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What is considered the best kind of experience?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by anna6124, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. I know it's a little bit early to be giving up all hope but, having just learned that my first choice has started inviting applicants for interviews and my invitation is conspiculously absent from my inbox, I thought I'd better start thinking about Plan B.
    My intention, should I not get a place this year, was always to do one of two things - either enrol in a TEFL course and then go and work abroad (hopefully with the age group I want to work with) until it's time to come back to reapply next year, or to try to get a teaching assistant job in this country. I know which one I'd rather do but I was wondering which option people thought would be considered the more valuable experience by those who process the applications.
     
  2. I know it's a little bit early to be giving up all hope but, having just learned that my first choice has started inviting applicants for interviews and my invitation is conspiculously absent from my inbox, I thought I'd better start thinking about Plan B.
    My intention, should I not get a place this year, was always to do one of two things - either enrol in a TEFL course and then go and work abroad (hopefully with the age group I want to work with) until it's time to come back to reapply next year, or to try to get a teaching assistant job in this country. I know which one I'd rather do but I was wondering which option people thought would be considered the more valuable experience by those who process the applications.
     
  3. Don't worry. I gave up hope on my current PGCE application about a month ago. I've resigned myself to another year of a teaching assistant post in a local comprehensive school.

    I was rejected from PGCE in English at Oxford last year on account of my lack of experience working in schools (I'd just graduated and was in the midst of my Masters when I attended the interview). Having spent this year working as a TA I can't say it seems to have guaranteed me a PGCE place. However it has been enlightening to work with children from different backgrounds and having the opportunity to watch an array of teaching styles.

    The only downside is the pay at a TA is minimum wage! But it is rewarding, so you really just need to balance out what you want from it. :)
     
  4. From what I've heard, it seems that TEFL experience will not help a great deal. (I went to Bath Spa open day and a girl asked about her TEFL experience and the course leader said that she could mention it on her application, but experience in a UK school is more important) It seems that having experience working as a TA is one of the best things to have on your application (hence why I am trying to get a TA job now!) Teachers that I know have also recommended that I should work as a TA first before starting the PGCE for my own benefit. But I would say, different unis will want different things so I would speak to the unis that you are most interested in to see how they view TEFL experience. Good luck with your application, I have only found out today on track that I have an interview and I was waiting 3 months so there's still hope!! x
     
  5. I saw your post earlier Libbybee - congratulations! I guess I really should speak to the universities. I've heard of people working as a TA for years and not getting in and know a guy who spent three months teaching in China and got in to his first choice first time so I guess it really does depend. I was just rather unrealistically hoping someone might have a black and white answer to the question! I suppose I'm just leaning towards the TEFL option as, if I have to wait another year to start the course, I'd rather spend my weekends scuba diving than stuck in a rain-soaked London :)
     
  6. If you want to do it, you should go for it, life is too short! And yes, you are completely right. My friend got into a secondary pgce with the total experience of one day in a school! It is not just the amount of experience, but how you demonstrate what you have gained from it and the potential you show I suppose. Good luck xx
     
  7. I've had work experience in three different state secondary schools - mainly observing and helping lower ability children. I have also worked in summer schools with international students learning English, and I am currently working as a TA in the SEN department of a school.
    Personally, the experience I am gaining at the moment is the most beneficial to me. I'm not only seeing the kids in a classroom environment, but also gaining a lot by seeing lots of teachers' styles, not just teaching but also behaviour management etc. I think that while a TEFL course and subsequent job would be enjoyable and a good experience, working for several months with the same kids in the relevant environment is overall a better experience, especially for a PGCE application. Also, working with SEN pupils will be invaluable once you start training, as it will give you a real heads up.
     
  8. TEFL and working abroad is an excellent life experience in its own right, and I'd encourage any young person to take such opportunities to se the world if the arise. But value the experience for itself, not for where it might lead. TEFL does not have any particular currency in regard to securing a place on a PGCE course. It's interesting, but is not really seen as particularly relevant to the demands of teaching in a UK school. Experience working as a TA, however, is generally highly regarded by admissions tutors; it shows that you have worked in the 'real world' of schools and not been discouraged, are not lookingthrough 'rose tinted spectacles'. As a TA you would also gain experience of communicating ideas to young people and an appreciation of their learning needs.
    As requested OP ... hope it helps.
     
  9. After i graduated I did a year as an SEN TA but didn't get on to my chosen teaching course last year (although I was interviewed) and my friend with hardly any experience got on! I've spent a 2nd year TA-ing and had another teacher training interview in December and am currently waiting to hear.

    I would definitely recommend doing TA-ing if you have the opportunity as well as it being hands on experience it is such a confidence builder too, i felt so much happier in my interview this year being able to talk about so many more experiences in school. Do as much work even it's volunteering as you can! And Good luck!
     
  10. Thanks for your advice everyone. I guess I was hoping you'd all say that teaching abroad was highly valued as experience so I could swan off to Thailand for a year but I think I knew deep down that working as a TA would be the right choice - not just because of how it will look on my application for but also because, as Sambean said, it must do wonders for your confidence and be a really worthwhile experience. I really do want to feel like I'm ready and well prepared when I begin the course. Plus I am, unfortunately, not nearly as young as I would like so I really would like to begin my teacher training as soon as possible - hence wanting to undertake the experience that will most likely help me to achieve this rather than what I might enjoy more, if 'enjoy' is the right word. I guess there will be plenty of time to teach abroad once I'm qualified and at least then I'll be teaching a subject I love rather than English as a foreign language.
     

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