Hey there ladies and gents!
This will be a little bit long so I appreciate anyone reading it. I'll give you a short version so as not to waste your time, and a life story version to explain why I was a silly boy who didn't get a better result.
Brief: got a third class honours degree in genetics, worked in science for a bit, got tired of it and then went to Japan and taught. I like it and want to be a language teacher in the UK in the future but have no idea of what to do with my crap degree.
Full: I never liked school. Being the lanky and awkward kid, I didn't enjoy the school environment as a pupil thanks to the other children. In primary school I always got in trouble for one reason or another and never really applied myself to my studies at all. (Supposedly due to severe ADHD, according to professionals, but whatever). I spent secondary school as a B student, coasting through based on being smart, but never really studying hard. This didn't set a good precedent for my university studies. I enrolled at 18 years old, and to be honest, I could give a list longer than my arm with my excuses as to why did poorly. The truth is that as a young man I lacked a work ethic, had terrible untreated bouts of depression and had gradually came to loathe being in university. Of course, in a misguided sense of just wanting to get it over with I didn't repeat - I left with a final grade of 48%.
Luckily, as a good speaker, I quickly landed a job in business development of a major scientific supplier. I did alright there for a couple of years, but hated my life working in an office, and I knew that work as a research scientist would be no better. Thinking back, the most exciting time of my life had been during an exchange at the age of 14 to a small town in Japan. I longed for that experience again, and so, I applied for an Assistant Language Teacher job there in Japan, got accepted and handed in my notice.
Two and a half years later, I am a far happier person. I've discovered that I love languages and want to keep teaching them. Now I speak and read Japanese well (JLPT2, hoping for JLPT1 this Winter), holding very little formal training in the subject. I will keep working on this and I hope to learn more languages. But now, I desire a path to becoming a real language teacher in the UK. Ironically, the kid who hated school is now desiring to become a proper teacher! And also he is realising he has messed up a lot...
Anyway! What should I, as the bloke with a poor degree in an unrelated subject, do to gain formal qualified teaching status in the UK? Most courses ask for 2:1 or above in a relevant subject. I won't totally rule out a second bachelor's, but due to the massive cost that it will incur, that's a last resort.
Here's my pros:
-Relatively young, 26.
-Likes languages, speaks Japanese, was good at French at school.
-Although officially called an Assistant Language Teacher, I do lead classes often, and I am told by my colleagues that I have talent and give good classes, have a good personality
-I'm doing an intensive CELTA next month as I hope to teach in another country next year. (I intend to return home after a year in another country)
-Poor academic track record. Seems like third class honours awardees are butt of many a joke.
-Won't get funding, because of aforementioned degree
-As it would be a while before I go back to the UK, I'm aware that what is okay now may not be applicable tomorrow, as guidelines appear to be getting stricter all the time.
Thank you for reading. Your constructive advice will be very much appreciated!
Irrelevant 3rd class honours - what path to teaching MFL? Watch
- Thread Starter
- 16-07-2014 07:08
- 19-07-2014 21:46
I will be honest with you. I think you have no chance of becoming a school teacher in maintained schools in the UK. The MFL teachers at the school where I teach are fluent in two, sometimes three languages, and hold degrees in those languages. To get on a PGCE course requires a good degree and those with 2:2s have difficulty getting a place, let alone a third. To do another degree in languages you will have to fund yourself entirely, since you have no further entitlement to student finance, and to be accepted onto such a degree in a language, you will have to have A levels or the equivalent in languages, or find an Access course which will give you the right background for this. All of these things on their own are difficult barriers to overcome, but you have a full house. Your ability to speak Japanese is a good thing and rare, but it is not in demand in UK schools. If I were you, I would go the TEFL route and capitalise on having both Japanese and English by staying in Japan.
- Thread Starter
- 20-07-2014 04:43
Ah bugger. I was afraid this would be the case. Thanks for the reply.
To be honest, wages teaching English are quite poor out here and have been stagnant for many years - and with tax rises hitting your average Taro hardest, it's leaving me wondering how I can eke out a decent living in the future.
At this point I'm wondering if I'd be better as a tradesman... But that's something for another thread, eh?
- 20-07-2014 11:58
I have to agree with carnationlilyrose. From what I've read on the teaching forums, it is an achievement for people with a languages degree to get onto an MFL PGCE and it would probably mean a second bachelor for you.
If you like teaching languages, teaching English as a Foreign Language is your best bet although if you want to teach Japanese, each language usually has an official academy and their own exams you can pass to teach it. For example, Spanish has the Instituto Cervantes and you can do an exam similar to the CELTA to teach it so maybe there is something like this for Japanese although I've never heard of any schools that offer Japanese and unless you're fluent in French, you wouldn't be able to take this either.
If it helps, I've decided to stay in TEFL as opposed to do a PGCE by choice. I got a first in modern languages but I like the small class sizes and range of options we have in terms of countries we can teach in and what type ofn English to teach...kids, business, academic etc. The money is not great but I have flexibility in where I work and freedom in what I teach and I've realised I'm not prepared to give that up! If you specialise in an area of TEFL and do qualifications like the DELTA or a MA which would be more open to accepting you, you could take more senior roles in the future with big companies, teacher training, universities abroad etc.