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    Im currently doing a joint degree in Mathematics and Economics. Math is the Major and Eco is the minor, so it is split 66% Math 33% Eco. Doing it in a top 30 uni, so not brilliant but not too shabby. Also obviously because its combined its a bsc as opposed to a MMath.
    Anyway im in my second year, I pretty sure I will be able to grad with a decent 2:1.

    Im currently considering a career in teaching, I was wondering if anyone with experience could tell me about their experiences.

    From research I believe you need to have a numerate degree and then you sit a PGCE
    I would specifically like to know, firstly I think that a PGCE is a combination of placements at local schools and learning teaching strategies. Am I far off? Also did you experience much difficulty with it, I've read posts on here with people saying its the toughest thing they ever did etc. Also how competitive is it to get onto a PGCE? Am I guaranteed a place or is there a fair chance I could be rejected. What price can I expect to pay.

    Also how difficult is it to obtain the available bursaries, I looked at the government site which details 20k for a first 15 for a 2.1, but is that the maximum i can expect opposed to what I would actually receive and is it just a case of gaining that degree classification, or will I be required to demonstrate other abilities or face an interviewed for it?

    Once you have completed a PGCE, what next? Are you a fully qualified Math teacher. Can you expect to find a job quickly. I think people assume qualified doctors almost walk into a role once qualified, is it the same for teachers? Or is there fierce competition, like say a prospective lawyer might face trying to get into a firm. Or will it perhaps be a mixture.

    And just to finish If you have qualified is there anything you would like to add about your experience, how do you now feel about teaching, do you have any regrets. Do you feel under-payed, overworked etc

    Also I have to say one of my concerns about teaching is that there doesn't seem to be many options to advance your career in terms of pay or position. Like if I did an amazing job teaching, although I would gain immense satisfaction for helping the students, I wouldn't really gain any rewards as opposed to another teacher who went to work and did a half-arsed Job. Am I right to say this? It is a concern for me, because although I really would enjoy teaching I am quite ambitious, I want to be someone who works hard and does a great job, but then be rewarded for that effort.

    I realise its a long post and it probably must seem like I haven't researched at all (I have quite a lot, I just want someone with actual experience to confirm or correct the info I have learnt)
    If there is anything you would like to add about your experiences, I'd very much like to hear about them.

    Oh also I realise my whole post was about teaching GCSE Maths, but honestly my preference would be to teach A-level Maths, I wouldn't mind teaching GCSE to, but I would much prefer to be an A-level teacher. Will that require additional qualifications.

    Thank you for anyone who took the time to read that massive block of text lol. I'd really appreciate any replies.
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    I studied Physics and did a Physics PGCE, but ended up teaching some maths as well.

    So to answer your questions:

    1. One route into teaching is to do a degree in the subject you want to teach and to then do a PGCE. The other routes are Teach First and, if it's still around, the GTP. I think the GTP is more 'learn on the job', and you apply to a school rather than a university, but I think you'd have to have a lot of experience as a TA to get a place. Teach First is not really designed for people who want a long career in teaching.

    2. Yeah, a PGCE combines university work with practical experience. Different universities will have differently-balanced courses. Some have more 'academic ' assignments than others, some ease you into teaching with a couple of days per week at first, whilst some throw you in quicker.

    3. I found my PGCE difficult purely because I hated my 'mentor' (the teacher in charge of you at school) at my first placement, and she hated me.

    Aside from issues like that, the PGCE should be OK. I always felt that being a student teacher impeded my authority a bit, and found being a real teacher a lot easier.

    My advice is to choose a university with a short first placement and a long second placement. Mine was the reverse - the problem with a long first placement is that you spend you first couple of months making mistakes and being amateur, and then when you get the hang of teaching you are still teaching the same kids who remember all those mistakes.

    4. The bursary has changed since I did it (2010) but when I did it you were given the amount advertised - it was not a maximum, it was just what you got. I didn't have to do anything to receive it, other than fill out a form from my university I think.

    5. After your PGCE you are not fully qualified. You can get a job in any school but you will be an NQT. The school you get a job at will have to take you through an induction year, where you will have standards to pass in a similar manner to during your PGCE. You will get a mentor again, but in contrast to the PGCE, you will only be observed a few times during the year. I had no trouble with the NQT year. Everyone will tell you that your NQT year is much harder than your PGCE, but I didn't find this.

    6. As a Maths teacher you should get a job, but you won't necessarily get the first one you apply for. Typically you will try to secure your job during your PGCE. As well as an interview for a job, you will have to teach a lesson at the school you are applying to. As a fairly untested teacher, you might find you don't get the first job you go for. But if you are good at teaching, you will secure a job for the year after your PGCE. The competition is not like it is in some other sectors - you might find yourself against 3-4 other people at interview.

    7. I completed my NQT but decided early into it to leave teaching at the end of my NQT year and am now back at university, going into a different sector next year. My main reasons were that I decided I wanted to try working in science, I worried I wasn't being intellectually tested (as pretentious as that sounds), I wanted a job with fewer demands on my free time, I was concerned by long-term financial prospects and I worried that having gone from school to university and straight back to school, I was depriving myself of a chance to try other things. However I don't regret teaching at all - it strengthened my character immensely, it had moments which are more rewarding than most other careers can offer, it was fun and interesting and interactive. I certainly haven't ruled out going back, but I feel like I should take the chance to try other careers while I am young enough to do so.

    I think you're right that in teaching, you choose how much work to put in. I disliked using my evenings and weekends - as I always did - for preparation and marking, but couldn't envisage going in and teaching unprepared, unsuccessful and boring lessons. I put in a lot of work but some (only some) teachers are happy to coast by. From comments from kids, the pupils to recognise the difference - they have no respect for those who put in no effort. The gains you get for working hard are that kids will behave better (because you will take the time to factor behaviour into your lesson plans), some pupils will appreciate you more (though not necessarily), your lessons will be smoother (because you have planned them properly) and the pupils will learn and achieve more.

    In teaching there is a pay scale which I think is about to become linked to performance. Depending on how that works, you will have an incentive to work harder. But I imagine this new system is just designed to reduce the number of teachers getting pay rises, not to allow hard-workers to climb faster.

    You sound a little like me - I felt that I set aside ambition to be a teacher. You can gain additional responsibilities but in truth, by switching careers my salary next year will be what I would have taken 10 years as a teacher to gain. If money is an issue, there are private schools - and especially taking on additional responsibilities, especially at private boarding schools, will get you more money. Private schools never appealed to me though.

    I guess, remember that you don't have to stay in teaching. My teaching experience has definitely helped me secure job offers for next year - I'm sure I wouldn't have got them if I had only university experience behind me.

    I loved teaching A-Level, and thankfully got to teach a lot of it. It won't require additional qualifications - I guess check the PGCE you apply to does include A-Level (though I only taught two A-Level lessons in my PGCE). The school you apply to might not give you A-Level though, but as a maths teacher you have a good chance.

    Whew, that's the longest thing I've ever typed on here.
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    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    From research I believe you need to have a numerate degree and then you sit a PGCE
    I would specifically like to know, firstly I think that a PGCE is a combination of placements at local schools and learning teaching strategies. Am I far off? Also did you experience much difficulty with it, I've read posts on here with people saying its the toughest thing they ever did etc. Also how competitive is it to get onto a PGCE? Am I guaranteed a place or is there a fair chance I could be rejected. What price can I expect to pay.
    That's one route of many. It is not particularly competitive to get onto a mathematics PGCE. There are unfilled places each year.

    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    Also how difficult is it to obtain the available bursaries, I looked at the government site which details 20k for a first 15 for a 2.1, but is that the maximum i can expect opposed to what I would actually receive and is it just a case of gaining that degree classification, or will I be required to demonstrate other abilities or face an interviewed for it?
    Not difficult at all but you should apply for a scholarship not a bursary as this will give you 20k for a 2:1 instead of 15k. If you are unsuccessful at interview (and you won't be) you will still get the 15k automatically.

    http://www.ima.org.uk/careers/teacher_scholarships.cfm

    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    Once you have completed a PGCE, what next? Are you a fully qualified Math teacher. Can you expect to find a job quickly. I think people assume qualified doctors almost walk into a role once qualified, is it the same for teachers? Or is there fierce competition, like say a prospective lawyer might face trying to get into a firm. Or will it perhaps be a mixture.
    You then find a post (easy if you are prepared to go anywhere although there are huge regional variations in demand) and complete your induction year as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) - this entitles you to a reduced timetable and additional support.

    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    Also I have to say one of my concerns about teaching is that there doesn't seem to be many options to advance your career in terms of pay or position. Like if I did an amazing job teaching, although I would gain immense satisfaction for helping the students, I wouldn't really gain any rewards as opposed to another teacher who went to work and did a half-arsed Job. Am I right to say this?
    No you are not right. You will not receive bonuses but you will put yourself in line for promotion and pay progression. There are a huge number of possible career pathways.

    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    Oh also I realise my whole post was about teaching GCSE Maths, but honestly my preference would be to teach A-level Maths, I wouldn't mind teaching GCSE to, but I would much prefer to be an A-level teacher. Will that require additional qualifications.
    No.
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    Great post, eloquently delivered. I have three questions about your experiences with your PGCE:

    1. Controlling the class
    There clearly must have been those teachers who simply didn't convey enough authority to gain their students' respect; how did these teachers fare in the long run? Obviously some will crumble and fail, but in your own words, how difficult do people find the control element of the classroom?

    2. Support from others
    How supportive was your PGCE? Is it very much a sink or swim environment, or do you receive some form of structure?

    3. Technical ability
    In terms of grades and universities, what were we looking at? Was there any form of consistency between first degree grades, and quality of teaching?
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    Fantastic responses guys! Thanks a lot. Really given me a lot to think about.
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    (Original post by paddyman4)

    Whew, that's the longest thing I've ever typed on here.
    It was definitely appreciated
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    (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
    Great post, eloquently delivered. I have three questions about your experiences with your PGCE:

    1. Controlling the class
    There clearly must have been those teachers who simply didn't convey enough authority to gain their students' respect; how did these teachers fare in the long run? Obviously some will crumble and fail, but in your own words, how difficult do people find the control element of the classroom?

    2. Support from others
    How supportive was your PGCE? Is it very much a sink or swim environment, or do you receive some form of structure?

    3. Technical ability
    In terms of grades and universities, what were we looking at? Was there any form of consistency between first degree grades, and quality of teaching?
    1.
    It's difficult for me to know how difficult people found behaviour to be honest. There were only a few PGCE interns I worked with - those in my placement schools. You don't get an accurate impression on things like this from talking to people, because teachers rarely admit they have a problem with behaviour.

    No one is perfect with behaviour management, but I think the key is to never be satisfied with anything less than perfect. I know a couple of teachers with awful behaviour management who just don't do anything about it - they like teaching the easy classes and just 'get through' the bad classes, accepting that they are badly behaved. When you have a class that is not behaving, you need to come up with a strategy to fix this.

    2.
    You get structure - regular meetings with your mentor, feedback after every lesson,etc. I think your PGCE experience is largely decided by your mentor and your school - you need to hope for one who is supportive but constructively critical. Whilst there are contacts with the university, in reality you have to rely on your mentor and other teachers in your placement school.

    3.
    To be honest, I wasn't really aware of other interns' educational backgrounds. You just need to know your subject back to front, I doubt that educational background has an effect beyond that.
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    (Original post by anonstudent1)
    It was definitely appreciated
    You're welcome!
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    Teaching is for failures. Guaranteed job (in STEM at least) long holidays and getting to be smarter than the people you're working with (pupils) is why anybody does it.
 
 
 
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