Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject etc)

Post Reply
MrPenguin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:23 am

Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject etc)

Post by MrPenguin »

HI guys. Long-time lurker. Looking for some advice.

I'm 29-year old mature student from the UK. Unfortunately, I've been ill for a long time and the last decade can be written off as far as life or work experience goes. The good news is I'm finally getting better and I'm starting to build the foundations of a teacher career. My future CV will hopefully look something like this:

2024-2026: MA Educational Leadership
2023-2024: PGDE in Secondary Geography
2019-2023: BA European Languages (50% Scandinavian languages, 50% history)
2018-2019: Certificate in Geology and Physical Geography (60 ECTS, equal to first-year of degree)

Obviously I'm making a few assumptions here, but I would prefer to do my teacher training via the Teach First graduate scheme because I'd be able to do a PGDE and MA whilst getting work experience. Plus they don't require a degree in geography, an added bonus because that is the subject I'd prefer to teach.

Despite the name of my BA, half of the degree content is in history. Is a poorly named degree going to affect my employability if I apply for a history teaching post?

Will my age (I'll be in my mid 30s by the time I've got my two years' teaching experience) have a detrimental impact on my career, and is there is there anything I can do to mitigate the lost decade of work experience... good places for prospective intl teachers to intern etc?

Will good international schools want to employ a geography / IB Environmental systems and societies teacher who doesn't have a degree in geography? Or should I just stick to history?

I'm doing my BA at UCL and I'd like to stay and do my PGDE/MA here too. The UCL Institute of Education is apparently quite prestigious, outranking Harvard. But do things like this make a difference to school employers?

Cheers

PsyGuy
Posts: 9405
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

In direct reply to your inquiry:

1) No, just reword the title of your degree to represent what it entails by adding history to the end of it so that it reads "European Languages and History", if any one asks (when you get deeper into the recruiting process) just explain half of the degree was comprised of modern language and half was history and provide them the transcripts.

2) Well its going to have an effect, obviously youre not a young, pretty, 20 something blonde but 30 isnt much to worry about. What will matter is the lost decade of experience, thats a big hole to explain and being "ill" wont be a very good reason (what they are going to think is you will relapse or you will be out sick a lot). You may want to consider writing off that decade as being a small business owner or house-spouse or something.

3) Internships in IE are one of two kinds, either they are legitimate intern appointments at upper tier ISs, that provide most if not all OSH benefits and reasonable coin (usually step 1 or 0 on the salary scale) of which there are very few in IE and they tend to be whole IS appointments (usually one, maybe two) so finding a match can be difficult. The other type is lower third tier ISs that use "internship" as a way of getting cheap labor, that otherwise look like any IT appointment.

4) Depends what your exam scores are. Have a history of high performance results with your students and recruiters and leadership wont care what your degree was in.

5) Yes, thy make a difference, but UCL isnt considered a Global Ivy in IE. Theres about 8ish Global Ivys in IE, in the UK thats OxBridge and maybe, maybe, maybe LSE, maybe. So if your not one of those Global Ivys than a degree is a degree is a degree as far as IE is concerned, in which case the only benefit your going to get is if a recruiter or leadership is a fellow alumni of UCL.

MrPenguin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:23 am

Re: Response

Post by MrPenguin »

> 2) Well its going to have an effect, obviously youre not a young, pretty,
> 20 something blonde but 30 isnt much to worry about. What will matter is
> the lost decade of experience, thats a big hole to explain and being
> "ill" wont be a very good reason (what they are going to think is
> you will relapse or you will be out sick a lot). You may want to consider
> writing off that decade as being a small business owner or house-spouse or
> something.

> 3) Internships in IE are one of two kinds, either they are legitimate
> intern appointments at upper tier ISs, that provide most if not all OSH
> benefits and reasonable coin (usually step 1 or 0 on the salary scale) of
> which there are very few in IE and they tend to be whole IS appointments
> (usually one, maybe two) so finding a match can be difficult. The other
> type is lower third tier ISs that use "internship" as a way of
> getting cheap labor, that otherwise look like any IT appointment.
>
> 4) Depends what your exam scores are. Have a history of high performance
> results with your students and recruiters and leadership wont care what
> your degree was in.

> 5) Yes, thy make a difference, but UCL isnt considered a Global Ivy in IE.
> Theres about 8ish Global Ivys in IE, in the UK thats OxBridge and maybe,
> maybe, maybe LSE, maybe. So if your not one of those Global Ivys than a
> degree is a degree is a degree as far as IE is concerned, in which case the
> only benefit your going to get is if a recruiter or leadership is a fellow
> alumni of UCL.


Hey, thanks for the reply.

Re 2) I'd rather not lie, these things have a habit of snowballing and then you're caught in them forever. I don't intend to refer to the years 2007-2017 at all on my CV, and these days (in the UK anyway) it's very unusual to list your DOB on your CV or tell a prospective employer your age - so will schools even know?

Re 3) Ah, I meant non-teaching internships (ie ones available to undergraduate students which can be done part-time around one's degree, or take place in the summer). I thought about the UWC International office in London (esp as I'd love to work at one of their schools), but I can't think of anywhere else.

Re 4) Even if I've only got one or two years exp post-NQT?

Re 5) So schools don't care/know about specific uni departments, just the overall brand name? Surprising because as I say, UCL's IoE is absolutely the equal of Harvard's Graduate School of Education.... ah well. Not that it matters as that isn't why I want to stay at UCL anyway, but I thought it'd be a nice additional perk.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9405
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@MrPenguin

1) Of course they will know. Most ISs request/require a scan of your passport cover page, they will know how old you are. Even then you will get to the video interview stage and they will take one look and know about how old you are.

2) If you have high exam performance scores you can be a nobody with nothing but a first/bachelors degree in Latin, zero experience and recruiters and leadership will want you regardless of QTS/NQT. The issue is getting a DS/IS to give you a class thats at SLL AND the students who have the resources to perform high so that you can get those exam scores.

3) ISs care what parents will pay coin for and tiger moms care about big name brands. Parents dont care about all those reports (especially the reputation of a Uni edu department), they care about status. Do you know what "our son is going to UCL" means, it means didnt get into OxBridge.

shadowjack
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject e

Post by shadowjack »

I wouldn't worry about the past decade. Many people these days get things sorted in their later 20's, coming out with a degree sometime between 27 - 32. It is not as uncommon as you might thing.

Just be honest, put your experience down, and look for schools that offer intern teaching positions. They are out there.

MrPenguin
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:23 am

Re: Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject e

Post by MrPenguin »

Thanks for the replies both of you. What's your view on the below?

"Will good international schools want to employ a geography / IB Environmental systems and societies teacher who doesn't have a degree in geography? Or should I just stick to history?"

PsyGuy
Posts: 9405
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@MrPenguin

Same as above. if you have great performance history with teaching geography it doesnt matter what your academic preparation as in. There are three dimensions to an ITs resume 1) What they can teach (degrees, credentials, etc.). 2) What they have taught (experience, exam scores, etc.). 3) Skills (ASPs, TLRs, etc.). Of those experience is king. Early in your career hat you can teach is of greater influence because of an absence of experience. Later in your career once you have experience and can demonstrate success, what you have taught has more utility and importance than what your degrees and majors, etc. are in.
If you can teach geography there is an IS somewhere that will give you a shot with a classroom, it may not be a very good IS or great students or any region you want to be and it may not be SLL, but you can get there. So if geography is what you want to teach, than you will miss every shot you dont take, with the cost of application at or near zero.

Thames Pirate
Posts: 1087
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:06 am

Re: Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject e

Post by Thames Pirate »

I disagree; parents may not know UCL, but admin would. Maybe not outranking Harvard in terms of hiring prestige, but certainly right on up there. If admin don't know UCL, they are uninformed.

shadowjack
Posts: 1900
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: Some questions (age, uni reputation and degree subject e

Post by shadowjack »

MrPenguin wrote:
> Thanks for the replies both of you. What's your view on the below?
>
> "Will good international schools want to employ a geography / IB
> Environmental systems and societies teacher who doesn't have a degree in
> geography? Or should I just stick to history?"


Go for history, then once ensconced at a school, as Geography/Environment staff leave, lobby and give a reason for moving you to that position.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9405
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@MrPenguin

I dont disagree with @SJs strategy, its a good strategy and it works but there are two problems with it. 1) You might be too good in history that reassigning you to geography would carry risk without much reward for leadership. Of the social studies/humanities history is the most common. 2) You have to play a waiting game and theres no telling how long that wait might be. You could be stuck teaching X in a location you dont like or an IS thats wearing on you with little more than luck that a geography vacancy opens and your leadership will give it to you.

@Thames Pirate

We disagree, the vast majority of US leadership wouldnt know about UCL, and UK leadership wouldnt be impressed to the point of it being noteworthy.

Post Reply