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Thinking of training in MFL - but are there actually jobs for French and German teachers?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by anso77, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Hi


    I am thinking of retraining in secondary French and German at
    the age of 35 which would be quite a big step for me, leaving behind quite a
    comfortably-paid but ultimately unfulfilling job.


    Articles like this have caught my attention.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17343273


    But then again, I read things like this which seem to be completely
    contradictory.


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/26/no-jobs-for-new-teachers


    This side of the story is backed up friends already working
    in schools in Birmingham who tell me
    there’s not much work around for MFL teachers.


    Also a quick search of vacancies in the West Midlands, where
    I am based, shows they all ask for Spanish – which I can’t offer.


    So can anyone give me advice on what the reality is? If I
    did my PGCE this year am I likely to be desperately looking for work in
    September 2013?


    I’d be particularly keen in hearing from people from schools
    in the Birmingham area.


    Anna
     
  2. Hi


    I am thinking of retraining in secondary French and German at
    the age of 35 which would be quite a big step for me, leaving behind quite a
    comfortably-paid but ultimately unfulfilling job.


    Articles like this have caught my attention.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17343273


    But then again, I read things like this which seem to be completely
    contradictory.


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/26/no-jobs-for-new-teachers


    This side of the story is backed up friends already working
    in schools in Birmingham who tell me
    there’s not much work around for MFL teachers.


    Also a quick search of vacancies in the West Midlands, where
    I am based, shows they all ask for Spanish – which I can’t offer.


    So can anyone give me advice on what the reality is? If I
    did my PGCE this year am I likely to be desperately looking for work in
    September 2013?


    I’d be particularly keen in hearing from people from schools
    in the Birmingham area.


    Anna
     
  3. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I am not in the Birmingham area but in the north west. There are very few jobs and I think all over the country German seems to be in decline more than French - and as you say, Spanish is becoming more popular.

    I don't agree with what the second article says about NQTs though. All the basic classroom teacher jobs go to NQTs as experienced teachers are too expensive.
     
  4. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I can't agree with that last statement. At my own school we do not appoint based on how cheap a candidate is. We pick the best candidate.
    I would guess that recruitment varies from region to region. When we advertise in North Yorkshire we don't get masses of applicants. One would expect highest turnover in large urban areas. Ebacc should create a larger demand for French teachers.
     
  5. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    That is laudable but I'm afraid I really do feel it's not the norm any more. Nearly everyone I speak to in schools seems to agree that over recent years staff seem to have been replaced by NQTs - even though there were more experienced candidates who applied and were interviewed. I am sure these NQTs are very good but cannot believe that in all cases they are always the best person for the job.

    In the 80s when I was an NQT (Probationer I think they called it then) I lost out on a few jobs to experienced teachers because in those days the school didn't have to worry about what salaries cost, that was paid I think by the LEA, so they really did have the luxury of appointing the best person for the job despite the cost.

    As you say, it's probably a regional variation, but I think that all things being equal they will appoint an NQT - and sometimes even if things aren't equal.
     
  6. Anna, I guess there are pros and cons to retraining, which i did when i was 31. As you firstly pointed out- it is very much geography dependent. There is however, nothing more frustrating than retraining etc and being in a position where you cant get a job and when you do get an interview you're up against very stiff competition. i have recently returned from France and have lived + worked in the native countries of my languages however inspite of this- no job. i am living perhaps in the worst place possible in n.ireland so geography does matter. then again, if finance isnt an issue then go for it- i believe in following your dreams but you might have to pay the price. in comparison, teaching isnt the awe inspiring satisfying job that people think.... times and conditions are a lot more difficult in education than ever before. if you love languages why not look at teaching primary languages or doing some translation course....think hard about giving up that precious job though someone will jump right into your place. good luck
     
  7. It would be a mistake to quickly learn some Spanish, so you can offer that. You do not find fulfillment by staying a few pages ahead of the students. Stick to what you have confidence in.
    I would think long and hard before giving up your job. Have you been into a secondary school to observe some lessons? I have had several preople in your situation into observe. Do not project forward from your memories of MFL lessons when you were at school. I would not advise you not to do it, but please make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for.
     
  8. I have to agree with those who say think long and hard about the decision - I retrained a few years ago when the big push for MFL teachers was on and the golden hello was available but even then found it very hard to get a job with only French to offer. Invariably I would get to the last 2 or 3 then lose out and the main reason given was the lack of Spanish whether the post was advertised as needing Spanish or not. I ended up going down the supply/cover route and got my current job mainly by being in the right place at the right time. I have had to learn Spanish to be able to secure my post permanently and whoever said being a few pages ahead of students isn't nice makes a valid point, but being able to offer KS3 at least has proved vital for me and I'm now beginning to realise the importance of increasing this to GCSE if I ever want to move on elsewhere.

    At the moment we are desperately in need of an experienced member of staff to cover a long term sick leave yet the Head will only appoint the cheaper NQT option and speaking to other language HODs it seems he is not alone in this within our LEA (in the NW) . Whilst I don't regret my decision to retrain there has been a lot of heartache along the way and I don't think the situation has improved over the last few years even with the introduction of the E-Bacc.
     
  9. Hi
    Thanks everyone for your responses. It seems like a bit of a "don't do it" then - very different to the message the teacher training phoneline I rang are putting out!
    I am trying to set up some observations so when I go into schools in Brum I will ask teachers here about the employment situation. I have emailed the University of Birmingham where I was hoping to apply about their MFL PGCE graduates' employment rates but I haven't heard back yet.
    It's very sad about German. I would be extremely reluctant to take up Spanish - I already have Italian as a third language as I lived there for a few years on graduating and I don't want the Spanish to knock it out of my head!



     
  10. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    ...well, I'm a French and German specialist and there ARE posts out there - even here in the West Midlands.
     
  11. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    If you had one language, I think you might struggle, but I have even seen the odd job requesting one language - usually French. If you look at the exam entries, French is still ahead of other languages. You also have Italian, that should go in your favour, especially in larger MFL departments. Don't despair, if you really want to become an MFL teacher, you'll get there, it's not all bad news.
     
  12. This is my first post on TES so be gentle, please. I have just been accepted on the University of Reading MFL course beginning Sept 2012. I'm bilingual French/English with a first degree in Computer Science and French obtained way back in 1997. Since then I have worked in industry as a software developer both freelance and as an employee. This summer I'm leaving a London-based investment company as the rug has been pulled and the whole department outsourced. I've decided to get out of the industry for two reasons: firstly the number of jobs disappearing abroad (i.e. Asia) and secondly I'm fed up working with socially inept geeks, 95 per cent of whom are men with the other five per cent pretending to be men. I've chosen MFL rather than ICT as I'd rather do my teacher training with like-minded people who generally communicate well and are not obsessed with gadgets, cars or motorbikes. I'm not surprised women aren't attracted to the industry due to the high percentage of right-wing desk-jockey bigots who crop up. I've decided I simply cannot continue working in the corporate environment for this reason. I'd now like to teach with French being my passion and ICT / computer science my fallback. I do hope that schools will see my industry experience gained in France and the US as valuable and relevant in one or other subjects. It is unusual to find teachers able to cross cultural and skills divides and hope this will work in my favour assuming I actually survive the PGCE and NQT years (which is by no-means guaranteed). Feedback from the five secondaries I've visited has been very positive with staff saying that I should be able to find a teaching post with my combination of hard and soft skills. What do the members of this forum think of my chances in secondary education? Am I simply a deluded socialist or just on the rebound?

    I suppose I should add, if anyone was wondering, that I'm a 38 year-old male with a 4 year-old son.
     
  13. There is far less demand now for ICT than there was a few years ago. It is very much a subject in retreat. The exception to this is if you know how to program. Most ICT teachers don't know how to and it is now back in fashion to teach it.
    Ironically MFL is on its way back into fashion, since plummeting when it was no longer compulsory at KS4. I have taught both subjects and I think that you have to be prepared for geeky ICT colleagues in school as well. Both ICT Depts that I worked in were dysfunctional with major communication problems between colleagues.
     
  14. Cestrian

    Cestrian New commenter

    We are a state school (NW) still offering French and German, and have struggled to get applicants for a Maternity Cover post.
     
  15. Yes, there is a demand for French only teachers, but having another language is something you can pick up in the long run.
    I'm saying this because a friend of mine (first teaching language French) has been given a Spanish NQT post by a local school.
    Good luck!
     

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