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Should I go for the PGCE?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Youngone12, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. Youngone12

    Youngone12 New commenter

    Hi there. I am new to TES and any advice you can give would be much appreciated :)

    Basically, I have been offered a place to study a PGCE Primary (3-7) in September this year and I am unsure whether to go for it. The main reason being is that I am unsure whether I actually want to go into teaching; however, I am certain that I want to work with children. I was wondering if having a PGCE would be helpful in the long run, even if I don't become a Primary School Teacher. My other interests regarding working with children include SEN and forest schools. Would doing the PGCE be worthwhile in my situation?

    Obviously, another concern is the heavy workload that comes with the PGCE. I understand that this is reflection of what it will be like within the teaching profession; however, I don't want to totally lose my social life due to the unmanageable workload. I should also point out that I will be moving away from home if I were to accept the offer and am a little worried about being homesick too. I have previously left a uni course due to home sickness, however, this was 4 years ago and I have grown up a bit since then.

    Seeing as I have been offered a place on the PGCE, I certainly don't want to regret not going for it in the future. I am in my early 20s so it's certainly the best time to do it if I can. I am finishing off my degree in Early Childhood Studies at a local college, so I already have this qualification anyway.

    Thanks for your help/advice in advanced.

  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    As you don't sound sure what you want to do for a career, doing the PGCE would give you an extra year to decide on your next step. You might find that you enjoy teaching, but if not, at least you'll know that you definitely want to explore other options.

    There is a lot of work involved in the PGCE, but it is not unmanageable if you stay organised and don't let the 'to do' pile build up. As for potentially feeling homesick, it might be a good chance to try out living away from home again, as you know the PGCE is just a year long (which, of course, is quite a long time if you do feel homesick, but at the same time you know there is an end in the not-too-distant future).

    Good luck with your decision and during the course, if you decide to go for it!
  3. Youngone12

    Youngone12 New commenter

    Thank you for your advice! I still need pass my numeracy QTS test first, but I will make a firm decision in the next couple of months about what to do :)
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi youngone12

    I would suggest that you get some experience of working in a primary school before you decide to do a primary PGCE. That way you would know exactly what you are getting into. You would have a realm insight into the working conditions, the challenges, and work loads real teachers face.

    Teaching is a grueling profession and many teachers leave within the first 5 years.

    Why don't you finish your degree, get say a few months experience in a school, then decide whether or not to do your course.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I agree with @pepper5 above. I would get some further work experience before making a call that you are clearly unsure about. I don't really think you should be using a PGCE as a tester to see if you want to potentially do the job. It is unfair on you, as you are paying for it, the school who would mentor you, and other students who may miss out for you.

    You are still young. You don't have to jump into anything that you are potentially unsure about.
  6. oHelzo

    oHelzo Occasional commenter

    Having a PGCE/ QTS is very useful to open doors up for you with education experience, working with children etc. I suppose the only difficulty would be if you then chose to go into an environment that required yet further specific training or qualifications. As above, perhaps some work experience in a few different environments might give you an idea, although volunteering can be very different to a full time job even in the same workplace.
  7. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    PGCE/QTS only opens up doors if you do the NQT year. If you do a PGCE and then decide not to teach, questions could be asked as to why you did it.
  8. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    If you do a specialist subject degree then decide to make a parallel move into a career that can make use of the skills learnt then no one would question your choice of degree.
    Only by doing a PGCE will you know if it is for you although I do agree with getting some experience in schools before embarking on the course but it might be that the experience of studying for the PGCE changes your view again. Once you have the PGCE you have the option to go into teaching as an NQT...or not. You will have the qualification and its your choice how you progress with it presuming you dont want to look for work after you graduate rather than continuing to study. You could always do the PGCE at a later stage in your life.
  9. Youngone12

    Youngone12 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for their advice!

    I have had some experience within Primary Schools (mainly KS1) via. placements for my degree, and I'm still undecided. I am currently volunteering in a childcare environment (not in a mainstream school), which as made me consider the fact that I enjoy working with children, though not necessarily the teaching/school side of things.

  10. oHelzo

    oHelzo Occasional commenter

    Depends where you're going and what you're doing. My current employer wouldn't know the difference between PGCE, NQT or QTS but does want someone with the ability to plan and run training sessions. Outside of schools, nobody really cares. You're right, the question was asked at interview why I did it: it seems 'I wanted to try something different' is an appropriate answer o_O
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Correct. Which is why I said that if you do a PGCE - hence getting a professional qualification, and then choose not to use it, the question could be raised as to why you spent a year doing it.

    I'm glad it worked out for you. It doesn't necessarily work out for everyone.
  12. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    If you aren't sure if you actually want to teach, I'd say try and get more experience in a school for a year. Perhaps as a TA or cover supervisor.

    As a mentor, I've had to support (and what I mean in this situations is drag) student teachers to the end of their training years who have ended up unhappy and lacking motivation because they weren't actually sure it's what they wanted to do. Experience tells me that people who do the training year because 'it'll be good to have' or something to fall back on rarely end up being successful.
  13. Teapot345

    Teapot345 New commenter

    There's no time to be homesick in my experience as a current PGCE student who relocated continents. I have largely had to give up my social life but it's all about creating a sensible balance and I have a very supportive partner too which probably helps.

    This term has been by far my busiest with assignment deadlines and increased teaching hours. I've had to cover my mentor the last couple of weeks too which has been quite tiring but I see it as good prep going forwards.

    I am mid-30s and I've worked around the mill a bit to establish this is really what I enjoy and want to be doing so that's my motivation, but just thinking back to dull, monotonous, call centre/office days is enough! You are still young, if you're really not sure at this stage give something else a try for a bit. If all it does is give you one year (or more) of broader experiences and makes you think "I wish I took that PGCE place" then you've learnt something and I'm sure you'll be able to apply again when the time is right.
  14. Youngone12

    Youngone12 New commenter

    Sorry about the lateness in my reply but I wanted to thank everyone for their advice, it has all been very helpful to me!

    Just to keep you updated, I have decided that I probably won't undertake my PGCE offer this year (though I haven't told the university this yet). I'm going to gain some experience in other areas that interest me aside from education, and if I want to reapply for the course in a couple of years time, I will!

    However, I appreciate that teaching is an incredibly stressful career, especially nowadays. I know someone who recently completed their NQT year and has left teaching already due to the pressures teaching brings...and this person was really dedicated when they completed their teacher training. So perhaps teaching isn't for me right now.

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