Advice on what to do next...

redandwhitead
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:10 am

Advice on what to do next...

Post by redandwhitead »

Hello everyone!

I'm looking for some advice from some helpful people, hopefully you can give me a nudge in the right direction. I'm at a bit of a crossroads.

My background: For seven years I've been living and working in Vietnam as an ESL teacher and departmental leader in a bilingual school. I've done my PGCEi, MSc in Ed Leadership and am a year into an Education Doctorate.

I'd like to move into international schools in the future, and my aim is to become a full primary Key Stage 2 class teacher. However, lacking a UK-based PGCE and QTS and lacking full KS2 experience, I'm running into a bit of a wall. I'd like to find a way to get myself set up for the rest of my career. In the longer term I'd like to become established in an international school, where my son (now 1 year old) could also go to school and learn.

I have some options, and I'd be grateful for some advice.

Option 1: Return to the UK and redo my PGCE with KS2 focus, then a year NQT placement before returning to Vietnam / another country and reapplying for primary posts.

Option 2: Return to the UK and do an Assessment Only QTS and possibly one more year after that, giving me a PGCEi + QTS + experience in a UK school.

Option 3: Remain in Vietnam and try and find a KS2 position, which will give me experience although perhaps not QTS. I could look to find a school where gaining QTS would also be possible, but this would mean I've never worked in a UK school.

I hope whatever I do I'd complete with an Ed Doctorate in four years time.

I'd like to continue to work around south east Asia once I've got qualified, and would also eventually be interested in posts in Europe. The middle east doesn't interest me as much and I'd be unlikely to look at positions there. I'd hope to eventually begin to be competitive in applications for more senior positions, although that obviously remains some way down the line.

I'm a little stuck with it all and would be grateful for some advice on where to turn next from people who have been down this road ahead of me.

Thanks in advance for any guidance!

Adam
National
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:00 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by National »

I’d keep an eye on international school openings in Vietnam for next year. With its closed borders teachers are resigning late and schools are looking to hire within country when possible. You might be able to land a job this year that you might otherwise not be considered for.
expatscot
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:26 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by expatscot »

My first question is - do you ever want to return to the UK at some point? If the answer to that is 'no', then to be honest you are probably not going to need your QTS - the PGCEi should suffice (and the MSc / PhD definitely will.) Most international schools look for the actual teaching experience rather than a certification, though some schools will want this.

Assuming that you want to stay in Vietnam, I'd say that option 3 is your best bet. You might not be able to start at the best of schools, and it might be a few years before you get to the good ones, but as your son is only 1 that's not really a problem. A quick look on TES shows two jobs in HCMC for next year, though I can't vouch for the schools. If you then want to return to Europe, then you may need to get QTS or a similar certification to work there (there are US certifications which can also be used.)

Hope this helps - good luck!
redandwhitead
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:10 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by redandwhitead »

Thanks both for your valuable feedback!

No, I don't really plan to return to the UK in the long term, although nor do I plan to remain in Vietnam long term. I guess my concern is whether a lack of a British trained PGCE and British school experience will eventually prevent me from first being able to get a place in the top schools, and then to make progress within them into more senior positions.
secondplace
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:40 pm

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by secondplace »

So long as you have actual, recognised teaching credentials - which it looks like you do - then the QTS etc. would only really be of benefit if you want to work in the UK (England).

Once you've worked in a couple of international schools, and assuming your qualifications get you work permits, then you'll be good to go.
muinteoir
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:50 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by muinteoir »

For Assessment Only Route, you don't need to be in the UK. You need to be in a school which runs the UK national curriculum, which could be any British Overseas School/British International School. Getting into one of those schools to do this assessment (approx. 12 weeks via Sunderland, for example) is another story, but I just wanted to point out that you can be abroad and do AOR to QTS.

I'm in Western Europe and while many schools ask for QTS, and it would indeed open some options, many schools accept PGCE and teaching experience. The country of issue of the PGCE has never been specified, and I have never seen "experience teaching in a UK school" as a pre-requisite either. I know that QTS is essential for visas in certain countries, but if it is not the case in the country where you wish to work, you may never really need it.

Have you actually tried applying for jobs yet? If you were to apply for openings (I know of a few in primary in my current country at the moment), you might be surprised with who invites you for an interview. Good luck!
secondplace
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:40 pm

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by secondplace »

Periodic, and pedantic, reminder that there is no UK National Curriculum....there is an English NC and a lot of British schools run with that...
PsyGuy
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

To begin with, youre probably at an IS, as many mid and lower third tier ISs are little more than bilingual Ss, if you were teaching a subject of anything except ESOL, youd have an easier time making that argument.

Vietnam has some of the worst ISs in all of IE, but a lot of places, especially Asia are having a difficult time filling vacancies as they are have limits/restrictions on who they practically recruit, and being on site on the ground may very well put you in the position of being in the right place at the right time for an appointment in an IS you would not otherwise have any interest from.

I disagree with @expatscot, QTS has substantial utility outside of IE. Its a credential, and while a PGCEi is a working qualification in parts of IE, thats mainly third tier ISs. The rule is experience is king, experience will matter more as you gain experience, but as you move into upper tier ISs then your competing with candidates who also have substantial experience, and unless your masters or doctorate is from a global ivy its not going to matter much for a KS2 classroom position where QTS is worth more than a Masters (by the time you get into upper tier ISs most everyone has a Masters). A doctorate is going to have more value in leadership. There is a higher proportion of leadership who lack edu credentials. For a UK BS QTS is the gold standard, and upper tier ISs can get those applicants and candidates, not having QTS would put you at a disadvantage. Qualifications arent credentials.

Option 3 is your best option. You dont need to be in a BS, only and IS that offers the UK NC, including ISs OS, it doesnt have to be a BSO. if you want to complete induction OS, than it needs to be an acceptably inspected BSO, but AO can be done at any IS offering the UK NC and provides instruction in English.

Another option would be to obtain one of the assessment routes to a US credential (such as the MA Provisional, entry grade credential) and then use that in increasing your marketability into an IS classroom position then once you have that KS2 position use that to go the AO route to QTS.
The main benefit of this approach though is you get to find out your worth for pence of pounds. Youre an ESOL edu, your going to have a difficult time regardless of degrees convincing a recruiter/leadership that you know anything more than which side of the table to stand on in organizing, managing, and delivering a KS2/Primary classroom. You just dont know if anyone wants you and how much your worth. Many ISs dont give anything more for a doctorate over a Masters, and your already an expensive hire for someone whose ESOL experience may very well not be worth anything to IE. Dont be surprised if an IS doesnt count your ESOL bilingual experience for salary step. Say that to yourself "I have advanced degrees, and 7 years experience and my salary is step one and on the unqualified IT band" which is likely a salary haircut compared to your current earnings.
Where you want to be in X years is going to be well and better served having QTS, otherwise you may find yourself below a ceiling you cant break through with only a PGCEi and a Masters (and sometime in the future a doctorate).

The English NC is the UK NC, there is almost no presence of ISs that offer an Irish or Scottish curriculum in IE.
muinteoir
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:50 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by muinteoir »

secondplace wrote:
> Periodic, and pedantic, reminder that there is no UK National
> Curriculum....there is an English NC and a lot of British schools run with
> that...

My bad, thank you for pointing out. English curriculum! You need to be in a school which runs the National Curriculum for England to do AOR to QTS in another country. As PsyGuy points out, that doesn't need to be a British school, it can be any international school which runs that curriculum.
muinteoir
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:50 am

Re: Response

Post by muinteoir »

PsyGuy wrote:

> The English NC is the UK NC, there is almost no presence of ISs that offer an Irish or Scottish curriculum in IE.

1. Ireland is not part of the UK
2. You (incorrectly) imply that English/UK are interchangeable, then (correctly) point out that Scotland have a different curriculum. This could potentially add to the confusion of my previous posts.

Mea culpa; I said UK when I meant England. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own curricula, and I hope that I have clarified for the poster that for AOR to QTS via a UK university, you would need to be in a school running the English National Curriculum.
expatscot
Posts: 249
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:26 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by expatscot »

Looking up the rules here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... ing-advice - you need two years teaching experience before you can complete the AO QTS. So yes, option 3 is probably your best bet at the moment.

However, longer term if you are accumulating experience, I still wonder about the need for QTS if you are remaining in an international setting. Yes, it helps demonstrate experience, but to use an -, who would you rather have rewire your house - an electrician who has completed his City & Guilds courses but has only rewired a couple of houses, or the electrician who has 10 years experience of doing the job? Part of the reason I've always resisted doing a Masters is that qualifications like that can look good on paper, but actually tell you little about a teachers' ability in the classroom.
shadowjack
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:49 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by shadowjack »

One day, you might be at a school you love. You might want to stay. You might then get a new administrator or director, who, when perusing HR files, notes you have no QTS. That might be a reason for non-renewal of contract as you do not have teaching status in your home country.

One day, you might be at a school you love. You might want to stay. You might then get a new government directive from someone in the ministry who thinks that all UK-trained teachers should have QTS. That might be a reason for non-renewal of contract as you do not have teaching status in your home country.

In the UK, you really get one shot at QTS. My advice - it's like believing in God. The only way you lose is by not believing, so it is more rational to believe. The only way you lose it by not having QTS. As things continue to change in international education, the less reason you have for standing out in a way that makes it easier to non-renew your contract, the better.
Piggledish
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:26 pm

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by Piggledish »

I'd seriously consider going for option one. It will set you up for the rest of your career, update you with latest ideas and most of all give you a course in how to be a professional teacher, not only the pedagogical aspect, but the other responsibilities involved. Good luck with whatever you decide!
geoguy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:56 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by geoguy »

I see the OP has put a lot of effort into his post grad quals (Masters and potential doctorate). I gather that you want your child to get a good education. Is there not a career path (that funds decent schooling) teaching ESOL/EAP in universities in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea), and then look for positions in Europe when ready? I have noticed EAP positions in countries like Germany and Norway, albeit not advertised frequently. Are you familiar with the Baleap website?
Is the purpose of the doctorate to potentially work in a uni, or to get into mgt in ISs?
Otherwise all the advice in the posts above looks sound!
All the best with what you decide.
redandwhitead
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:10 am

Re: Advice on what to do next...

Post by redandwhitead »

Just a note of thanks to all those who have replied, much food for thought and it has been a very useful exercise to go through the options.

Having reviewed and reflected, my decision is to remain in Vietnam for another year and attempt to go via option 3, finding experience in a British KS2 setting here in Vietnam. I've started to search for such positions. I'd look to complete my QTS in Vietnam if this was the case via AO and I'll explore the potential for doing so, but right now it's less of a priority than simply beginning to get experience at KS2. This approach also has the benefit of not immediately uprooting my young family.

If 12 months from now I have been through several applications and haven't been successful then I'll instead look to return home and get 2 or 3 years experience in a KS2 setting in the UK. This will then hopefully (and by then also post-doc) set me up to return to Vietnam with a much more competitive profile in the long run.

Thanks again for all the helpful advice here.
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