teaching primary school with an accounting degree. I have signed up to do A levels next year part time, so that will help I hope, and I am looking into the open university open degree, to see if I can maybe have accounting with education.

    Thank you again for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    You're welcome!

    Good luck - I'm Open University alumni, and enjoy studying with them.

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