I would appreciate any advice or comments about my current situation.
I am 15 months into a PhD studentship and beginning to realise that University level academic life isn't for me. I enjoyed my degree and MSc, and always planned on teaching / research in a uni, but would now much rather teach my subject at college / 6th form level.
I could start a teaching qualification in September 2010, which would mean leaving my PhD after 2 full years. I enjoy my project (ish), but have no desire to carry on within the field at university level. I'm perfectly happy to finish my 2nd year, hand in a thesis and get an MPhil (if this, is indeed, how it works?) and then start the teaching qualification in September.
If I carried on doing my PhD, it would mean another year (or more) until I could start the teaching qualification - which takes 12 months itself...
I like my supervisor and don't want to let the project down - but what's the point in carrying on if it's not going to contribute to my overall career goal?
Is yours a subject that requires a PGCE? In one of my low points in the last few months I looked into leaving my PhD to teach in a school but without doing a PGCE first. I was told I would be able to find a job with the qualifications I have, and that lots of schools would then support the GTP where you train for a teaching qualification on the job. There are various other options too, depending on your subject and county so I recommend exploring your options - you may find that you can finish your PhD which would make you very attractive to schools or colleges, and then train whilst in a job. If your subject is short of teachers this will be even more likely. Good luck with whatever you decide.
A good friend of mine did a PGCE while I was in my second year rut during my Ph.D., it looked like a lot of work but good fun. I'm now a post doc and they're a teacher, I get paid more but I reckon I have less job satisfaction. Teaching seems to have its own pitfalls, but most teachers seem very passionate and take a lot of pleasure from their job.
One thing though, do go into a school and watch some lessons or get involved somehow. You'll get a much better idea of if it is really for you.
Regarding getting experience of school lessons, try the Researchers in Residence scheme if you're a research council funded student, or else I've found just getting in touch with heads of dept works for sitting in on classes. You'll be expected to have done this before applying to a PGCE as you may know.
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