AccountHolder
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I am doing a biomedical science degree at a RG uni, and I think I want to teach secondary science.

Does anyone have any advice about how to get experience and make a PGCE application look good, and how it was working to be a qualified teacher?

Also, it is possible to teach if I have ASD, as it’s something I like, but I don’t know if if my pupils found out it would go down well or if they’d think less of me because of it. On the other hand, could it be a benefit?

Thank you all in advance x
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bluebeetle
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(Original post by AccountHolder)
I am doing a biomedical science degree at a RG uni, and I think I want to teach secondary science.

Does anyone have any advice about how to get experience and make a PGCE application look good, and how it was working to be a qualified teacher?

Also, it is possible to teach if I have ASD, as it’s something I like, but I don’t know if if my pupils found out it would go down well or if they’d think less of me because of it. On the other hand, could it be a benefit?

Thank you all in advance x
Coronavirus may disrupt this, but I think a good time to get experience is June / July time, after the academic year at university has finished but schools are still open. I was able to get an internship in a school for a month through my university career services (though it was only available for certain shortage subjects). Otherwise, I believe that Get Into Teaching can help with getting school experience. Their website also has really good information on the application process.

I've also got ASD and have just finished my NQT year. I think it very much depends on your personal experience with ASD, as I know it can vary a lot from person to person. I'll list below the pros and cons that I've found specifically relating to having ASD as a teacher.

Pros:
- Clear daily routine
- Working with people who are interested in the same thing as you and also like talking about it
- Getting to spend a lot of your day talking about what you find interesting
- Able to relate to students with ASD
- Rules for students are clear, so easy to enforce
- Having your own classroom as a quiet space (outside of class times) that you can organise just how you like
- "Deadlines" are often relatively short term (e.g. papers need to be marked this week, lesson needs to be planned by tomorrow)

Cons:
- Lots of how a school runs isn't explained when you arrive, a lot of it is learned through asking and watching others, which can be hard! Things like knowing how photocopying works, knowing who to ask about specific issues
- Students can pick up on some of the less common behaviours. If you're sensitive about this, it could be an issue. Personally, I've got quite thick skin about it
- Can be a bit harder to relate to neurotypical students
- Can't always decompress when you need to. If you need decompression time after lots of interactions and noise, it's important to look at your schedule and figure out exactly when and where you're going to take that time.
- Learning social norms for interactions with other adults - especially parents - can be challenging. Observe other teachers interacting with parents as much as you can!
- You will sometimes have to sit through training sessions about ASD led by people who knows less about it than you do
- Sometimes students will get in the way of the routine of a lesson or mess with some aspect of your classroom that you have just the way you like it

If you've got any more specific questions about having ASD is a teacher, feel free to ask! I know before I actually started training, I was really worried it would be an issue, but honestly the pros for me massively outweigh the cons.
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by bluebeetle)
Coronavirus may disrupt this, but I think a good time to get experience is June / July time, after the academic year at university has finished but schools are still open. I was able to get an internship in a school for a month through my university career services (though it was only available for certain shortage subjects). Otherwise, I believe that Get Into Teaching can help with getting school experience. Their website also has really good information on the application process.

I've also got ASD and have just finished my NQT year. I think it very much depends on your personal experience with ASD, as I know it can vary a lot from person to person. I'll list below the pros and cons that I've found specifically relating to having ASD as a teacher.

Pros:
- Clear daily routine
- Working with people who are interested in the same thing as you and also like talking about it
- Getting to spend a lot of your day talking about what you find interesting
- Able to relate to students with ASD
- Rules for students are clear, so easy to enforce
- Having your own classroom as a quiet space (outside of class times) that you can organise just how you like
- "Deadlines" are often relatively short term (e.g. papers need to be marked this week, lesson needs to be planned by tomorrow)

Cons:
- Lots of how a school runs isn't explained when you arrive, a lot of it is learned through asking and watching others, which can be hard! Things like knowing how photocopying works, knowing who to ask about specific issues
- Students can pick up on some of the less common behaviours. If you're sensitive about this, it could be an issue. Personally, I've got quite thick skin about it
- Can be a bit harder to relate to neurotypical students
- Can't always decompress when you need to. If you need decompression time after lots of interactions and noise, it's important to look at your schedule and figure out exactly when and where you're going to take that time.
- Learning social norms for interactions with other adults - especially parents - can be challenging. Observe other teachers interacting with parents as much as you can!
- You will sometimes have to sit through training sessions about ASD led by people who knows less about it than you do
- Sometimes students will get in the way of the routine of a lesson or mess with some aspect of your classroom that you have just the way you like it

If you've got any more specific questions about having ASD is a teacher, feel free to ask! I know before I actually started training, I was really worried it would be an issue, but honestly the pros for me massively outweigh the cons.
Thank you so much. I found this very useful and the cons don’t sound too difficult for me, as I was actually only diagnosed at 18 so I feel like I can understand the ASD students but also help the neurotypical students as I was treated like one.

I’m a bit confused about whether a PGCE or SCITT route would be better for secondary teaching, and I know some SCITT courses can award a PGCE. Do you have any advice or info on this?
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bluebeetle
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(Original post by AccountHolder)
Thank you so much. I found this very useful and the cons don’t sound too difficult for me, as I was actually only diagnosed at 18 so I feel like I can understand the ASD students but also help the neurotypical students as I was treated like one.

I’m a bit confused about whether a PGCE or SCITT route would be better for secondary teaching, and I know some SCITT courses can award a PGCE. Do you have any advice or info on this?
I personally did a QTS-only SCITT route. By the time I started training, I was honestly quite sick of university, and I also had a lot of classroom experience both observing and teaching small groups, so I felt ready to just jump in and get on with it. That's why a SCITT worked for me.

To be honest, I think a lot of it depends on the training provider. Some SCITTs will do things differently. What I did - and what I would recommend to others - was interview at both a university and a SCITT and asked a lot of questions at both about what the course format was like and what advantages they had over the other. Then I decided after getting offers which one I preferred. I don't know if I can personally give a good comparison of university-based vs SCITT because I loved doing the latter and so I'm really biased towards it!
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by bluebeetle)
I personally did a QTS-only SCITT route. By the time I started training, I was honestly quite sick of university, and I also had a lot of classroom experience both observing and teaching small groups, so I felt ready to just jump in and get on with it. That's why a SCITT worked for me.

To be honest, I think a lot of it depends on the training provider. Some SCITTs will do things differently. What I did - and what I would recommend to others - was interview at both a university and a SCITT and asked a lot of questions at both about what the course format was like and what advantages they had over the other. Then I decided after getting offers which one I preferred. I don't know if I can personally give a good comparison of university-based vs SCITT because I loved doing the latter and so I'm really biased towards it!
I’ve heard that SCITTs find NQT years easier because they have all of that experience already and have had a mentor there from the start to help, so currently I am leaning a bit more towards a SCITT but still need to finish my degree.

I know degrees do a year in industry. Is it possible to do one of these in a school, and if it is, do you think that would boost my application?
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bluebeetle
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(Original post by AccountHolder)
I’ve heard that SCITTs find NQT years easier because they have all of that experience already and have had a mentor there from the start to help, so currently I am leaning a bit more towards a SCITT but still need to finish my degree.

I know degrees do a year in industry. Is it possible to do one of these in a school, and if it is, do you think that would boost my application?
I'm not sure that you would be able to do a year in industry in a school. For schools, taking on somebody who's 'below a trainee' for a whole year would be quite an extreme commitment.

I got a large part of my school experience by doing a year abroad, where I was able to get a paid position in a school teaching English to small groups. However, a condition of this was that I had to also speak the native language, so it might not be viable for you. If you're concerned about getting more experience before starting your teacher training, you can also look into working as a TA for a year, though the salary isn't great and it's not really needed. I just know a few people who did TA work for a year or two before starting their training, and they tended to do very well.

I can say that I didn't find my NQT as bad as I have heard other people saying they have. However, I would put a lot of this down to being fortunate to work at an extremely supportive school. I do think that perhaps I found it easier to go through the job interview process, because at that point I'd had more experience in school than a typical university-based PGCE student. I think being in schools more made me more confident with behaviour management too. Also, on a SCITT course, I was able to observe how teachers dealt with that very first lesson with a new class in September, so it made it easier starting as an NQT in September.
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by bluebeetle)
I'm not sure that you would be able to do a year in industry in a school. For schools, taking on somebody who's 'below a trainee' for a whole year would be quite an extreme commitment.

I got a large part of my school experience by doing a year abroad, where I was able to get a paid position in a school teaching English to small groups. However, a condition of this was that I had to also speak the native language, so it might not be viable for you. If you're concerned about getting more experience before starting your teacher training, you can also look into working as a TA for a year, though the salary isn't great and it's not really needed. I just know a few people who did TA work for a year or two before starting their training, and they tended to do very well.

I can say that I didn't find my NQT as bad as I have heard other people saying they have. However, I would put a lot of this down to being fortunate to work at an extremely supportive school. I do think that perhaps I found it easier to go through the job interview process, because at that point I'd had more experience in school than a typical university-based PGCE student. I think being in schools more made me more confident with behaviour management too. Also, on a SCITT course, I was able to observe how teachers dealt with that very first lesson with a new class in September, so it made it easier starting as an NQT in September.
Thank you. I may not do a year in industry, this just makes me really anxious and I would not be interested, and instead look at getting some experience at the end of my uni year. When I think about career prospects, research, writing, PhD etc, teaching secondary is what always makes me excited. I’ve done a few days at a local SEN primary school and tutored some of my classmates and a friend in the year below and enjoyed that also. I don’t know if my parents will approve but it’s what I want. I love the idea of the same structure every year, but with every day being different, and I enjoy things like marking and planning etc and have gone to a few primary schools through my secondary school and taught a few lessons I planned to them and enjoyed that.
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bluebeetle
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(Original post by AccountHolder)
Thank you. I may not do a year in industry, this just makes me really anxious and I would not be interested, and instead look at getting some experience at the end of my uni year. When I think about career prospects, research, writing, PhD etc, teaching secondary is what always makes me excited. I’ve done a few days at a local SEN primary school and tutored some of my classmates and a friend in the year below and enjoyed that also. I don’t know if my parents will approve but it’s what I want. I love the idea of the same structure every year, but with every day being different, and I enjoy things like marking and planning etc and have gone to a few primary schools through my secondary school and taught a few lessons I planned to them and enjoyed that.
Sounds like you've put a good amount of thought into it! I was the same, I got some experience and pretty much knew that secondary teaching was what I wanted to do, and for a lot of the same reasons as you've listed.
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DrTomato
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I'm starting my PGCE next week. I probably have ASD. Oh come on, I've spent 20 years as a programmer... I must be on the spectrum.

When I went to school there was very little in the way of SEN and there were no TA's. Maybe that was for the better... that's a good topic for an assignment or two.

As far as getting experience I did a basic TEFL course then a CELTA and taught English for 2.5 years in Chinese universities. Discipline isn't really a problem there but I did have large class sizes to deal with. I think ASD maybe helps when it comes to performing in class. In normal times teaching overseas for a while would be brilliant preparation for the PGCE.

As for Uni's/SCITTs... I found my local SCITT were really stuffy about taking on somebody with commercial experience in their subject but no related degree.

I was going to teach Chemistry (Secondary) but decided to stick with Computer Science as I reckoned I should stick to what I know.
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by DrTomato)
I'm starting my PGCE next week. I probably have ASD. Oh come on, I've spent 20 years as a programmer... I must be on the spectrum.

When I went to school there was very little in the way of SEN and there were no TA's. Maybe that was for the better... that's a good topic for an assignment or two.

As far as getting experience I did a basic TEFL course then a CELTA and taught English for 2.5 years in Chinese universities. Discipline isn't really a problem there but I did have large class sizes to deal with. I think ASD maybe helps when it comes to performing in class. In normal times teaching overseas for a while would be brilliant preparation for the PGCE.

As for Uni's/SCITTs... I found my local SCITT were really stuffy about taking on somebody with commercial experience in their subject but no related degree.

I was going to teach Chemistry (Secondary) but decided to stick with Computer Science as I reckoned I should stick to what I know.
Thank you for your reply. It’s very useful. I would just like to say, not all people with ASD will appreciate your comment about being a programmer therefore you must have ASD. Many will feel like that undermines their own experiences and stereotypes them, though I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, and with further detail it would be fine. But again, thank you.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by bluebeetle)
Coronavirus may disrupt this, but I think a good time to get experience is June / July time, after the academic year at university has finished but schools are still open. I was able to get an internship in a school for a month through my university career services (though it was only available for certain shortage subjects). Otherwise, I believe that Get Into Teaching can help with getting school experience. Their website also has really good information on the application process.

I've also got ASD and have just finished my NQT year. I think it very much depends on your personal experience with ASD, as I know it can vary a lot from person to person. I'll list below the pros and cons that I've found specifically relating to having ASD as a teacher.

Pros:
- Clear daily routine
- Working with people who are interested in the same thing as you and also like talking about it
- Getting to spend a lot of your day talking about what you find interesting
- Able to relate to students with ASD
- Rules for students are clear, so easy to enforce
- Having your own classroom as a quiet space (outside of class times) that you can organise just how you like
- "Deadlines" are often relatively short term (e.g. papers need to be marked this week, lesson needs to be planned by tomorrow)

Cons:
- Lots of how a school runs isn't explained when you arrive, a lot of it is learned through asking and watching others, which can be hard! Things like knowing how photocopying works, knowing who to ask about specific issues
- Students can pick up on some of the less common behaviours. If you're sensitive about this, it could be an issue. Personally, I've got quite thick skin about it
- Can be a bit harder to relate to neurotypical students
- Can't always decompress when you need to. If you need decompression time after lots of interactions and noise, it's important to look at your schedule and figure out exactly when and where you're going to take that time.
- Learning social norms for interactions with other adults - especially parents - can be challenging. Observe other teachers interacting with parents as much as you can!
- You will sometimes have to sit through training sessions about ASD led by people who knows less about it than you do
- Sometimes students will get in the way of the routine of a lesson or mess with some aspect of your classroom that you have just the way you like it

If you've got any more specific questions about having ASD is a teacher, feel free to ask! I know before I actually started training, I was really worried it would be an issue, but honestly the pros for me massively outweigh the cons.
PRSOM!

(Original post by AccountHolder)
I’ve heard that SCITTs find NQT years easier because they have all of that experience already and have had a mentor there from the start to help, so currently I am leaning a bit more towards a SCITT but still need to finish my degree.

I know degrees do a year in industry. Is it possible to do one of these in a school, and if it is, do you think that would boost my application?
I think it's very unlikely that unis would allow you to do a year in industry and in a school, and I'm also not sure if a secondary school could find a useful role for you. I think you'd be better off getting experience in the summer term as suggested, and possibly volunteering with teens in a non school environment (e.g. youth club/sports club etc). I'd consider using a year in industry to get experience of a non-education job- I am never sure if doing school-uni-ITT is a good route. I think it's often better to get experience outside of education before training to teach.

There are upsides to doing a SCITT, but all routes will give you a lot of time on placement and experience. Most SCITT students don't get jobs in the schools they trained in, so won't have the same mentor. Everyone gets a mentor for their NQT year, regardless. FWIW, I did a PGCE, and my NQT year was fine.

I'm wondering if you're thinking of Schools Direct, where some courses do actively recruit their student teachers for their own teaching alliance. Schools Direct can be a good route, but if things go wrong, you have little external back up. With a PGCE through a uni, and to a lesser extent a SCITT, you have the support of a large institution, which can be useful if you have a real problem.
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LucyannJohnsson
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Half the maths department will be on the AS!

Children can and will be cruel! If they want to they ll pick up on anything to terrorise you.

The other reply has a lot of valuable points but only you ll know how you would cope with a difficult gang of pupils!
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by LucyannJohnsson)
Half the maths department will be on the AS!

Children can and will be cruel! If they want to they ll pick up on anything to terrorise you.

The other reply has a lot of valuable points but only you ll know how you would cope with a difficult gang of pupils!
I don’t think your first statement is true.
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LucyannJohnsson
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(Original post by AccountHolder)
I don’t think your first statement is true.
No it probably isn’t. It’s more like three quarters 😂
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AccountHolder
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(Original post by LucyannJohnsson)
No it probably isn’t. It’s more like three quarters 😂
It’s not funny it’s stereotyping.
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