Not sure why I feel in such turmoil over doing it! Sorry to hear about your experience, but I know exactly how you feel, I was feeling similar at this point in my training year. As a parent of 3 children I cannot imagine doing a masters alongside School Direct, the course alone nearly finished me off! I have just completed my Hons degree in education attaining a 2:1 (primary) . I’m hoping to go to back to School nursing with a little re-training. I had taken a theme and riffed on it, and the children loved it. I’m 43 and about to apply for art and design School Direct Salaried.I’ve not had a creative career apart from the odd private job even though I have a degree in Textile Design so for me this will be a challenge as it’ll be a very different beast to teach compared to English grammar. Listing the array of services (including direct and indirect services as well as compliance-related activities) on service plans will help SLPs document these student-centered workload activities and, as previously noted, help communi­cate to parents, teachers, and others how much time SLPs devote to students beyond direct … Whatsmore I’ll also have a tutor group to manage, it may be a shared responsibility or not..I don’t know yet. Congrats on succeeding in such a difficult career . I hope she’ll remain understanding. I found I was working similar hours just because as an NQT everything took me longer than it would an experienced teacher. Great post – thank you. Having said that, the academic institution matters too. Good luck. I spent a day in one school doing round after round of X-Factor style auditions, where I was the oldest person by far (45 at the time). Clearly, fixed whole days are likely to be more productive. My university tutor commented on one of my observations that I was more like a classroom assistant than a teacher. I was able to see possible links between this and a child who, unexpectedly, started to seek attention through petty theft and vandalism. Could be wishful thinking there though!). Hi Marie, apologies for the late reply. Mine are 7 and 5 now. I think it’s hard for anyone who’s been teaching for any length of time to understand the sheer horror of being a trainee teacher, staring at a blank lesson proforma. Although I have no background in a school teaching environment I do have time spent as an instructor in the military. I have read the blog with huge interest! I would like to ask one question though….is 12k the average wage out there for someone doing the schools direct course? My department are very supportive though and this has been a huge help in the short time ao far. Right now I have 5 more lessons to plan, resources and prep for the whole week to consider, 30 books to mark (detailed mark) and all the Uni side to catch up on. Let us know how you get on. At the moment, it’s not unusual for me to pick up my son and then work until the early hours, once he’s gone to bed. Once a candidate fulfils all the basic criteria, with School Direct there’s more leeway for schools to appoint a trainee of their choice. We did binary maths, we broke and made codes. Schools advertise their School Direct places on their own website – check out vacancies at Goffs school. As my husband is away at least one night a week, I do have nursery pick-ups to take into consideration. The shift in ‘ownership’ from universities to schools left many confused as to who was in charge, and some things were neglected as each institution thought the other was dealing with it. Now I am at the point of believing that I cannot teach and I feel like telling the school the reason for this is because that is what they have led me to believe. It’s giving me some serious food for thought as am currently debating whether or not to go into Primary Ed down the SD route or try a PGCE. I got a job as an NQT in a different school but, very reluctantly, resigned at the end of November. I recently asked for more support in the class, simply to tell me what I’m doing wrong to combat low level behaviour issues and was made to feel like I’m failing. Planning lessons took me an eternity; I probably spent 3 or 4 hours preparing each hour-long lesson. Don’t use normal notebooks, write everything in spiral-bound hole-punched note pads with detachable pages – everything is evidence. The sad thing is that I actually enjoy teaching and working with children. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of your SD year. My experience may have been totally different in a different school. Given term is nearly over, have you been offered an NQT year in your current school? However, the reality is more complex than this. Good luck making your choices and I hope everything works out for what’s best for you. Whilst in my second school, I also ran a weekly debating club for Year 5; discussions with children in this age group on a range of controversial issues – the environment, mobile phones – helped me improve my understanding of how older children think and what motivates them. Talk to more School Direct candidates (there are some on Twitter if you can’t find any). As for the masters, I think that depends on your personal circumstances. Thanks so much for your help! At your interview did you mention your previous teacher training experience? I think it’s fair to say that School Direct had its teething problems in its first year. Are you in primary or secondary? By avoiding distractions, skimming through readings, assigning time for homework, taking no more than the required number of courses, and taking time off work when necessary, you can reduce stress. She told me that I was teaching the children far too many misconceptions, and as a result terminated my placement. Will I be able to juggle work and family successfully? School Direct (salaried) Similar to the Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship, you'll have the opportunity to earn a salary and train to become a qualified teacher – learning from experienced teachers. (If you want quick School Direct tips or a ‘should I / shouldn’t I?’ guide, skip to ‘Cut to the chase’ at the end of this post). You sound like a brilliant teacher – and I admire your tenacity. They need to find new careers, and school managements need to think very carefully about who makes a suitable mentor for a student, regardless of the student’s age or apparent experience. I’ve regretted it ever since and want to lead by example for my kids so building up to trying again. Well, I could not have applied, I suppose, but the reason I did was that I couldn’t afford to do a PGCE. I, like yourself, had only had minimal experience in a classroom prior to this. I’ve spent the last 2 days crying due to being advised I’m potentially going to fail my first term on behaviour management. They impressed me with their hard work, and the great care they took handling living things; one child in particular, whose behaviour could be very challenging, was a joy to work with. His course finished in July and he still hasn’t got a job, despite having had several interviews and doing quite well in them according to feedback, the job always went to the teachers with years of experience that were also interviewed. Anyway, thank you for your post as I think it paints a realistic picture of what teacher training is like. I am more rewarded every single day as a teacher, even on the bad days, than I was in 22 years working for the BBC. PGCE courses tend to offer two placements lasting up to two thirds of the course between them. I spent my first school week in a state of shock. There is a bigger question to ask about teaching’s work-life balance, especially I think in Primary – though, again, it varies vastly from setting to setting. I know two other people in the same position as me so it is not uncommon to have difficulty finding work, even when you have qualified as an outstanding teacher. Sounds simple, but this was probably the best single piece of advice I was given, thankfully early on by my class teacher (herself a career changer). What are your thoughts? Your Login Name could be your email address or a custom Login Name. Starting on a blank every week is a struggle…….. Wow, I’m shocked reading all these comments. I am helping with Maths support for KS3 pupils and hope to get my old job back when they will be advertised in the summer. Behaviour management was also my weak spot, and it’s a tough one to crack – it took time, experience and general gaining of confidence for me. The school keeps coming up with these support plans which have just made everything more stressful. If your main concern is lack of classroom experience, then that will be down to the school. I’ve been a journalist for almost 20 years and have just applied to do SD secondary English. However, after reading many people blogged (who tried/failed) to gain a place has somewhat unnerved me. But I am worried this is out of the frying pan into the fire. Through Birmingham City University the School Direct route is a one year full time course leading to a PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status for primary and … Hi Catherine – thank you for taking the trouble to write. Good luck, and I’d love to hear what you decide to do. If nothing else, I am going into this with my eyes open. I never cracked work/life balance, other than by doing supply, but one tip I would offer is to work on Saturdays not Sundays. I very much wanted to quit by Christmas but was talked out of it by my mentor, and I’m glad she did, even if Primary teaching wasn’t the right field for me ultimately, it opened up possibilities that I’d never have had otherwise. Complicating factor is I’ve recently become a single Mum of 5 (all under 9). Of course the holidays suggest that it may be a family-friendly career, but you need an incredibly supportive partner and stable home environment. Hi Ayesha – it does sound steep! I had a very different experience of employment, probably both because I am in London and because I trained as a Primary teacher. So, I’m glad I stuck the training year out, having been lucky enough to get a place, because it has given me a source of income; but I am far from certain I have the right stuff or circumstances to survive as a primary class teacher. In writing, if possible. Thankfully though, my wife is a teacher (and so our most of our family members) so at least she understands what it is i’ll be going through. I’m mentally not coping and probably going to as my life is so stressful and I’ve just been told I may fail my first term, despite creating and delivering excellent LPs I’m not managing behaviour well and not this standard. It’s not a great feeling to be sitting in a lecture or tutorial thinking you are wasting your time when you have 90 books to mark and lessons to plan, though the opportunity to talk to fellow students in other schools is invaluable. Can you go back to what you did before? I had recently come very close to quitting for the second time, after a bad observation. Good luck! Plus it was a lovely feeling walking out of a school at 4.30 on Friday knowing I had a free weekend with no planning to do. Like you all I want to do is teach. Arguably the largest reason for a students’ stress is school, but more specifically, homework. My daughter is training at the moment and I am becoming increasingly worried about her. This article was amended on 20 January 2015 to clarify that a PGCE can be gained through the School Direct route and that ICT is no longer a basic test in the application process. I best stop procrastinating! That is never going to happen in a career in teaching. I was thinking about going down the non salaried route but I’m wary about not getting finance as I’m not an undergraduate.Phew my brain’s hurting just typing all these questions! I’m currently on SD primary route (east midlands) as a 43 year old mature student. I started my school direct (salaried) post September 2015, also doing the PGCE alongside it. School Direct at Turton is an innovative, school led Initial Teacher-Training programme, based in Bolton, North West England, designed and formed through a strategic partnership between Turton School, Egerton Community Primary School and our alliance partners. However I really don’t think it is for me. In my old job, I could switch off when the red light went out, but now my work followed me home, filling my every waking (and sleeping) moment. I found this very rewarding; I talked about my experience watching debates, like Prime Minister’s Questions, in the House of Commons. Yes Year 9 give me alot of grief (probably more than year 2 would i hope!) This is a great blog post; I think you can tell by the amount of comments that it has really resonated with people. Any suggestions. My hunch is that PGCE may be more ‘do-able’ for those with families for the reasons you outline, but I don’t have any direct experience of it. Yeah, I’ve been offered a role in my current school. Bottom line is I won’t truly know the outcome until I immerse myself into the SD secondary route during the next academic year 2016-17. My second school experience in Year 2 in a different school brought a new, milder form of culture shock. Also, I hadn’t thought at all about the pressure on different subjects; if you are applying for English or Maths you will probably get a tougher time than if you do a less closely monitored subject- certainly less compulsory weekend revision sessions! I would sigh as PGCE students left at 4.30 pm (though I’m not saying the PGCE is an easier route – I had far, far less academic work). I was children nurse before and the job was ‘never’ this tough. I’m embarrassed to quit and feel I need to invent a valid reason to do so. I am a widow and support my two teenagers so can’t afford to follow the PGCE route and have been thinking about schools direct. This programme is school-led, rather than university-led, meaning that you can choose a group of schools to work with by applying directly via UCAS to the relevant alliance. It may not be useful to everyone, all are different, but I have certainly found it beneficial. Fortunately, my experience doesn’t resonate with peers on my course, they mostly have extremely supportive mentors. Lesson planning is absolutely killing me – tasks not so much an issue, but it’s the Assessment for Learning you have to keep referring to. I faced many challenges, but perhaps the greatest was, to mix metaphors, the juggling act required to know which hat I was wearing at any given time: teacher, student and teaching assistant; finding the time for everything I had to do for college as well as starting to plan and teach my own lessons, ensure that my class teacher felt supported and be a parent to three school age children. Somehow, I did. I will pass it on to her because I think just knowing that others out there have felt the same will give her the encouragement she needs. The mentor can also look over my lesson plans but I don’t know how much time i’ll actually get to plan these lessons seeing as I’ll be starting on the INSET day, just a day before term starts when I’m expected to teach :/. Good luck to those that are able to secure the salaried route. Some of my fellow college students had amazingly supportive schools, some were virtually bullied and ignored (not, I hasten to add, in my school). Hi All I recruit for School Direct for a secondary alliance of schools and there are some pretty awful recounts on here. Would I recommend the School Direct route to anyone? Behaviour management has been my trickiest thing too, but I think it’s important to remember it’s a skill which can be learned and practised. I was offered (and accepted) a job in my base school back in March but during May half term I really started to think that teaching isn’t for me. I was also able to use Scratch to make my own interactive resources for teaching maths that fitted in with our literacy topic on Scaredy Squirrel. I’ve worked as a primary TA for 6 years and had two interviews this year. Sorry – I should add that my local ITT provider also offers a PGCE (2 year part time) in partnership with a University should trainees wish. Despite being thrown in at the deep end, trainees are gradually introduced to teaching through an initial period of observations before starting a timetable of six hours a week and finishing with 18 hours a week. A total fiasco. Although some School Direct fee-paying courses can lead to a PGCE, in general providers distinguish the two as “School Direct” and “university based PGCE routes”. No shadowing and no observation in the first week…just straight to teaching! Hi M, sorry to hear your story. but being part of a department has helped to bank some resources and share ideas. My weekends are consumed by planning and uni assignments. From my perspective I suppose a lot depends on the thickness of the rose tinted glasses I currently wear and my personal expectation management. Very interesting read. A bursary of up to £25,000, depending on age, phase or subject and qu… Being a primary class teacher in a state school was not something I could sustain, certainly, but I will offer a few crumbs of comfort: everyone says it gets better, and even in my new NQT year I am finding planning (if not marking) is taking me less time than it used to. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation, and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. I am coming to the vocation at the age of 50, ex military, and giving up a significant salary to follow the unsalaried route. I’m sorry you’re all having such a hard time but glad I’m not alone! My previous company have also offered me my old job back – on more money than I was earning before (substantially more than what an NQT earns). All day every day with the children, planning every subject. I am teaching 50%timetable so planning and delivering 10 lessons a week. Mainly I am applying to do early years because teaching is all I know and I don’t know what else I enjoy. these stories are quite scary!! I tried a pgce secondary and had to quit due to endless amounts of marking and lesson planning and feeling like I never saw my own kids! If you look at the fees involved in a PGCE, and add that to the salary I got paid to do the School Direct (Salaried) route, you’re looking at a cost of about £27,000 for doing a PGCE. Thank you Mrs W – I know I can’t really advise you what to do, but if I had the chance to return to my old job at an increased salary I would take it! Hi Nick – good question! I thought I wanted to teach. This provided me with an even greater focus and incentive: I really was now going to turn from being a radio studio manager into a primary school teacher. will you be planning and working with another teacher? I have tried (am still trying) to prepare and if I could suggest to your readers (future and past) that I have found ‘A Guide To Teaching Practice’ (Revised 5th Ed – 2010) a real benefit and which you can get on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Teaching-Practice-Louis-Cohen/dp/0415485584/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454569815&sr=1-2&keywords=a+guide+to+teaching+practice. Salary will vary according to where you are. Hope all are currently enjoying jobs, in or outside of teaching. This combined with the fact that being ill has killed my planning time. Unless your partner is Wonder Woman or Superman, the price your family will pay may well not be worth it. I was physically and mentally exhausted, walking to school with tears in my eyes every morning, and getting ill. School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route for high quality graduates, typically with at least three years’ experience of transferable work history. Working for the BBC for 22 years, I’d never worked as a TA, and I only had 2 weeks’ experience in a primary school. Although my experience with children/classroom is minimal at the moment, I have both primary and secondary experience lined up. I have to say that I think being a primary teacher, for me, has been incompatible with family life, in the schools I’ve worked in. As a lead practitioner, I’ve been co-ordinating the School Direct programme at my school this year. I have 12 years experience as a TA and HLTA but am having concerns about what to do next and wonder if I am to old at 50! Thank you for your update. Salaries start from around £15,000 and go higher depending on experience. An obvious benefit is that School Direct trainees are employed as unqualified teachers and can be paid. Much of the paperwork was adapted (or not) from the GTP, and was insanely repetitive. I love working with children and get the ‘buzz’, but the 18 hour days through the week and weekends playing catch up are hard to keep up. Do they have children, if so how do they manage? Others on my course have been into different year groups each term because the school wants to give them as much experience as possible – I’ve been in the same year group from the start with a 4 week placement after Easter scheduled – I’ve been told I’m wholly responsible for the progress of that class this year! School Direct is choking university teacher-training courses, for some PGCE courses, but often limited to certain subjects, apply for School Direct and PGCE courses through UCAS. Whilst I know you cannot give me an answer on what I should do, I’m glad that there are other people who have felt a similar way to myself. Good luck with early years – you may find your niche there. This helped me appreciate the benefit to children of learning this way, reaching your own conclusions rather than just being told the answer. I just dont know anymore! Don’t dwell on your workload. Hi there, what an amazing blog, and what a mix of experiences too. Workload is still cited as one of the biggest factors contributing towards the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. Not because of the lessons – I loved those – but because of the stories from the staff about exhaustion and workloads. NOTE: Registration will be complete after you submit your first request. I almost quit at Christmas because of the effect on my wellbeing and family life, but carried on and qualified, only to find the pressures of being one of 4 primary school NQTs in a small school too much to bear. Passwords are case sensitive. Also, I had been accepted on the course. You can apply to up to three different alliances 2. I am in Primary. Firstly I just wanted to thank you for having written this article, I first came across almost a year ago and I’m glad I did because it gave me the push I needed to leave an office based job I hated to take a position as a TA – thought it payed about 12k less the experience has definitely helped me realise I do really want to teach and I love working in a school. It’s like reading my own story!! I’ve now successfully applied for a SD salaried secondary position in English which will also allow me to work for a PGCE which will also be paid for…it sounded too good to be true and I think I’ve discovered the catch…I’ve been informed I’ll be expected to teach 12 hours straight away…which I fear means from day one of term in September!!! I am still paying off mine after nine years because I took extra to cover my PGCE too. It’s funny, so many people have asked why I don’t go for primary teaching because I think they think that’s the ‘easier’ option (hanging out with cute, adoring kids all day). I am actively undermined by everyone who has observed me since I requested a new mentor. I agree with you, I would not recommend this to anyone that has very young children. New colleagues, new children, a larger school, classrooms so much physically larger I almost had agoraphobia on my first day. I had another mentor who was incredibly difficult and would sit in the corner observing me for every lesson (this was only required for graded observations- verbal feedback would have sufficed). I’ve spent the whole weekend contemplating my future (whilst still trying to plan lessons!). I am then on the laptop until 9-10pm. Your alliance will arrange the two school placements that form part of the programme, and you will attend training days at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). Larger schools may well offer more flexibility with things like PPA and observation time, but balance that against being known and being able to get to know every child and member of staff in a smaller school. Do something about it. Just a final point. How your NQT year goes depends to a huge extent on how much support you get in your school. I can totally understand why you felt your working day started again at 3.30pm! Yet the worst reports I’ve heard, in terms of stress and workload, have been from primary trainees/NQTs. I’m stressed and tired all the time. Having said that, I think that’s a good point you make about the primary teaching workload. I second the post above and would love to see how you get on. There was no other possible route for me into teaching. You say all my lessons fall into the course between them and retention.... You the chance to speak to teaching to make all my lessons fall the... Appropriate vacancies for his subject ( DT ) in his placement schools (... 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