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Thread: Career options

  1. #1
    shroob is offline Member
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    Default Career options

    Hello everyone,

    I have potentially been offered a place on an intensive CELTA course in July, however I have also been accepted on a PGCE course in September. I am in two minds over which course to accept.

    I would love to travel, and I see TEFL as a way to do this. However, I also see myself returning to this country (UK) in the long run. While I realise this is a personal decision only I can make, I would appreciate the input of experienced TEFL teachers.

    How realistic is my idea to TEFL for, say, 2-5 years then return to the UK and be a 'mainstream' teacher (doing the PGCE when I return). Or would I be better doing the PGCE, become a qualified teacher then go abroad?

    An other possibility would be to do the CELTA and the PGCE, the downside being I don't have the money yet and it will cost over £5,000. As I am a recent graduate with no full time job, this may not be an option.

    Another quesiton is how is the TEFL job market in the UK - I have only seen a handful of job opportunities advertised. Is this something that will be realistically limited to overseas?

    Finally, for those who have been a TEFL teacher for a few years, then returned and gone into a job that isn't teaching related, I would like to know how they used their TEFL experience to get the job they now have (if that makes sense).

    Many thanks for your time and input.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Career options

    Quote Originally Posted by shroob View Post
    While I realise this is a personal decision only I can make, I would appreciate the input of experienced TEFL teachers.
    If you have a PGCE, it widens the range of jobs open to you in the world of ELT. In many countries, TEFL/TESOL certficates, even respectable ones such as the CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL, are not recognised by state schools.

    When I returned to the UK from my first ELT work abroad, many years ago, it was a great relief to me that, with my qualified teacher status, I was able to find a job in the state system. It would be a bit disheartening to find that returning after two or three years in ELT with very little money, you then have to take a PGCE course before you can start earning in the state system.

  3. #3
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Career options

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If you have a PGCE, it widens the range of jobs open to you in the world of ELT. In many countries, TEFL/TESOL certficates, even respectable ones such as the CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL, are not recognised by state schools.
    Is this right? The PGCE is quite specialized in what it qualifies you to teach. I wouldn't have thought it qualifies you to teach English as a foreign language in the state system of a foreign country. Obviously with a PGCE you would still have the option of international schools, although I don't know how willing they are to take newly qualified teachers on. They usually want international baccalaureate experience too, from what I've read on adverts.

    As for TEFL in the UK, you'll probably find that you'd have to do more qualifications to get a job, since they tend to have higher requirements than abroad. A DELTA is often the minimum in the UK (which would cost you another £3k), although there are exceptions.

    I doubt whether a PGCE would represent a ticket to working abroad tbh, in the same way that a CELTA does. You can't generally teach in public schools with a CELTA, but you can certainly teach in any country you want to in private language schools. Personally, I would do the CELTA first if living and teaching abroad is what you want to do. And in many countries, you'll have the added bonus of easily being able to save money, which will come in handy for your PGCE year.

    But what I would actually recommend is finding out which country you want to go to, and researching that specifically.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Career options

    I also think that doing the PGCE before going could be a good idea- it both sows that this was your plan in the first place and coming back and starting studying after a few years out could be harder than doing it now.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Career options

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    Is this right? The PGCE is quite specialized in what it qualifies you to teach.
    The system may have changed, but in my day the PGCE was a qualification as a teacher, not as a teacher of any particular subject. Of course, if you trained as a teacher of French, you are unlikely to be appointed as aa teacher of maths, but you could be. I taught pretty well every subject under the sun during my time in secondary schools in the UK. Indeed, a deciding factor in the choice between two equally suitable candidates for a job would often be what other subjects they could (not were qualified to) teach.
    I wouldn't have thought it qualifies you to teach English as a foreign language in the state system of a foreign country.
    That will depend on the regulations in the particular country. My point was that if you do not have a PGCE or other government-recognised teaching qualification, you will not normally be able to teach in a state school.

  6. #6
    shroob is offline Member
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    Default Re: Career options

    PGCE's are specialised to the area you want to teach. I've been accepted on a Primary PGCE course - so would be focussed on the primary curriculum (all subjects), as opposed to say, a PGCE in History where you would be teaching secondary school children only in History.

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    Default Re: Career options

    My understanding is that, once you have your PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status, you are legally qualified to teach virtually any subject at any level. You probably won't get a job as a teacher of a subject in which you have no training or experience, but that is another matter.

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    shroob is offline Member
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    Default Re: Career options

    Yes, thats how I believe it works also. You do a PGCE in a specific area of teaching, then you are a NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) after a years teaching you become a 'full teacher'.

    As you said I think you can teach any subject, but realistically I don't think you will find schools willing to employ a non-specialised teacher (apart from short term supply work I think).


    All these decisions.... CELTA vs. PGCE....

    So far my thinking is that CELTA is a short term choice, travel abroad for a bit...see the world etc. Its the return thats the worry, finding a job etc.

    PGCE is a long term option, if I pass I have qualified teacher status and a potential career.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Career options

    If you take the PGCE before you travel, it may help with working in international schools and would make coming back a lot simpler. Quite a lot of people set out to teach abroad for a couple of years andfind themselves doing it for a lot longer than that. Having it could IMO reduce the risk of career/plan slippage.

  10. #10
    shroob is offline Member
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    Default Re: Career options

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    If you take the PGCE before you travel, it may help with working in international schools and would make coming back a lot simpler. Quite a lot of people set out to teach abroad for a couple of years andfind themselves doing it for a lot longer than that. Having it could IMO reduce the risk of career/plan slippage.

    The PGCE will be useful in the long run like you suggest. To be honest as long as I am happy I wouldn't mind spending more than a couple of years abroad.

    It's just the prospect of returning to the UK and finding myself unable to find employment - though looking at the job market today I think a couple of years out might be beneficial.

    I have rung up Student Finance England (who give loans/grants) and found out that I may be eligible for a £2300 grant (due to my familys low income) and a £250 grant from the university. That means the tuition fee of £3,300 doesn't seem so bad - only £700.

    I could potentially do the CELTA in July/August and then the PGCE starting in September. Its an option I'm thinking more and more about....

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