I want to become a teacher, but I’m worried about doing the degree in regards to the workload. Can I live off a teaching assistant salary? On my own?
Assalaamu aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu
I am about to apply for a PGCE; there are other routes available like Schools Direct which does not involve doing university work and it will pay you a salary akin to a teaching assistant if not more.
My advice, however, is a PGCE is looked upon more favourably if you are intending to work abroad after this (I know you have not indicated this but based on your name, I know Muslims tend to want to go to the Khaleej to work and make the big bucks), and no one cares what university you go to when you have a PGCE, so go to an 'easier' university; the Russell Group universities just give you extra work for no reason, apparently. On top of this, you get the tax free scholarship for certain subjects.
Regarding living on your own, that's expensive unless you dont mind living in a room in a shared house with shared facilities. The current economic climate is merciless and I severely doubt it will ease up anytime soon. A teaching assistant salary is not much.
I live on my own (in a shared house) currently, and I have a salary between £30,000-£40,000. It is enough to get me by with a comfortable standard of living and some savings, but you would not make that much as a qualified TA - you are looking between £15,000-£25,000. On the higher end, you can scrape by probably, but you need experience for that.
To caveat my post, I do live in the south of England, so the cost of living is higher, but so is the salary. Something I found out when considering moving up north is that though rent is generally cheaper for 2+ bedroom properties, for 1 bedroom properties, you will still be paying a hefty amount of your salary as there is low supply and high demand for these properties, so you do not feel the cost living savings. That is why you would likely have to share a house.
Edit: I have realised that on another thread, you were asking about education degrees rather than PGCEs (which necessitate you having a degree). I cannot advise on that because I already have my degree, but I guess you may still benefit from my general advice about the cost of living.
There are two options for you. The first would be to get a degree that also awards QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). If you are doing this, then a proportion of your degree would be on placement, and in two different schools and so unlikely that you'd be able to continue in your own school. You would be able to apply for student finance and support (Council/income tax rebate, dependents grants, etc) for this option.
Otherwise, you could do a degree (ideally in a curriculum subject area) and then a post-grad teacher training course. There are open university courses that you could do alongside your work, or you could do a full time course, and work around that, but depending on when your lectures are would determine if you can stay with your school. You would also be able to claim for student financial support for this.
Either way, to become a teacher, you do need to have a degree.