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Taking a break after PGCE

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by Ilovejumblesales, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    Hi there,
    I am about to start my PGCE, but already thinking ahead to my NQT year. For personal reasons I'm planning on starting work in the January, not September. This is partly to take advantage of an opportunity that's coming up, and partly because I don't want to do 2 full on years back to back.

    Will this be frowned upon by my course provider if I'm honest from the start? I know all the best jobs and most other positions will be filled by that time but I'm willing to take the risk. I've heard some NQT don't manage to get a job in September anyway but can find something by term 2. Does anyone have experience of this? Any advice or opinions welcome!

  2. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    It will be interesting how you will cope with teaching, then!

    Obviously, it’s up to you. The choice of posts will, as you say, be more limited in January. What will you do if you don’t manage to get one? How might the opportunity you speak of be viewed by prospective employers as a reason why you deferred starting your career? Are you committed to a career in teaching?
  3. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    Thanks for your reply ViolaClef. It's really useful to get an outside perspective and hear some of the questions it raises, especially of commitment to the profession.

    I could cope with rolling staight into NQT but I'm questioning what benefit there is to starting a 20 year career by completing arguably the two most difficult years back to back. It may well be that some employers will consider it a deal-breaker, and I suppose that means I would never have been a good fit at that school anyway.

    I think your question about my commitment to teaching is valid if other people generally take up a position as soon as they qualify and work for several years (or decades!) without looking back. I admire that level of dedication. My first 10+ years of working life has taught me not to make my job my number 1 priority, but I hope that by making time for interests other than teaching I'll have valuable experiences and skills which will ultimately make me a better teacher.

    Of course I will be in the minority not immediately looking for a job though, and probably something to be discreet about at the start of the course if I want to avoid giving the wrong impression.
  4. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    I think you've recognised that you may have less choice of posts but I certainly wouldn't see it as a deal breaker, especially if you can discuss at interview (or in the application form) why you didn't look for a post in the September. Some schools might even advertise for a Jan. start the previous academic year when they have anticipated vacancies eg mat. leave or retirement.
    MsOnline likes this.
  5. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    Lucy2711 that's a really good point about vacancies advertised for January. I hadn't planned on looking for teaching jobs at all but it will be worth keeping an eye out on the off chance. Thank you!
  6. MsOnline

    MsOnline New commenter

    Hi Ilovejumblesales, I've sent you a conversation.

    If your local job market is quite buoyant then you should be fine to do it at the right time for you.

    However, when you have your own class, it's easier to start with them in September because Jan. starts can mean unsettled classes.

    Re. your course provider, do they need to know your long term plans? You might even do your PGCE, fall in love with one of the schools, be offered a position and start your NQT year straight away. I think just do the course and keep an open mind.

    If you still aim to take a break after your PGCE, would you consider supply to keep a foot in teaching?

  7. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    MsOnline - thanks for your message, that's really kind of you.
    It's great to hear that there are options out there to start in term 2. My course provider is really involved with graduates in their NQT year, but you're right, I can keep an open mind and see how I get on. A lot will change between now and Sept 2020.
    Temping/supply work is a good idea, and that way I get to see a lot of schools. Actually spending a year or more as a supply teacher has been something I've been thinking about.

    This site has already been such a huge help and source of info. Thank you all for your advice. I think I'll keep my options open, see how the course pans out and how I feel a 6 months from now :)
    MsOnline likes this.
  8. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Well, that may be a good perspective, although I think teaching, especially at the start of a career, is a pretty all-absorbing profession. It certainly was for me, and remains very time-consuming ‘out of hours’. I am curious as to what has made you decide to go into teaching. I’m afraid I don’t think it’s a career I would recommend these days!
  9. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    I agree with the views expressed above. Note that waiting till January would leave a gap on your employment history which you should be willing to explain satisfactorily. Besides, January start means if you’re teaching exams classes, depending on what stages the class sets are, there could be pressure finishing contents in time before exams. Not a good place to be as an NQT.

    Commence your PGCE with an open mind, you could find you wanted to take up your first post straightaway. Most people look forward to having their own classroom, etc.

    Best of luck.
    agathamorse and MsOnline like this.
  10. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    In my current role there is always the temptation to do more prep, attend another conference, try a different style. I've become used to putting strong boundaries in place which means work stays at work - even if that means the work day is slightly longer than planned. I often allocate some home time to CPD or something creative, but my personal rule is that it must have a long term benefit. I suppose the reason that I'm going into teaching now is that I've run out of reasons not to do it. It was what I wanted to do in my 20s but I ended up following a different path, and after a few years it meant taking a big pay cut which I couldn't afford. I'm glad I waited until now as the experience I'm bringing with me into the job will make me a much better teacher than I would have made at 23.

    Dr Jay - I'm going into Primary teaching so I could well take over a class about to sit SATs and that's something I hadn't considered. Very good point.
  11. MsOnline

    MsOnline New commenter

    You're more than welcome - yes I've found the expertise on this forum to be impressive too.

    Dr Jay wrote a good point about exams. I should've asked - are you going for a Primary or Secondary PGCE?
  12. Ilovejumblesales

    Ilovejumblesales New commenter

    My course is a Primary SCITT with my first placement in KS2 :)
  13. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I wouldn't go into any job thinking of it in terms as 'the start of a 20 year career'.

    Teaching is not necessarily as stable as you think - schools close, merge etc. You can experience a lot of criticism for your teaching, and are held responsible for student results, which can lead to the untimely end of your contract with a particular school. And you just need to read the many threads on here about capability - as soon as you get too expensive (through too many years teaching) lots of teachers are hounded out. You may even, after a few years, want to move into a different area within schools, or within education.

    Regarding your plan to take a break between PGCE and NQT - unis also have to undergo Ofsted inspection, and are judged by the number of students in employment at the end of the course, so you can expect to face pressure from them to get a job. From the perspective of schools, they want someone fresh off the course because their knowledge is fresh.

    If you do take a break make sure it's something that makes your applications stand out. You could even use the experience to offer CPD to others once you have a job (e.g. if you're going to be volunteer teaching at a refugee camp, you could do CPD on the conditions and experiences of the children there to make your colleagues more aware of the issues when teaching refugee children).
  14. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    Just a couple of points (that partially link with other respondents' comments too)

    1) whatever you are planning on doing between September and December, make sure it is something that you can get a reference for/objective evidence of, as this may be important for jobs subsequently (safeguarding/safer recruitment purposes)

    2) the other issue with starting in January is that it is possibly more likely that you would only be offered a temporary two-term contract, which would mean you would then have to potentially find another school to complete your NQT year (and the crucial third term) - not necessarily an issue but just something of which to be aware....

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