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Unsuccessful PGCE applicants :( what will you do now?

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    hey, no offence taken, very astute of you.
    (You'd make a good teacher!)

    I have absolutely no idea how I come across at interview. I can say for sure that I haven't been faced with any questions I wasn't prepared for. I've filmed myself a few times, on my laptop camera, to look at the body language side of things. I know I don't 'umm' or 'err'.

    Yeah, it's entirely possible I might come across as arrogant. Or "intense" or "eccentric" or possibly even plain "insane"... It's tough, when you know what you're up against, to try to strike the right balance between confidence, up-beat attitude and arrogance. I know all the answers to these questions off by heart now, so I have to "act" some pretend spontaneity back into them...

    I certainly don't think I automatically deserve a place: I've seen too many excellent other candidates to ever think that. And, yeah, if London's TT institutes repeatedly conclude I won't make a good teacher, well, they'd know better than I would. Wanting to do something, even a lot, doesn't always make it the right thing to do...
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    Don't give up mattmilton. I think you're right about trying different providers next time and putting them down first. That way when you get an interview you'll already be at an advantage because they wouldn't have filled any places yet. You don't know how many places they have left at Met when you were interviewed, for example. They may only have 3 places to fill or something. If you apply to somewhere like UEL (which is great for ITT by the way) you may have more chance because most people would automatically put Kings/IOE top choice. Do you see what I mean? I'm sure you've looked at all the angles too!
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    Phew, glad I didn't offend you!

    Thanks - hopefully you'll be proved right!

    Ok, from what you've said - you're simply trying too hard. You're not being yourself because you're too busy trying to be who you think they want you to be. Sadly your intense desire to be a teacher is what is letting you down - being overprepared is often as bad as being underprepared in the sense that you come across as a bit robotic and don't allow your personality to come through.

    My advice would be - chuck everything you think you know and think you need to be out of the window for your next interview and just go in as yourself. Don't try and second guess the interviewer, don't overthink your posture and language and answers etc. Just be YOU - allow your personality and passion to shine through.

    No, not everyone is meant to be a teacher. However, no one's ability for teaching can truly be judged adequately within an hour by a stranger. Plenty of unsuitable people get accepted onto PGCEs every year - there is a 20% drop out rate by the end of the NQT year, after all. PGCE interviewers aren't perfect and they don't know it all, and their decisions are no reflection of your future potential as a teacher - so don't let these rejections knock your confidence. If you want this badly enough, you can make it happen - but stop putting on a show and just be you. You'll probably find that's all it takes to get that yes.

    I wish you all the luck in the world for your next interview
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    I am really sorry for everyone who got rejected but as many people have said, everything happens for a reason and I hope that you all find what you are looking for.

    Can I just ask a few questions about the PGCE?
    Many said that they got rejected because they didn't have much knowledge of current educational issues. I was wondering what that means exactly...certainly being aware of problems in the classroom etc is something that people will be taught at the PGCE? Aren't all applicants simply graduates from university? Many people won't have experience or won't have received specific training for psychological and developmental issues...or am I wrong?

    I come from a country where PGCE is not requirred to teach but I am considering the possibility of applying for one. I really feel lost however. First of all, is this the only teaching qualification required or is there anything else that matters/helps?
    Also, is PGCE required only for teaching at state schools? I've heard that you can teach at private schools without it, but would this affect your salary or something like that?
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    (Original post by rachelsays)
    Phew, glad I didn't offend you!

    Thanks - hopefully you'll be proved right!

    Ok, from what you've said - you're simply trying too hard. You're not being yourself because you're too busy trying to be who you think they want you to be. Sadly your intense desire to be a teacher is what is letting you down - being overprepared is often as bad as being underprepared in the sense that you come across as a bit robotic and don't allow your personality to come through.

    My advice would be - chuck everything you think you know and think you need to be out of the window for your next interview and just go in as yourself. Don't try and second guess the interviewer, don't overthink your posture and language and answers etc. Just be YOU - allow your personality and passion to shine through.

    No, not everyone is meant to be a teacher. However, no one's ability for teaching can truly be judged adequately within an hour by a stranger. Plenty of unsuitable people get accepted onto PGCEs every year - there is a 20% drop out rate by the end of the NQT year, after all. PGCE interviewers aren't perfect and they don't know it all, and their decisions are no reflection of your future potential as a teacher - so don't let these rejections knock your confidence. If you want this badly enough, you can make it happen - but stop putting on a show and just be you. You'll probably find that's all it takes to get that yes.

    I wish you all the luck in the world for your next interview

    Hey, just wanted to say your advice on interviews seems excellent.. I am definitely keeping all this in mind. I am also now a bit scarred that I did some of the things you mentioned at a PhD interview...basically the guy would ask something and then I'd start answering but it would turn out that he hadn't exactly finished so for a second we d both talk at the same time... this happened twice I think..tbh I think he was a bit too chatty, like he would start talking and never finish...
    The thing that I found most peculiar though was that he asked me a yes/no question (have you read x thing) . Problem is that this x thing is huge and I have asked people since and no one (including my supervisor) has read it all. (he specifically asked me if I read it all). I did not lie and I told him that no I haven't. But I still wonder why he asked me. It was obvious that I would not have, and it wasn't even that related to my project...sometimes I think it might have been a trick question...
    How difficult is it to interview? Do they teach you what to ask etc? Maybe if we learn a bit about the "dark side" we can learn how to act better
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    (Original post by rachelsays)
    Plenty of unsuitable people get accepted onto PGCEs every year - there is a 20% drop out rate by the end of the NQT year, after all.
    I don't think that means that people are unsuitable to teach.

    I finished my PGCE last year and came out with outstanding overall. I'm yet to start my NQT year as I struggled to get a job for September 2011 due to the fact I was moving away from the area where I trained. I did some supply work whilst I looked for a maternity contract for January but that didn't result in a job offer despite a few interviews. I was then offered a job in another area of education due to my vast voluntary experience as a result of what I do on TSR. This wasn't a job I applied for, someone I knew realised that I fitted what they were looking for and asked me to start with the view of going back to teaching in September 2012 to start my NQT year. However, right now, I'm not in teaching and actually, I'm really enjoying being in an area of education where I still get to address educational disadvantage which doesn't expect me to devote my entire life to the job like teaching does in the early years.

    If it ends up that I never finish my NQT year (this probably won't be the case though) it certainly won't be because I was unsuitable to teach and shouldn't have been accepted onto a PGCE course in the first place. Yes, there are a lot of people who shouldn't be accepted onto them but just because people struggle to get a teaching position then end up working elsewhere in education because they need the guaranteed income it doesn't mean that they are unsuitable teachers. I know a lot of people in my position - people who have half finished their NQT year but their maternity contract ended or people like me who were unable to get a NQT post but couldn't rely on the instability of supply income whilst they found a permanent role. With a lot of people the reason they end up leaving teaching is due to the fact there's this false illusion that there's loads of jobs to go around or that they start another job temporarily then realise that this is as fulfilling as teaching, but a lot less stress.

    (Original post by *Corinna*)
    Can I just ask a few questions about the PGCE?
    Many said that they got rejected because they didn't have much knowledge of current educational issues. I was wondering what that means exactly...certainly being aware of problems in the classroom etc is something that people will be taught at the PGCE? Aren't all applicants simply graduates from university? Many people won't have experience or won't have received specific training for psychological and developmental issues...or am I wrong?
    They want you to know about educational issues in terms of current government policy, ideas and curriculum changes. Anyone with any level of interest in education knows about this sort of thing and its expected that when you go to an interview you will be aware of proposed changes or issues in the area that you're applying for or general issues within education, such as the recent changes to OFSTED or the impact of free schools. This understanding can be easily sourced by reading the TES weekly and generally taking an interest in what's going on in education. If you're going to potentially dedicate your life to something then you need to realise it isn't a static thing and there's constantly changes, reviews and challenges.
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    (Original post by *Corinna*)
    I am really sorry for everyone who got rejected but as many people have said, everything happens for a reason and I hope that you all find what you are looking for.

    Can I just ask a few questions about the PGCE?
    Many said that they got rejected because they didn't have much knowledge of current educational issues. I was wondering what that means exactly...certainly being aware of problems in the classroom etc is something that people will be taught at the PGCE? Aren't all applicants simply graduates from university? Many people won't have experience or won't have received specific training for psychological and developmental issues...or am I wrong?

    I come from a country where PGCE is not requirred to teach but I am considering the possibility of applying for one. I really feel lost however. First of all, is this the only teaching qualification required or is there anything else that matters/helps?
    Also, is PGCE required only for teaching at state schools? I've heard that you can teach at private schools without it, but would this affect your salary or something like that?

    Current Educational Issues means being aware of 'the politics' of education in effect. Knowing about policy changes, curriculum updates, what fresh hell Michael Gove is heaping on us, and so forth.

    a great amount of people are not applicants straight from university. These days as it becomes more competative, you are often required to have experience in education, so many will be former teaching assistants or have extensive volunteering experience.

    The PGCE is the only qualification necessary to teach in state schools. You do not need it for private schools, but it is ad advantage whatever sector you choose to work in as its rare for a private school to employ someone with no teaching experience.
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    Hi Corinna,

    'Current educational issues' means new government legislation, curriculum changes, Ofsted changes, etc. Basically, they want to know whether you are up to date on the current external 'issues' teachers face - so having an understanding that behaviour management is a big role in the classroom is important, of course, but so is having an awareness that the head of Ofsted has just changed and this is going to have a knock on effect for schools as they strive to achieve changing attendance targets, GCSE grade targets, etc. There is also the issue of Academies and Free schools - how is this affecting the educational climate and the skillsets teachers are required to have? All you need to do is get yourself a copy of the Times Educational Supplement or read the education section of the Guardian online - that will give you an overview of what teachers are currently talking about.

    QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) can be achieved in the UK through taking a BEd degree, or postgraduates can achieve it through a PGCE or the GTP programme, which is in-school training. This qualifies you to teach in the state and independent sector. However, as you are quite right in saying, many independent schools do not require QTS, though the only teachers without QTS I know of who teach in independent schools have several years of professional experience relevant to their subject. As most independent school teachers will probably have QTS either through the PGCE or GTP, you'd be at a distinct disadvantage when applying for jobs unless you have substantial teaching experience/other relevant experience to bring.

    If you already have teaching experience and don't really want to go back to university, have a look at the GTP and see whether you would qualify for that route into teaching instead. You can find out more here:

    http://www.tda.gov.uk/get-into-teach...tions/gtp.aspx
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    Ah alright, I thought it meant that they ask about current trends in educational theories (like teaching theories etc) and about scientific developments in issues such as child development. We had to take a few courses like that at my undergrad university and they can be pretty complex. Very important of course, but something that I would not expect am average person to know unless they had been taught.
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    (Original post by rachelsays)
    Hi Corinna,

    'Current educational issues' means new government legislation, curriculum changes, Ofsted changes, etc. Basically, they want to know whether you are up to date on the current external 'issues' teachers face - so having an understanding that behaviour management is a big role in the classroom is important, of course, but so is having an awareness that the head of Ofsted has just changed and this is going to have a knock on effect for schools as they strive to achieve changing attendance targets, GCSE grade targets, etc. There is also the issue of Academies and Free schools - how is this affecting the educational climate and the skillsets teachers are required to have? All you need to do is get yourself a copy of the Times Educational Supplement or read the education section of the Guardian online - that will give you an overview of what teachers are currently talking about.

    QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) can be achieved in the UK through taking a BEd degree, or postgraduates can achieve it through a PGCE or the GTP programme, which is in-school training. This qualifies you to teach in the state and independent sector. However, as you are quite right in saying, many independent schools do not require QTS, though the only teachers without QTS I know of who teach in independent schools have several years of professional experience relevant to their subject. As most independent school teachers will probably have QTS either through the PGCE or GTP, you'd be at a distinct disadvantage when applying for jobs unless you have substantial teaching experience/other relevant experience to bring.

    If you already have teaching experience and don't really want to go back to university, have a look at the GTP and see whether you would qualify for that route into teaching instead. You can find out more here:

    http://www.tda.gov.uk/get-into-teach...tions/gtp.aspx
    Thanks for your reply
    What I still don't understand is if one needs a PGCE to teach, how can one have teaching experience before it? I am sorry if this sounds stupid, maybe in England you can work as a TA (someone mentioned this) which means that you aren't a proper teacher but counts as teaching experience? If so, how do people find teaching experience?

    I don't mind going back to university (I'm currently applying for a PhD so yeah, I'm fine with going on) but I worry about money. Are there any scholarships available ?
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    I don't think that means that people are unsuitable to teach.
    Hi, you have misunderstood me. My use of the phrase 'dropping out' implies an active decision. Not being able to find a job is not an active decision, it's an unfortunate circumstance.

    That 20% of people I quoted does not include teachers who, for whatever reason, cannot find employment but wish to at the end of the course. It only includes those who have chosen to leave the profession.

    I didn't mean to imply - and I'm not quite sure how you got that impression - that those who are struggling to find a job at the end of their training year are unsuitable for the teaching profession. We're in a recession - plenty of talented people are out of a job at the moment! My point was designed to show that PGCE interviewers don't always make the right decisions regarding picking people for PGCE courses, as approximately 20% of people who are chosen at interview turn out to not have the talent/stamina/passion/whatever for the profession once enrolled on the course.

    I hope you manage to find a teaching job soon. I can imagine your frustration and I'm sorry for it.
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    (Original post by *Corinna*)
    Thanks for your reply
    What I still don't understand is if one needs a PGCE to teach, how can one have teaching experience before it? I am sorry if this sounds stupid, maybe in England you can work as a TA (someone mentioned this) which means that you aren't a proper teacher but counts as teaching experience? If so, how do people find teaching experience?

    I don't mind going back to university (I'm currently applying for a PhD so yeah, I'm fine with going on) but I worry about money. Are there any scholarships available ?
    You're welcome!

    Teaching experience can be informal, so in a voluntary setting (such as tutoring, running a youth group, etc) or as a TA employed in a school, or teaching seminars at university, etc.


    There are no scholarships for the PGCE - for certain subjects you get a bursary, but unless you're applying to teach shortage subjects such as Physics, Chemistry or Maths, your bursary won't even cover half of your fees, let alone your living costs!

    If you're PhD material, I'd apply for the GTP and see what happens. I have no teaching experience and I've applied for the GTP and had interviews (still waiting to hear for definite!) - though I have been working for 5 years, manage people, and have loads of voluntary youth work experience. You don't HAVE to have been a TA to apply for the GTP.
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    Regarding what catoswyn wrote, sorry meant to quote you but deleted the quote by mistake

    The way I see it is that they have many applicants and are starting to make excuses not to give people places....and they can't reject to screen your application and invite you for an interview when you meet their requirements....I got rejected and nearly a month ago and they managed to give me feedback a couple of days ago...it turned out that I don't have relevant experience....which makes some sort of sense if you are from UK and are and have had the same structure of studding, but what about people like me who aren't and at the end of the day the whole point in going to uni is to gain knowledge and then have experience. And things such as accent are stupid,everyone has an accent....
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    I agree that universities need an excuse, as I got offered a reserve place from the university I was interested in, and they said it was because we have so many applications. Also, the other two London unis I went for places had run out, so now I'm applying through Extra. But the competition is tough, sadly. And if not this year, there will be next year!

    Also, I really don't think an accent matters. Most universities look for the ability to express oneself in clear English, and accent has nothing to do with this. Even people with a proper London accent find it difficult to talk clearly, so don't be put of in the case of accent.
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    Very true Jamie13, and it is good that you are staying an optimist and are applying
    Good luck to you!
    It is good to have a prospect of next year, but i'm pretty sure that there are people for whom this year has been the next ...and some that have only this year...and i find it sad that going to university is pretty much the same as applying for a job...and people who have been doing research, read magazines and newspapers and so on to gain a knowledge in certain area, but have very little passion and natural skills are being said YES simply based on luck.
    And I agree about the accent it is nonsense, purely a way to get you off their backs. And tbh unis that give such a crappy feedback well they probably don't deserve us to apply.
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    Hi everyone,

    I got rejected for a Secondary History PGCE course by Cumbria after interview two weeks ago after interview as well as Leeds Trinity after group interview. Both said that, despite working/getting experience in secondary schools and with young people from being 17 (I'm now 21), I lack knowledge and understanding of secondary schools. Cumbria also told me my micro-lesson wasn't engaging enough (did a chalk and talk/interactive-y sort of presentation as I've always seen that to work a lot better than the bog standard powerpoint). I've sent my application off *again* but I don't think anything's going to come out of it.

    Think I'm most likely going to take a year out to gain more experience. I've emailed over 10 secondary schools asking if they had any TA roles going or whether I'd be able to volunteer as one for free. I'm also thinking about helping with the local Girl Guides group and possibly doing a TEFL course as somebody told me that helps a lot but I'm not sure as it costs a fair bit to do...

    Obviously, I'm going to apply for 2013 entry but I'm applying for GTP, TeachFirst and Schools Direct too.

    The way I'm seeing it is, I'm not meant to go to where I've applied to yet or at all and something good will come out of it in the end hopefully. It's just heartbreaking getting rejected especially when there's been people in my interviews who have said "well I'm not that bothered what I want to do, teaching just seems to be the safest career at the moment so that's one of the main reasons why I want to do it" and you've been wanting to do it for years
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    (Original post by Furbiiee)
    Hi everyone,

    I got rejected for a Secondary History PGCE course by Cumbria after interview two weeks ago after interview as well as Leeds Trinity after group interview. Both said that, despite working/getting experience in secondary schools and with young people from being 17 (I'm now 21), I lack knowledge and understanding of secondary schools. Cumbria also told me my micro-lesson wasn't engaging enough (did a chalk and talk/interactive-y sort of presentation as I've always seen that to work a lot better than the bog standard powerpoint). I've sent my application off *again* but I don't think anything's going to come out of it.

    Think I'm most likely going to take a year out to gain more experience. I've emailed over 10 secondary schools asking if they had any TA roles going or whether I'd be able to volunteer as one for free. I'm also thinking about helping with the local Girl Guides group and possibly doing a TEFL course as somebody told me that helps a lot but I'm not sure as it costs a fair bit to do...

    Obviously, I'm going to apply for 2013 entry but I'm applying for GTP, TeachFirst and Schools Direct too.

    The way I'm seeing it is, I'm not meant to go to where I've applied to yet or at all and something good will come out of it in the end hopefully. It's just heartbreaking getting rejected especially when there's been people in my interviews who have said "well I'm not that bothered what I want to do, teaching just seems to be the safest career at the moment so that's one of the main reasons why I want to do it" and you've been wanting to do it for years
    I'm sorry to read this Furbiie, my advice is to keep going! If this is really what you want to do, work on the things that they are telling you for next year, ask the teachers you come into contact with for any advice and apply as soon as the new cycle opens. I hope you are successful in your quest to be a teacher.
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    (Original post by Furbiiee)

    Think I'm most likely going to take a year out to gain more experience. I've emailed over 10 secondary schools asking if they had any TA roles going or whether I'd be able to volunteer as one for free. I'm also thinking about helping with the local Girl Guides group and possibly doing a TEFL course as somebody told me that helps a lot but I'm not sure as it costs a fair bit to do...
    Sometimes I think they don't read applications properly (or at least, don't remember who you are properly when giving feedback). I got told that it would have been better if I had experience in a challenging inner-city school, despite the fact that I'd spent a month working as a TA in a Pupil Referral Unit for pupils with behavioural difficulties who have been excluded from mainstream schools.

    If you don't manage to get a full-time TA job next year and can afford to not work full-time (like if you're living with your parents), it could also be worth looking into agency work.

    I've been working for an agency in Nottingham since October, and have got some really good work experience through them. I did 7 weeks as a Food Technology Technician (not really my area, but good fun and still involved supporting pupils in practical lessons), and then about a month part-time at the PRU I mentioned above. I did one day as a TA in a SEN school, a few days as a cover supervisor, and a few days as an exams invigilator. Then at the end of February I landed a long-term cover post in my own subject specialism, which meant I literally got to teach French for 5 weeks, but the work was planned by the Head of Department.

    It can be really hit and miss though (I had one week in January where I literally got one afternoon's work - £22 - all week), so can't be relied on if you have rent to pay. But it's better than nothing...
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    (Original post by Keziah)
    Sometimes I think they don't read applications properly (or at least, don't remember who you are properly when giving feedback). I got told that it would have been better if I had experience in a challenging inner-city school, despite the fact that I'd spent a month working as a TA in a Pupil Referral Unit for pupils with behavioural difficulties who have been excluded from mainstream schools.

    If you don't manage to get a full-time TA job next year and can afford to not work full-time (like if you're living with your parents), it could also be worth looking into agency work.

    I've been working for an agency in Nottingham since October, and have got some really good work experience through them. I did 7 weeks as a Food Technology Technician (not really my area, but good fun and still involved supporting pupils in practical lessons), and then about a month part-time at the PRU I mentioned above. I did one day as a TA in a SEN school, a few days as a cover supervisor, and a few days as an exams invigilator. Then at the end of February I landed a long-term cover post in my own subject specialism, which meant I literally got to teach French for 5 weeks, but the work was planned by the Head of Department.

    It can be really hit and miss though (I had one week in January where I literally got one afternoon's work - £22 - all week), so can't be relied on if you have rent to pay. But it's better than nothing...
    I haven't worked in a secondary school properly for just less than a year but in my interview at Cumbria I said that after my dissertation was handed in I was going to go back to where I've gained experience before as well as emailed a few of the surrounding schools and colleges if I could observe lessons in the history department and just generally volunteer. I even mentioned issues that one of the History teachers I spoke to before my interview mentioned to me as well as what I thought worked well in lessons during my micro-lesson evaluation :/

    I've applied to a few posts through Monster such as Reed, greateducation, DYP and stuff. One came back to me with the feedback that whilst I have the right skills and qualities 'I didn't have the right qualifications' apparently. I keep looking for teaching assistant agencies too
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    I am in exactly the same boat.
    I decided when I was 14 I wanted to be a primary teacher but have had bad luck ever since-
    I chose to do A Levels and didnt get in the collage I wanted as there wasnt enough places so I had to go elsewhere and do an AVCE in Health and Social care- which was ok as this would still take me to uni.
    I then applied for the 4 year primary teaching degree to lots of uni's through Ucas which were all away from home and then for family reasons I could'nt leave so I stayed at home and got into a local uni through clearing doing education studies and english (didnt wanna do english part but was a joint honors and nothing much else i would have been any good at!). I then failed my entire degree on one exam for english which i was given the oportunity to retake during the summer which I did and I gained a 2:2 degree but missed out on my graduation!
    I took 2 years out to work in kids club in spain and a pre-school nursery both of which I was given a supervisor/managers position and have applied for a pgce 2 years in a row and got to interview stage but no further and then this year applied for GTP and didnt even get an interview!!
    I am currently working as a TA and doing before and after school club, I have worked in a pre school nursery, i have done after school classes called playing for success through a football club, I have done rainbows and brownies and numerous school placements and I want it more than anything but it seems like its never going to happen.
    I am finding myself getting so jealous of people around me who are successful as im now 25 and theres girls i know 2/3years younger that have got actual teaching jobs now and I just cant see what Im doing wrong!!
    I just keep being told how competitive it is out there and its getting worse but Im not going to give up just keep trying but it really is so disheartening and hard

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