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Finding work experience in a primary school during undergraduate degree watch

    • Thread Starter


    I'm about to embark on an undergraduate degree as a mature student (mid 20s) and one of the careers I'm strongly considering upon graduation is primary school teaching.

    I'm not dead set on it, however, so I'm not taking a B-Ed and plan to do a PGCE. This puts me joining the profession at a late age (early 30s) but I want to make sure I do the right thing.

    One reason why is that although I love kids and education and think the teaching lifestyle would work well for me (I am creative; well organised; willing to work extra hours during the week and weekday evenings etc in return for the longer holidays etc).

    However, I would like to gain experience before I definitely opt for the PGCE.

    I have heard horror stories of the extreme stress of teaching and would like to witness it first hand.

    I have been a pub supervisor before with very little training at a young age - managing wayward teenage staff and drunk rowdy adults in an environment that isn't exactly me (I'm not a huge drinker - education is much more me), so I can't help but think that all the complaints about teaching are slightly overblown middle-class paranoia (although I'm willing to admit that I could be very wrong).

    I can't imagine primary teaching is more stressful than running a large, busy, under-staffed pub restaurant, even with all the OFSTED audits and SATs etc.

    Every job has measurable results that if you don't meet them you're out - and I feel the pay and holidays of teaching more than compensate for this and many jobs (such as my previous) are equally stressful without the compensation.

    Most of my friends actually work in their jobs unpaid over the weekend (it's a sign of the times) and none of them are teachers.

    Anyway, gripe over, teachers do a very important job so I'm not bashing them and hope to potentially become one of them.

    My question is how could I gain experience whilst doing my undergraduate degree and working part-time during term-time (it would have to work around my uni studies and job).

    Do schools offer anything, even if voluntary, to BA students of another discipline, or would I have to be studying something education related?

    Any advice appreciated, also for approaching local primary schools about voluntary placements.

    Ring the schools up you are interested in working in and tell the you would like to volunteer and inform them of the hours you are available. They'll need to do a DBS check which should be free as you will not be paid. Then if the school is willing to take volunteers you should get the opportunity to work with groups of children under direction of the teacher who you will learn from by observing his/her practise and occasionally asking questions.

    I'd drop the attitude you seem to have to work load, holidays and stress as it will really get up peoples noses. People from all walks of life struggle with teaching and its demands and you won't know just how tough it can be until your doing some teaching.
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    Some unis have volunteering schemes, which will involve schools. I suggest that you contact your SU and see what there is on offer

    LOL well I'm early 40s and only thinking about getting into teaching now, so i must be ANCIENT!! :-D

    I started teaching at 45 after working in industry before that. Here's my analysis.

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    I doubt you will observe this as the teachers will be experienced at dealing with stress (on the whole).
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Yeah, apologies for the surliness with regards to the stress.
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