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Teaching abroad with a PhD but no PGCE

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Thyraeus, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Thyraeus

    Thyraeus New commenter

    I'm new to this community. I'm wondering how easy it is to find a job abroad teaching history and humanities. I have a Cambridge degree, an MA and a PhD in History which I will officially have in February. However, I don't have a PGCE or QTS. I worked for 15 years abroad mainly teaching English with a TESOL but I also taught history and literature in Kuwait for a while. I then went back to academia for a few years. I'm in my mid 40's and it will take me 2 years to get on a PGCE course where I currently am ( in Northern Ireland) and graduate from that. I'm just here to ask your advice. Thanks for any responses.
  2. teachtronic

    teachtronic New commenter

    in my opinion you are more than qualified, in fact more than most teachers. In saying that, i'm not sure if not having a PGCE could be detrimental to your application as it is a well recognised teaching qualification.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  3. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    No one will question your subject knowledge. However, employment visas for schools may rely on having a teaching qualification. It will vary by country. Tertiary education will likely be more accommodating.
    Thyraeus and teachtronic like this.
  4. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    I know there are some countries where the lack of a PGCE may be a problem regarding visas, but there are many, many others where this would certainly not be an obstacle. Maybe applying to Search Associates might be a good idea -- since you're in the UK, I think it's free to sign up -- since they would be able to give you fuller information about restrictions you might face.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  5. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    International schools like private schools here love Phds. They would snap you up. It gives them academic credibility. I've never come across an international school that required a PGCE.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  6. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    A lot of schools won't even look at your application with QTS, plus the fact you teach a subject that isn’t short of teachers, we recently advertised for a history teacher and had 48 applications, 11 of which were very strong and shortlisted by the SMT, all of these had teaching qualification and teaching the subject in the UK, internationally or both, most had IB experience.

    At our school, even in you taught Physics and Computer Science (where it is really hard to recruit) you wouldn’t even get an interview with some sort of recognised teaching qualification from the UK, Aus, USA or Canada etc.

    I don't think it will be as easy, certainly to get into a decent school.
  7. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    The phrase should have been, ".... considering I don't have ANY formal qualifications to be a teacher, how hard would it be to find a job in my area of specialty?"

    When I want to go sky diving, do I take the advice of person with PhD in Physics and Aeronautics who have spent their lives reading and researching or instructor Joe Simpleton who failed his GCSEs but has jumped out of a plane and have fixed shoots and harnesses 100 times?

    Respect to the education and teaching sector..
  8. TusitalaH

    TusitalaH New commenter

    It is possible but you will need to be flexible regarding either location or tier/type of school (or probably both).

    I am in a similar situation to you, with a PhD in English and university teaching experience (and a CELTA) but without a PGCE, moving abroad with my partner who is a qualified and experienced teacher. We have both secured jobs in an IB school in China. There were many schools however that wouldn't have considered me due to not having the PGCE and QTS.

    I think moving with my teaching partner made it easier, but definitely sign up with Search Associates who I found very helpful, and who we ended up getting the job through.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  9. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    That's a bit harsh. He's clearly an extremely educated individual with classroom experience, not some random guy looking for a punt.

    Lots of schools who don't have the visa restrictions would be interested in someone with your education
    Thyraeus and miketribe like this.
  10. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    A lot of people are extremely intelligent. A lot of teachers are extremely intelligent with their BEd or PGCE. I also find gamers with thousands of hours behind the same simulator program Boeing and Airbus use very (very) skillful. But as an international teacher (like most of us) travel often... I really, really prefer my pilots going AND graduating from flight school.

    Why should the attitude be laxed for the teaching profession?

    I remember when TESOL or TFL made a backpacker a "qualified" teacher in China... China and the ME are finally moving forward and making sure international teachers have a teaching qualifications to qualify for a visa. That's something our community need to foster.
  11. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    OK - so setting aside that you would be a very strong rival to me and I really don't want many more history / humanities teachers on the circuit....

    If you're able to move to Scotland, get the PGDE there. You then would need to complete your probation year - you wouldn't qualify for the guaranteed year in Scotland, but you would be able to complete it by what's called the "alternative route" (getting your own employment.) This could be done either by supply in Scotland (a long process, potentially) or potentially by getting a job in an overseas school - preferably one which uses the English curriculum and offers IGCSE. You may need to check this with GTC Scotland, though.

    The other option would be to try to get a job teaching abroad and then complete the PGCEi when you get there. Some schools will allow you to do this for the kudos of having an Oxbridge PhD on their staff.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  12. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    Any idiot can teach, right? Who in their right mind would waste time getting qualified to do a job like that?

    OP you say it will take you two years to get onto a PGCE course in Northern Ireland. But you would easily get onto one in England and get the qualification in nine months. You could have started in September and be on your second term already. If you're committed to teaching, why haven't you done this?
  13. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    This is incorrect. Anyone who qualifies in Scotland is entitled to the probationary year. The SNP can't restrict it to people who are ethnically Scottish, however much they might like to.
  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    In my experience I have never come across a international school which would employ a teacher without a teaching qualification.
    I would add that no matter how highly qualified someone is, teaching is not something you can walk in off the street and do. I have seen lots of people with PHDs fail a PGCE.
  15. lovetoread1978

    lovetoread1978 New commenter

    We always insist on qualified teachers - this has been the same in the 3 international schools I have worked in.
  16. Jessaki

    Jessaki Occasional commenter

    I suspect he is not the PGCE route right now, because he is finishing his PhD, if you read his post, he says will officially be qualified in February.

    Still very harsh, he was just asking if international schools, like many independent schools, offer teaching posts to PhD graduates and since he already has some experience teaching English, this is not an unreasonable question. Having a PhD does not mean you will be a great teacher, but then neither does having QTS.

    OP, my advice would be, if you can face it, do the PGCE. Do it England if you are in a position to be able to move for the year. Getting QTS will only strengthen your application and the knowledge and experience will undoubtedly help you in your teaching career. One other advantage of the PGCE is that History and Humanities are not in demand, as Physics teachers, so although you have a PhD, you will be competing against teachers with teaching experience and QTS. However, there are some international schools that support the IPGCE, so if you were offered a position abroad, you could still get a formal teaching qualification (though this not recognised in the UK). There is no harm in putting in an application, but do consider a PGCE.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  17. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    When I first read this post, admittedly I was a bit taken back with the words ".......how easy".

    "Easy" because of the word equation of Cambridge + MA + PhD?! As sparklesparkle pointed out.... All that studying and research yet no passion to seek the correct qualification to be a teacher?

    My first posting was in Asia and was gobsmacked on the amount of "qualified" teachers going around. I guess I am with some of the posters here. It is great to read countries and (more and more) schools being accountable and actually asking for teaching qualifications for visa and contract requirements. I know a lot of countries bin off "online" qualifications as well.
    sparklesparkle likes this.
  18. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    It's a no brainer. 9 months to do a PGCE in England and have far less hassles with visas and recruitment. Yes some international schools will employ an unqualified teacher but generally on lower pay and far less choice of school.

    I have a PhD, Physics, have a CELTA as I did 2 years of TEFL, but even in Physics having QTS (and induction year) makes the recruitment far easier.

    Another issue is ageism. Like you I am in my 40s. Many international schools prefer younger teachers especially the better payers - the effect is more significant for teachers who trained when older. Being qualified helps negate this.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  19. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    i have worked with one guy that had a PhD and no teaching qualification. yes he knew his stuff, but the school did put him on the lowest pay they could, and made him complete an iPGCE while teaching. so it is possible, but its not going to be an easy ride.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  20. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    He doesn't have experience teaching English. He has experience in teaching EFL. I had a fair bit of EFL experience before I started my training and I can tell you for a fact that it isn't real teaching. So much so that it amounts to a different job. The OP will have no clue about classroom management, planning a scheme of work in their subject, assessing their subject or teaching to a curriculum. And unless I'm very much mistaken, Cambridge degrees don't teach this either. It would be highly irresponsible of a school to put this person in front of a history class. And it shows how little the OP knows about school teaching if they imagine they can just waltz into the profession with no training.

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