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Gaining experience whilst keeping a full-time job?

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    • Thread Starter

    Hi, I'm new to this forum so if I'm doing anything wrong I apologise!
    I graduated in 2011 and then started full-time work in a non-degree related job because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I've now realised I want to become a primary school teacher and I've looked so much in to it and the universities I'd like to attend expect a minimum of 15 days (with 5 of those being consecutive) or 150 hours classroom experience. This doesn't really seem like a lot if you can get it but how am I supposed to get that much experience when I have a full-time job already?
    Has anyone else managed to juggle the two? Is it possible?
    I work Monday-Friday as there is no option for weekend work and usually finish at 3pm. Will this be a case of having to use up 15 days annual leave or just leaving my job all together (which is not an option!)
    I guess I'm just asking for advice if you've been in a similar situation..
    Thank you!

    Unfortunately it pretty much means 15 days of annual leave!

    is there a way of having later shifts? you could always do experience for an hour a day somewhere if you can get your hours adjusted. However, your boss may not be happy for the reasons you'd have to give due to the fact it means you'll eventually be leaving lol.

    You could mention taking hours out of the day and then working extra hours to make up for it?
    Try private tutoring. With you finishing at 3pm and having your weekends free, you'd be able to have quite a flexible time schedule. This would also give you extra money and then would give you some experience needed?
    Yu could also look for another job with different hours?

    Could you ask for an unpaid sabbatical, and make up some sort of excuse about going to visit family abroad or something? Or helping with an elderly relative who needs to have an operation and lots of after-care for a month!?!

    (otherwise, it's taking annual leave...)

    I had a full time 9-5 managerial job when I was applying for teacher training and as such had ZERO experience of classroom observation when I applied for my course. I couldn't take time off work because I'd just started a new job and was so busy that I genuinely couldn't afford a day out of the office! However, I had loads of experience as a volunteer youth worker and private tutor, which I did in the evenings. The university accepted this as relevant experience and just asked that I did a few days of observation before the course actually started. They were very understanding and said they appreciated people with full time jobs struggle to get time off to get into classrooms.

    I got a place on a PGCE and a GTP with no direct experience - so it is possible. I am doing secondary so it's a bit less competitive than primary, but still - it just goes to show that passion does get you further than experience sometimes!

    If I were you, I'd start volunteering as a Brownie/Scout leader or help with an after school children's club outside of your working hours now. This will prove your dedication to working with kids, and then if you can get 5 days or so of classroom experience in before you go in for your interview, that should be enough. At the end of the day, not all of us who apply for PGCEs are students, and we do have jobs and lives to juggle - universities know this and are willing to be flexible.

    Good luck!
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you so much for your replies, it makes it seem do-able and I really hope that they still are flexible with full-time workers. I think it will have to be a case of annual leave or un-paid leave but at least it'll be one step closer to getting the job I want! I have submitted interest with the Girl Guides so hopefully I'll hear from them soon

    (Original post by rachaelamyy)
    Thank you so much for your replies, it makes it seem do-able and I really hope that they still are flexible with full-time workers. I think it will have to be a case of annual leave or un-paid leave but at least it'll be one step closer to getting the job I want! I have submitted interest with the Girl Guides so hopefully I'll hear from them soon
    Here's my advice: To be honest, secondary PGCE and GTP you may get away with a bit of volunteering in guides etc., but for primary, you'll have no chance at all without at least the minimum requirement. It so competitive! I was offered a PGCE place and a GTP - the latter I took obviously, as it means I can train in my own school AND get paid a salary rather than paying £9K for a course!! no brainer really! I volunteered one day a week for years whilst working, before taking the plunge and leaving work to do a 3 year degree. Financially it was a nightmare but we've just about managed! I graduated this year with a first and because my degree was linked to primary teaching, I have done 2 long block placements in 2 schools and it was this experience, plus my years of volunteering that got me the GTP and PGCE interviews and subsequent offers. Depending on the uni also depends on what they are looking for at interview, some processes are very heavy going, others more casual. I'd make sure you have all GCSEs in core subjects as well as 2 other NC foundation subjects or you won't even be considered for interview! The ECDL one for IT is good - they like that as shows you can work your way around a spreadsheet or powerpoint! You need to be aware of latest government policy - DofE site is good for that or TES. Above all, the time in school will help you understand if it really is for you - teaching is hard as well as rewarding and it's important to be fully involved with the school to really get a feel for it - offer to run a lunchtime club or after school activity too, this always looks good on CVs! Good luck!


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