Hey guys n gals....i was wondering what you all thought on this subject...is it better to have a phd goin into secondary school teaching or not? do u think its a waste of time doing the phd if you know u want to teach or will it leave you in better stead? just some questions rattling around in my brain!
I am a teacher who is completing a PhD. No, I don't NEED to do a PhD to teach, I can (and do) do that now with only an undergrad degree, but I WANT to do a PhD for myself. Also, my personal view on it is teachers are educators, though the majority only study enough to be able to do the job. I don't want that for myself - I love learning new things and I am both interested in, and passionate about my PhD topic. Just because I don't NEED the qualification, why shouldn't I do a PhD?
As a pupil, I always liked having PhD teachers. That said, the most amazing teacher I had was a non-PhDer. So, I don't think having a PhD makes you a good teacher, you should do a PhD only because you want to. But it's certainly not a waste of time. My school (high in the league tables) had a greater proportion of PhD teachers than schools lower in the league tables (who I don't think had any really)...take from that what you will, I reckon that was more down to the PhD teachers CHOOSING to apply for jobs at 'good' schools.
i had mixed experiences with teachers and PhDs, one teacher who got one whilst i was there seemed to adopt a bit of an attitude and felt teaching was now below her. another didnt really know how to teach at our level and literally tried to teach us her uni biology which was way advanced of A level. I dont think a Phd can make you a good teacher, training can.
IMHO, there are many things that make a good (or bad) teacher - but I'd say excitement about your subject ranks probably at the top of the list, not whether or not you ahve a PhD. Of course, you may already have got a PhD because you were so excited about your subject
PhD will give kudos with the pupils, and stand you in good stead for the future I should think, and it will be easier (!) to do before you have loads of other stuff to take up your time. That said though teaching is an art and a craft and good teachers make it look effortless, like the swan on the water, serene on top and paddling like mad underneath, the thing is, teachers have to understand why people don't understand, the best teachers are not necessarily the ones with the highest academic qualifications who sometimes seem to think the basics are so easy that anyone should be able to understand them without further explanation, but those who can explain things in as many different ways as it takes to get the meaning across.
It's funny, because about three days ago, I had a chat with a friend who is a teacher and thinking of taking time off to do a PhD. According to him, a PhD isn't at all necessary to become a teacher, and may even put some employers off (apparently, they think PhDs know so much that they can't explain the basics in ways a schoolchild would understand). However, he said that, once you get a job, it's a lot easier to become head of department, and to climb the ladder further if you want. Also, I would expect that you might find it easier to gain a job at more "exclusive" schools with a PhD, if that's your wish.
here is my advice, if you really want to do the PhD, just do it and finish it otherwise you don't need a PhD to get into secondary teaching. Really you don't, i have a number of friends teaching mathematics in secondary schools and all they have done is the PGCE which is like the bread and butter of teaching. I think you must weigh up your reasons for doing it cause once you finish the PhD you will have to do the PGCE for a whole year. there are no exemptions!
As tsipat says a PGCE is essential so you are better off getting this qualification and the teaching experience which goes with it. Getting a PhD will waste a minimum of three years and isn't necessary for a career as a secondary school teacher.
Actually a PGCE is not essential to become a teacher. If you have a PhD and have also gained teaching experience during that time (tutorials and lectures etc) then you will be able to get your QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) througha different route that may be quicker. You can find a school that will take you on as an unqualified teacher where you will train for 3 months to a year or if you have a lot of teaching experience you may be able to get QTS straight away although you will need to be assesed formally.
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