Impact of COVID-19 on a PGCE Student

15th April 2020

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future over the last week or so – as you can probably tell, I’m someone who likes to have a plan in place! The current situation with COVID-19 however, seems to think otherwise and it’s making me quite anxious that nothing is set in stone. All three of the telephone/video interviews I had the other week were unsuccessful, with the schools hiring candidates with experience over PGCE’s whose course has been ‘cut short’. This has been extremely disheartening after the effort I’d put into each one, and the lack of opportunity given to prove myself in just a 20 minute call.

Since then, I’ve also had schools contact to say that they cannot continue with the hiring process in the current situation. Obviously, this does not fill me with hope. Only 9 weeks remain of the PGCE, and recruitment in general is fairly dry.When I finished my undergraduate degree, despite securing a First, I’d completely dismissed the idea of doing a Masters. However, the feedback I have had on Masters level assignments this year has been thought provoking. I therefore think it advantageous for me to use this uncertain situation to pursue a Masters and broaden my horizons. After some hefty research and a couple of weeks thinking, I have this morning begun the registration process to do a Masters in Forensic Psychological Studies through the OU. When I was originally applying to university, I was torn between History and Psychology which I’d taken at A-Level – my EPQ considered the actions of the perpetrators, bystanders and resisters of the Holocaust from a psychological perspective with reference to case studies on obedience and diffusion of responsibility. This piece of work essentially made me the academic I am today, and ultimately I’d like to do more research into this.

I’d obviously be looking to find a job to do alongside studying, the course is 2 years part-time, so I would consider supply work amongst other things. In terms of career prospects post-qualification, I could then either return to teaching and complete my NQT year (without the strain and uncertainty of COVID-19 and the economic immediacy of needing to secure a job) with two subjects firmly under my belt, or, could use the experience of the PGCE coupled with the Masters for the likes of rehabilitate criminal offenders who have missed significant chapters of education.

Rest assured I’m not throwing the PGCE down the drain – I’m just trying to work out how this is all going to play out and what the best option for me is. I think this is the perfect opportunity for me to hijack the situation – like Wolsey – and use it to my advantage in pursuing further education.

25th June 2020

So today was my last day on the PGCE course. Wish I were leaving with a job secure but COVID evidently had other ideas! I’m waiting to hear back from a job I interviewed for today, supporting 16-24 year-olds who have gone through the care system – I should hear back about this tomorrow.I’m still waiting to hear back about a rehabilitation programme coordinator role I interviewed for at the start of the month (COVID is slowing the recruitment process down).And of course, I’m still applying for teaching roles as and when they pop up… Watch this space is all I can say for now!

26th June 2020

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have finally secured a job working with 16-24 year olds who have left the care system. As a community youth support worker I’m going to be aiming to get them into education, employment and develop their health and social skills. This is going to be such a challenging and rewarding role. Over the moon doesn’t cut it! Waiting for the paperwork and start date. The job feels right.

Will I go back to teaching? Who knows. I have been more than disheartened by the 25 or so rejections I have received. It took this, and around 70 non-teaching job applications, for me to secure a job in the current climate. Will there be a shortage of teachers in the next few years? There might well be if other NQTs are also forced to look outside of the profession for the sake of job security.

If you are in a similar position, don’t give up, but keep your options open!

One thought on “Impact of COVID-19 on a PGCE Student

  1. Congrats! Looking into other options and plans is always a wise thing to do and I’m glad it has worked out for you. It must be so hard this year for PGCE students to be up against something that was completely out of their control. Good luck in your new role = )


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