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Teach abroad or PGCE?
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clapdemcheeks



Joined: 28 Nov 2015
Posts: 16
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:32 pm    Post subject: Teach abroad or PGCE? Reply with quote

I am conflicted in whether to teach abroad or stay in the UK and study for my PGCE.

I've been offered jobs in Thailand, which was one of the countries I specifically wanted to teach in when I did my CELTA, but now I've changed my mind and want to teach in the Middle East (mainly due to lifestyle reasons and other things). Unfortunately due to my lack of experience (I have 1 year and 9 months experience of teaching ESL in the UK), I am having some trouble getting past the application stage for teaching jobs in the Middle East. Also, many of the better paying jobs with better benefits and from reputable schools require licensed teachers.

Should I do my PGCE this year as it will open more doors to me in the future, comes with quite a large bursary, and secures my exit strategy if I'm ready to settle in the UK; or should I first teach abroad, get the experience and see if I enjoy teaching to do it as a full time career in the future?
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Xie Lin



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 731

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While teaching ESL in your home country can be very different from teaching EFL abroad, your one year and nine months of experience should still give you a solid base for judging how well-suited you are to teaching, and how much you like it. Age and level of the students is another variable to consider--teaching a subject class in secondary school is very different from teaching a lower elementary class.

I'd recommend doing the PGCE. You listed very good reasons for doing so in your last paragraph.

.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clapdemcheeks wrote:
Should I do my PGCE this year as it will open more doors to me in the future, comes with quite a large bursary, and secures my exit strategy if I'm ready to settle in the UK; or should I first teach abroad, get the experience and see if I enjoy teaching to do it as a full time career in the future?

No one can answer that question for you. You're already teaching ESL (to kids? adults?) in the UK; that should be enough for you to get a sense as to whether or not you'd like it for a career. Besides, the jobs you currently qualify for overseas will be entry-level and not a good measure of the type or caliber of teaching situation you'd experience as a qualified teacher if you pursue a PGCE. Something to think about if you plan to head abroad for a "taste" of teaching.

As for the PGCE, are you considering teaching k-12 ESOL or a subject like math, science, history, etc.? Science and math teachers are in high demand rather than TESOL and will make you more employable worldwide, including your home country.

You've never mentioned your BA major, but in the Mid East, the k-12 subject you teach must match both your degree field and your teacher license/qualification. In other words, you can't have a BA in Business and expect to get a TESOL job at an international school with a teaching qualification for English. Keep in mind, the better employers in the Mid East expect teachers to also have 1-2 years of experience post-teaching qualification from a school in your home country.
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As mentioned, to get a decent job in an international school you'll need to do the PGCE and then get a few years' home experience (employers want to see that you know your home country's curriculum pretty well). So, it's not just a case of do the PGCE for 10 months then leave the UK and get a job teaching that subject. Technically you need to do your NQT induction year anyway, which has to be done in the UK (with some exceptions here: http://www.cobis.org.uk/page.cfm?p=423 )


Also, as mentioned I think you should have a fair idea whether or not you like teaching so far not us. Though bear in mind it's one thing teaching motivated ESL learners to teens in UK secondary schools, especially in some challenging schools with shocking behaviour. On top of that, the PGCE is quite a tough and stressful year and not everyone finishes it. Also, 40% of newly qualified teachers in the UK quit within a year (too many hours, too much paperwork, stress, poor behaviour in the classroom etc), so it's something to consider.

What subject did you want to teach?
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clapdemcheeks



Joined: 28 Nov 2015
Posts: 16
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the swift replies!

I have a BSc in Biochemistry, planning to do a PGCE in Chemistry at secondary level. I have many friends who have done the same, some have gone abroad and have really good jobs, others found teaching difficult and went into different career paths after completing it, some dropped out after the first term.

I enjoyed teaching ESL in the UK. I did it on a voluntary basis and part time, whilst working full time. I prefered teaching more than my paid jobs. But that could be because the students were motivated, engaging and wanted to learn (taught to teens and adults). I've not taught abroad before and only been abroad once (very recently), so teaching abroad will be different from the teaching experience I currently have. The whole reason for doing a PGCE is so I can broaden my options in teaching abroad, but having never taught abroad before, is it better to experience this first and then decide, or to get the PGCE over and done with and then start applying?
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice is to go and do 1 week's observation in a secondary school in your area and that will give you a feel for the classroom environment and what you're dealing with. Maybe even 2-3 days in a decent school and 2-3 in one that has a bad reputation.

PGCE providers in the UK generally try to place you in one decent school and one more challenging school for the experience. It can be pretty tiring (mentally) in some schools, so it's a good way to see if you think you could handle this kind of environment. It's not for everyone!

To get onto a decent PGCE actually, most universities require you to have done at least a few days' observation in a UK secondary school, so why not try it now? You'll have a better idea after having spent a few days in the classroom taking notes at the back (you'll need to take notes so you can talk about this in the PGCE interview) to see if it's for you or not.

The good thing about the PGCE is the theory you'll learn about education in general and all those hours in the classroom with observation by experienced teachers (though it can really depend on whether or not the regular teacher can be bothered giving you feedback to help you improve I guess!). So, it can be beneficial for TEFL in a way.


Quote:
The whole reason for doing a PGCE is so I can broaden my options in teaching abroad...


Teaching English abroad or science in an international school? If you really want a career in international schools I'd say you'd need to do the PGCE, get a few years' home experience then apply for international school jobs. You've got to ask yourself if you're willing to do this for the long-term benefits (as your goal is living abroad).

Good luck!
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 828

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would do the PGCE. My previous post got lost but kpjf said everything that I would say.. Chemistry is a good subject to train in because there is a shortage of teachers and you will also be in demand abroad. The PGCE is well regarded by all employers.

Regarding your application to get on a course, you had better get your skates on. Most of the interviews will have been done already (coming into March) and a lot of the courses will have a relatively small number of places (20-25).
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clapdemcheeks



Joined: 28 Nov 2015
Posts: 16
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I've actually filled in the application. I've just not sent it yet as I was offered a job in Thailand to teach English and Science. Still in two minds to decide what to do and which is better.
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Xie Lin



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 731

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kpjf wrote:
My advice is to go and do 1 week's observation in a secondary school in your area and that will give you a feel for the classroom environment and what you're dealing with. Maybe even 2-3 days in a decent school and 2-3 in one that has a bad reputation.

PGCE providers in the UK generally try to place you in one decent school and one more challenging school for the experience. It can be pretty tiring (mentally) in some schools, so it's a good way to see if you think you could handle this kind of environment. It's not for everyone!

To get onto a decent PGCE actually, most universities require you to have done at least a few days' observation in a UK secondary school, so why not try it now? You'll have a better idea after having spent a few days in the classroom taking notes at the back (you'll need to take notes so you can talk about this in the PGCE interview) to see if it's for you or not.

The good thing about the PGCE is the theory you'll learn about education in general and all those hours in the classroom with observation by experienced teachers (though it can really depend on whether or not the regular teacher can be bothered giving you feedback to help you improve I guess!). So, it can be beneficial for TEFL in a way.


Quote:
The whole reason for doing a PGCE is so I can broaden my options in teaching abroad...


Teaching English abroad or science in an international school? If you really want a career in international schools I'd say you'd need to do the PGCE, get a few years' home experience then apply for international school jobs. You've got to ask yourself if you're willing to do this for the long-term benefits (as your goal is living abroad).

Good luck!


Very good advice from kpjf!

.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clapdemcheeks wrote:
I've been offered jobs in Thailand, which was one of the countries I specifically wanted to teach in when I did my CELTA, but now I've changed my mind and want to teach in the Middle East (mainly due to lifestyle reasons and other things). Unfortunately due to my lack of experience (I have 1 year and 9 months experience of teaching ESL in the UK), I am having some trouble getting past the application stage for teaching jobs in the Middle East. Also, many of the better paying jobs with better benefits and from reputable schools require licensed teachers.
....

I have a BSc in Biochemistry, planning to do a PGCE in Chemistry at secondary level

The PGCE in Chemistry plus experience will open opportunities in the better British-curriculum private schools throughout the GCC as opposed to TEFL, which would mostly limit you to KSA in bottom positions because your degree isn't TEFL related (e.g., that crappy Berlitz offer in Kuwait).

Stay in the UK, do your PGCE, and gain two years of initial science teaching experience in country. Putting your studies on hold and heading to Thailand for a low-paying, entry-level ESL/science teaching gig 1) won't give you a realistic taste of what it would be like to teach as a credentialed teacher in a top international school; and 2) puts you behind in pursuing your PGCE toward your long-term goal.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 891

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clapdemcheeks wrote:
Thanks. I've actually filled in the application. I've just not sent it yet as I was offered a job in Thailand to teach English and Science. Still in two minds to decide what to do and which is better.


Teach math/science in Thailand for 60k baht (1200 quid) and no upward mobility (you'll be doing the same thing at the same wage 10 years from now) or get a PGCE + QTS and teach for 120k + expat package and a clear career path in decent, international schools.

This one is a no-brainer.

.
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clapdemcheeks



Joined: 28 Nov 2015
Posts: 16
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers guys. I knew it was wise to ask for some advice from here. I've given it some thought and decided to take the PGCE route. I think it's better in the long run and I have something to fall back on if I ever have to stay in the UK. On the downside, it means staying in the UK for longer than I planned. Hopefully it will pay off in the end.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clapdemcheeks wrote:
I've given it some thought and decided to take the PGCE route. I think it's better in the long run and I have something to fall back on if I ever have to stay in the UK. On the downside, it means staying in the UK for longer than I planned. Hopefully it will pay off in the end.

Don't think of it as a downside; you're investing your time, effort, and money in your future. It's a positive, proactive move. Besides, you really don't want to join the ranks of other posters throughout these forums who wish they had gotten a teaching license/cert or relevant degree prior to spending time abroad spinning their wheels in mediocre teaching jobs. For some, it's not easy to return home and commit to a few years to get those crucial qualifications and experience.

Good luck.
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In the heat of the moment



Joined: 22 May 2015
Posts: 375
Location: Africa

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do the PGCE! You'll not only have access to many good schools TEFL, you'll also be able to work in other Anglo-speaking countries.
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Mikalina



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 140
Location: Home (said in a Joe90 voice)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the rise of academies in England (don't know about Wales/Scotland/Ireland), a PGCE is becoming less important as a way into teaching. Many academies now have teacher training schemes within their partnerships with the practical element taking place within the organisations own schools.

All of the new teachers at the school I worked at up until last week came via this route. They also had the opportunity of going the 'paid' route (higher working load) if they could show experience in any other teaching field.

The Government is also pulling funding for PGCEs in Universities as it likes to reward its friends in the Academy chains with the funding.

PGCEs are going out of fashion. Go abroad, young man, go abroad.
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