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Teaching abroad with a PhD but no PGCE

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

  1. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I've read these comments with interest because I can tell you that some of the international schools in Spain and Cyprus are packed with unqualified teachers. In fact I've been in schools where there were more unqualified than qualified staff. These people didn't have Phds and in some cases didn't have degrees. Private schools can hire who they want. QTS is only a requirement of state schools and some of them are getting around this by hiring 'instructors' or 'tutors'. I think it depends on the nature of the school you are looking at. The above posts must be from people at top International schools. I think with your qualifications you will find a job. The little schools in Spain are constantly trying to convince prospective parents that they have well qualified teachers. By having Dr.s on the staff they gain some credibility regardless of QTS.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  2. Jessaki

    Jessaki Occasional commenter

    Yes, I am aware the OP's teaching experience is EFL. Just because your EFL experience doesn't equate at all to your current classroom teaching experience, doesn't mean it's the same for the OP. How do you know they didn't have to prepare lessons to a SoW or assess work? I have plenty of colleagues who have taught both ESL and NC subjects in schools in the UK and abroad and their experience of both varies greatly.

    While, I would always advise anyone thinking of teaching to do a PGCE, your assumption that the OP has 'no clue' is incredibly condescending. The OP is a mature student, with life experience, as well as academic qualifications, this is a whole lot different to a 25 year old postgrad, who went straight from BA to MA to PhD.

    The OP still asked a fair question based on his personal circumstances, to which most people encouraged they do a PGCE anyway, but your reaction was still incredibly harsh and reminds me that this forum is not always as supportive and approachable as it ought to be.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  3. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    The OP's mistake were using the words, "....how easy." This smacks arrogance simply because they can use Cambridge + PhD + MA all in one sentence. The UK has bred these "special" people from one of their fast track schemes with courses that lack developmental psychology, educational studies, teaching pedagogy et al.

    I had a banker friend whom, after the GFC had to rethink his career. Did his UK approved Fast Track course, "How hard can it be?!" He said (a Cambridge graduate). This rugby built man had a nervous breakdown after 3 weeks because his class got to him. Needles to say, he didn't go back.

    Teaching is NOT easy. All teachers must be appropriately qualified. A PhD studying sub-atomic particles or the rise and fall of the Ottomans or Persians from Oxford, Cambridge, MIT (whatever) is not a teaching qualification. I will say it again, "Thank goodness, schools are more accountable these days. That countries such as China and parts of the ME is finally waking up to being ripped off by western "qualifications"... "
    sparklesparkle likes this.
  4. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    For heavens ‘ sake, he wasn’t asking how easy TEACHING was, but how easy it would be to get a teaching job with his qualifications.

    Over the past 49 years, I have encountered many “fully qualified” teachers with BEds or PGCEs who could spout the latest educational theories — and there’s ALWAYS a new one! — to experienced teachers in the most condescending manner but whose class control was negligible and whose exam results were little short of scandalous. However, I would NEVER suggest that ALL teachers with such qualifications were useless, as James seems to be suggesting with regard to Oxbridge PhDs...
    JL48 and Thyraeus like this.
  5. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    In your 49 years of experience. Now in 2018. Would you say that the OP is a QUALIFIED humanities or English teacher? The answer is NO..... That is the whole point.

    "...how EASY would it be to get a teaching job?" EASY.... Really, easy..... Why, because the water mark on the piece of paper was printed from Oxbridge? Really?

    With all their might and glory, graduating from one of the most prestigious educational institutions in THE WORLD.... The OP couldn't figure out that a PGCE or a BEd trumps their PhD and MA?

    When the pipe bursts, I call a plumber.
    When I need a ride, I Uber or hail a taxi.
    When I am paying the exuberant school fees --- I expect their teachers to be QUALIFIED.
    Surgery... They better have had a pass mark of 90% and over...
    sparklesparkle likes this.
  6. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    My EFL experience included preparing students for language exams and planning schemes of work. But this was for English as a foreign language and not my subject. Of course the OP won't have a clue how to teach an IB or IGCSE history curriculum if they haven't done it before. Nor will they have a clue about behaviour management. This isn't 'harsh', it's a plain and simple fact. There is no point in writing nonsense about not being approachable and supportive if you haven't thought this through.

    The OP will be able to get some kind of teaching job but it's likely to be in the kind of establishment which she would consider to be beneath her. And she will be shocked to find that visa regulations won't bend to her Cambridge BA. If she doesn't have a BEd or PGCE, schools in some countries just won't be able to employ her.

    By the way, my first degree certificate has an equally recognisable brand name on it. But I was never arrogant enough to think I could walk into a classroom and teach without proper training.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  7. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    As I said, the possession of a piece of paper attesting to the successful completion of a 9-month PGCE course is no guarantee that a person can control an unruly class either. And the average history graduate, with or without a PGCE would also not be able to jump into an IB History class and begin to teach it. As far as James is concerned, his repeated misinterpretation of what has been written would seem to indicate comprehension difficulties...
    Thyraeus likes this.
  8. sparklesparkle

    sparklesparkle Established commenter

    No it isn't. But it does indicate a commitment to teaching children, rather than a fall-back option after failing to get an academic job.

    As stated above, I also have a piece of paper with an academic brand name on it. But it only opened doors for me because I also have a PGDE. All teachers have to teach kids. Even in the most prestigious schools, you will have to teach younger kids, kids of lower ability and kids who are demotivated. Ask anyone who has taught in a public school and they will confirm this. A postgraduate course indicates you might have some awareness of what the job entails.
    james_1979 likes this.
  9. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    Comprehension difficulties... ?! The OP is an UNQUALIFIED teacher who thinks it is "easy" to get a teaching job.

    You are aware of background knowledge and application of knowledge right? That is what a PGCE and a BEd allows you to explore and work towards mastering it..

    Try as you might justifying the OP.. But there's no mistake.. They are UNQUALIFIED to do or action their fall back career....
  10. Thyraeus

    Thyraeus New commenter

    Thanks to those out there who offered constructive advice. I was just wondering how easy (or difficult) it would be to get a job abroad as a teacher in any sort of international school with the qualifications and background I listed. Certain respondents have read a lot more into this basic question of mine as well as my own circumstances than I had foreseen. Thanks again to those who gave helpful suggestions. A PGCE is obviously the necessary step but one I can't take this year.
  11. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    NOWHERE does the OP suggest that it is easy to get a teaching job. HE IS ASKING A QUESTION. I would suggest that reading comprehension might be a first step towards the application of knowledge...

    I'm not familiar with current requirements for BEd courses, but I'm pretty sure that back in my day the amount of historical knowledge, methods and understanding imparted would have been rather less that one would be exposed to in a reputable PhD course...

    I have both a PGCE and an MA in Education and I'm pretty sure it's my years of experience in a wide variety of classrooms in several countries which made me an effective teacher rather than pieces of paper. The OP says he's done several years of teaching (and not just ESL). I would think he might have picked up some useful skills along the way, but maybe not. It would be up to the schools interviewing him to discern this...
  12. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Briefly going back to the OPs question. It's possible. I started out much less qualified (on paper), although I had teaching experience. I was already in a foreign country and was willing to fill a position at the last minute.

    Likewise, the OP may get a job if they are not too picky about locations and are willing to take on a position at a non-standard starting point in the school year.

    It will work for a one-off post perhaps, but not necessarily as a long term career. Many places require formal teaching qualifications for visas, but it might be worth a try.
    Thyraeus and miketribe like this.
  13. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    One potentially viable plan would be to get into a school that would be willing to employ you while you completed a distance "international pgce" I know these are offered by university of Sunderland but I believe others do too.

    If you've been studying for a PhD and also teaching undergraduates you may almost certainly find that teaching first years and teaching A level is pretty similar in terms of the students and the quality etc. So your experience to date may be more useful than some may think.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  14. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    My school has quite a few 'unqualified' teachers. Two of them have been promoted to middle management in the last few years. So it is possible, and not even that rare, but as mentioned, you won't be able to pick and choose your school. That means that the school you end up in is likely to be either less reputable, or poorly paid. It also means that, no matter how much experience you get in that school, moving on will be very difficult as most schools won't or can't hire someone without a teaching qualification.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  15. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    To answer your question honestly, you'd find it rather 'easy' in certain countries, especially in the undesirable schools who will love to flaunt your qualifications on their website.

    However, as many other posters have mentioned, having the highest qualifications doesn't mean you'll make a great addition to the team in the eyes of senior leadership. I've worked with someone who had a PhD in Science and couldn't interact with students, motivate or manage a classroom. Similarly, I've worked with someone who had done a BA in Early Childhood Studies and Mastered in Education but never secured her QTS and had zero classroom experience. She was utterly dreadful.

    I can understand some of the frustrations mentioned above as so many people (including the government) have absolutely zero respect for teachers, teaching and the hard work and effort that goes in to achieving such qualifications to be able to teach properly.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  16. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    As a course leader here is my advice.

    Apply to teach geography in England with the intention of doing an SKE. The SKE will be 8 weeks long and pay you £200 a week take home.
    The geography PGCE will be ten months long and pay you £2.6k a month take home. On the course, ask to teach both history and geography, that’s fine. The bursary is also enough money to live on.
    You can then go abroad with a PGCE, QTS and experience of teaching both geography and history from September 2020. The course tutors will have connections to help you find employment overseas.
    Thyraeus likes this.
  17. Thyraeus

    Thyraeus New commenter

    Thanks Mr Media and Bentley. Which countries would be considered less difficult to find such a job in? I've worked in the Middle East and south east Asia before. I don't know much about secondary teaching opportunities in Europe itself. I know I would still have to do the PGCE asap but I would like to know other options as well. Thanks again.
  18. Bentley89

    Bentley89 Occasional commenter

    I don't mean to sound condescending, but I'd imagine most of the poor schools in most foreign countries would be interested. Places like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, African countries (including Egypt) and the poorer Asian countries all have non-qualified teachers working in classrooms.
  19. james_1979

    james_1979 New commenter

    Those poor, unsuspecting students and their parents forking out the money to have any western Sally and Dick stand up in a classroom playing teacher-teacher... Oh the ethics...

    I hear Venezuelan schools are desparate for teachers as well.
    Bentley89 likes this.

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