= Changing courses and going into secondary education =
I'm currently a Medical Student who is NOT enjoying the course. I've always felt at home when teaching and tutoring other students. The most logical takeaway from this is that I'm better off exploring an education degree
I've never explored this pathway so I have a few questions
Will I be disadvantaged in any way if I'm not a straight off school leaver? Will schools prefer to take someone who is younger for placements?
Was it difficult finding a job when you finished university? Are there particular subjects which are more in demand than others? Given my background in science and medicine, I would stick to Maths and Sciences, but is one better than the other?
I have the option of going to my local university (regional Victoria) or going to University of Melbourne. Will schools prefer candidates from more prestigious universities?
I don't know a single country where teachers are paid fairly. I found this document which i think is the most recent indication of average salary T122_VGSA_SalaryTables.pdf (aeuvic.asn.au). I was wondering how you found the pay?
I have plenty more questions but I will stick with these basics
Thank you in advance!
Half way but I physically andcannot continue
I'm assuming it would be much more difficult for me to a teaching job in the medical field, but having said that I haven't sat down and looked into careers and university degrees properly yet. I just know I've always thought before I retire I would love to become a teacher so I'm just exploring that avenue at the moment
I will respond to your question, but first I want to explain the thoughts that went through my mind as I encountered your post
Reading your title. I was ready to come in and warn you off the change - I have seen many people second guess their initial career choice, decide "I can always teach and most of them last 2 years at most. In today's teaching environment, many don't last that long (we had someone leave their position partway through term 2, when it finally became clear to them that teaching was not for them)
Then I read the rest of your post
I've always felt at home when teaching and tutoring other students. The most logical takeaway from this is that I'm better off exploring an education degree
This is what I was looking for
Teaching described as many things. An occupation. A profession. But for me, and for many of us in the job, it is more than that - some describe it as a calling
Teaching at the moment is HARD. So, so much harder than a few years ago. There are a few obvious reasons (*cough*) but also some deeper cultural changes that I think are making it harder - the cultural attitudes towards education in particular are very different, and this is reflected in how students respond to you in the classroom
Whatever the reason, I would warn anyone who doesn't have a clear and definite passion for helping others learn to think seriously before entering the profession. If you just want something to do with your arts degree, think very hard
That you already find that level of satisfaction in teaching/tutoring is a really positive sign, and if you can translate that into working with teenagers, then by all means, go for it We are truly crying out for more math and science teachers. But be aware that there will be days that not a single student in your class catches your passion for science and you second guess why you are putting up with all theyou are facing in the classroom
Anyway as to your specific questions:
Quite the opposite - life experience is a really valuable thing in the classroom. The maturity and resilience you get by being a few years older is incredibly valuable. Just don't be "that guy/that girl" and treat everyone who isn't as old or experienced at life as you as less than you. Good way to lose the respect of your students AND your peers
Generally speaking, most teacher education courses want you to have 2 areas of study. I'd recommend working towards majors in an undergrad degree in both, if you can (you can usually get enough credit in two areas in a BSC to get both. From a med background, chemistry or biology at third year would be ideal, as well as mathematics. It doesn't matter if you choose a pure or applied maths focus, but at the very least some second year math subjects should be enough to be able to study the mathematics education pedagogy subjects in your teaching qualification. Having both will have a significant advantage when applying for jobs, of which there are many, in practically every state. You should however expect to be on contract for a couple of years before you win a permanent position
I am not in Victoria, so I can't speak with local knowledge, but here in SA we could not care less where you get your training. If you are seeking to work at a prestigious private school it might matter public schools? Do you have a pulse? Do you have your VIT card? You're golden
I am on the same page as the other comments here - in Australia we are pretty fairly compensated for our jobs. We are guaranteed an annual pay advancement for every full year of teaching until we reach the top tier, beyond which you need to apply for leadership roles to get higher remuneration - however that comes with higher responsibility and workload. There will still be days where you ask yourself "why do I put up with this (For context, today was one of those, which is why I wanted to put some thought into answering your question)
To finish up, I want to respond to a comment you made on another post, about the positive side of teaching. The current workload issues are real - I am currently overloaded on classes because we couldn't replace the teacher who quit 8 weeks ago - but I still go back. I am not walking away
I have a class of year 12s who I have taught in one subject or another for 4 years. THEY are the reason I am putting up with the! I still have the card they gave me at the end of last year, when many of their peer group had their last lesson with me, that honestly made me cry. I have worked with kids who have been told year after year that they arethey can't do this, they should give up, and seeing the change in them as we untangle the misconceptions they've picked up and fill in the gaps in their knowledge that has been too big a hurdle to climb without help to see success andand overcome the difficulties
There are no better moments as a teacher
If that sounds like the way you feel about helping others, go ahead and make the change. It is a process to complete - you'd have to switch to a BSc and finish that first then complete the required post-grad teaching qualifications (not sure what the specific Victorian course would be sorry). You will have a number of weeks in the classroom during your practicum placements to give this a go and get a sense of if it really is for you
I started my teaching degree at 27, finished it at 29. My school currently has a prac teacher in his mid 50s. He will likely get a job with us next year!
I didn’t struggle finding work. I walked straight into my first contract after my final prac, my next contract came from the Grad Pool (WA thing), they extended the initial 3 months for another 6 months. A permanent role was advertised, I won that approx 12 months into teaching
I am however at a hard to staff metro school
I would go with whatever is most convenient for you!
I have no issues with my pay. It’s workload that is
It’s workload that is
Can I ask specifically regarding this. I also want to reiterate that at this point I have done no research into careers/degrees and this is quite literally step 1 for me
Outside of the obvious classroom teaching and marking exams, what is expected of a teacher? If I get a job as a VCE Biology teacher, do I inherit the previous teachers curriculum? Or does the education department have a set curriculum that all teachers have to use, ie lesson 1 is what is a cell, lesson 2 is cell wall and mitochondria etc etc etc
I guess what I'm asking is I've seen a lot of teachers complain about the workload, is that because teachers have to sit down and manually work out what they teach every day?
Will I be disadvantaged in any way if I'm not a straight off school leaver?
Will schools prefer to take someone who is younger for placements?
They would pretty much take Methuselah at the moment if they were registered
Was it difficult finding a job when you finished university?
Not in the ACT
Are there particular subjects which are more in demand than others?I would stick to Maths and Science
If you have maths and science on your teaching list you've basically got a job before you graduate
I was wondering how you found the pay?
I could earn more outside of teaching but it is comfortable. I often forget when payday is
Will I be disadvantaged in any way if I'm not a straight off school leaver? Will schools prefer to take someone who is younger for placements?
No. Most teachers, especially secondary, have a masters degree and/or work experience in a different industry. I was one of the youngest in my MTeach course at age 26
2. Was it difficult finding a job when you finished university? Are there particular subjects which are more in demand than others? Given my background in science and medicine, I would stick to Maths and Sciences, but is one better than the other?
Yes, and it does depend on your subject. As usual, STEM teachers are in higher demand than the arts or social studies
3. I have the option of going to my local university (regional Victoria) or going to University of Melbourne. Will schools prefer candidates from more prestigious universities?
They technically shouldn't, and I don't think it really mattered much for myself and my peers (graduates of MelbU), but it was definitely brought up when I went into international teaching this year
4. I don't know a single country where teachers are paid fairly. I found this document which i think is the most recent indication of average salary T122_VGSA_SalaryTables.pdf (aeuvic.asn.au). I was wondering how you found the pay?
Look into r/internationalteachers for some good starter info. The thing about international teaching is not to focus on the salary
*number* in comparison to AUD equivalent. Rather focus on the salary offer in relation to that country's CoL
For example, my current job in Japan was a 35% paycut from what I earned in Australia. But because CoL is low, I can
*comfortably* save more than double what I did in Australia (whats more is I didnt pay rent in Australia, but pay rent here and still save this much)
Not to mention international teachers come in on expat packages, which usually means perks like free yearly flights home, free/subsidised accommodation, commute refunds, etc etc
Ill give you the advice i give anyone the last couple years. If you REALLLLLLY want to do it, do it as an add on at the end of another degree. I think its likely the 1 year dip ed will come back. I would never, ever encourage anyone to do a bachelors of education at the moment
You should also check if thechallenging things you're having issues with now are going to be absent in a teaching career
Also go to the uni that suits you best. Very few schools (public anyway) give a toss about uni prestige
I finished my MTeach at 35 having previously worked in biomedical research. You wont be at a disadvantage because you're not straight out of school. In fact, quite the opposite: having some life experience before teaching is a definite advantage imo
Yes, particular subjects are more in demand than others. In Vic (where I am) secondary teachers are required to graduate with two teaching specialisations/subjects (with a few subject specific exceptions). That said, once you are teaching you can teach pretty much any subject you're willing to put your hand up for/your principle wants you to do. Maths, physics, and chemistry will land you a job. My subjects are chemistry and biology and I was made permanent early in my second year
I have never come across a government school that cares what university you went to. They care what your placement supervisors have to say about you as a teacher. There may be some elite private schools that care, but its not a sector I wanted to work in so I never looked into this. I would suggest you go to whichever uni will make your work/study life balance the easiest and/or will give you the most placement opportunities
Whilst moving into teaching was a pay cut for me, I am not unhappy with my pay. I don't struggle day to day with finances and find my salary perfectly livable even whilst I'm still on the lower end of the pay scales. That said, I do have a partner (so dual income) who makes around the same as me. We manage to service a mortgage whilst also being able to save, living in the outer burbs of Melbourne, no kids. Hopefully that paints a picture
Is teaching hard? Yes, it can be an exhausting job. Expect to work long weeks, especially in your first few years whilst you build up your classroom management skills, subject resources, and planning. If you originally intended to do medicine I assume you have at some level accepted that long working weeks may be worth it as long as you enjoy what you are doing. For me, I enjoy the positives of teaching enough to make up for long hours during term. The cyclical nature of pushing myself hard for a period and then having a period of rest works well for me, and is actually a way better life balance than my former career, which just dominated my whole life. Teaching has overall been a very positive change for me
I (23f) am a secondary teacher, teaching English and History at an all boy’s school in NSW and, although the job is very demanding, it’s also extremely enjoyable and gratifying
(A little context- I did a K-12 degree majoring in English and I found having that extra insight into primary schools and having behaviour management skills was super important and has benefitted me greatly!)
No way! We need more teachers. I’d say that they would just be keen to have someone with two feet and a heartbeat. But also- having life experience and being a little bit older than the kids also works well
2- I received a teacher education scholarship (definitely look into these!) which would land me in a 3 year full time permanent position. I ended up applying for a different job and rejecting the scholarship in the end because the timing waswith COVID and everything. This was a temp contract for 12 months, but I got offered permanency at the end of last year. I would definitely say Maths and Science are more in demand than others. Probably science (specifically physics and chemistry) are more in demand where I’m located
3- Depends on the school- if you’re looking at prestigious schools, then probably. If you’re looking at schools that want to raise human beings rather than academics, then not so much
4- The pay was pretty good for my first year out of university at about $75k. I then got my accreditation in my first year and pay went up to $89-ish. This doesn’t include superannuation, and because of HECS I get paid about $3400 fortnightly, but taxed about $1000 of that. For the hours you do the amount you get paid is not worth it- however, this will be changing soon (hopefully!)
It’s not a job that I see myself in for a long time, given the conditions and pay. I work about 7:45-5:30 most week days plus extra hours most weekends, then my school requires us to do co-curricular which equates to an additional 150 hours over a semester. I do realise that this will get easier the longer I do it, and won’t require too many hours for prep. However, for right now, I love it
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