Matthew has been teaching in China for one and a half years. Previously he taught in Thailand for two years. Originally he intended to work for a year and then go home to do a PGCE. However after loving life abroad he decided to stay longer.
Did you enjoy the lectures?
The week in the UK I found really interesting, I did find it hard to be in a classroom and not teaching though. It was also very convenient for me as I was going home for the summer anyway. It was also a good opportunity to meet other people who were doing the same course, some whom I have stayed in contact with.
Did you stay at Keele university or find your own accommodation?
I decided to find my own accommodation basically to save money. I think it worked out almost a hundred pounds a night to stay at the university which I thought was quite steep. In the end I found a b and b for about thirty five pounds a night. This did involve getting two busses to get to university which would take an hour each way which was a bit of a drag. However I did not regret doing this.
How did you find the first assignment?
I struggled with the first assignment, my previous experience of studying fooled me into thinking 4 weeks was plenty of time to start studying. I found that with work commitments I was only really able to spend studying.
Is it difficult to find free time whilst studying and working?
I think it can be around the date of submissions. However if you start early enough and plan your time wisely it is very achievable. If you do need extra time the university is very considerate and will give you extensions.
What has been the biggest problem during your study?
I am in China and most the work is only available through google based programs. This has made it very difficult at times to access stuff. If you have a good VPN and internet this will not be such a problem but unfortunately it has been for me.
Do you think this course has made you more employable?
This is quite hard to gauge. I was offered lots of jobs at around the same salary I was already on but eventually found a really good job. The school would have hired me without the PGCEi but would have expected me to complete it if I joined and provide support. Having already finished the course I was able to negotiate a higher wage, around 5,000 RMB more than the minimum advertised wage.
Are you earning more money now?
From a financial point of view next year I will earn around 100,000 RMB more than my previous job, meaning that the course will have paid for itself twice after my first year of teaching with it.
Anything you would like to add?
I would definitely recommend the course to anyone who wants to teach long term abroad. I still have my eye on going back to the U.K and considering the Assessment Only Route To QTS at some point.
Matthew seems to have had a few difficulties completing the course, but very thankful that he has. It is also great to see that after such a big financial and time commitment has been rewarded.
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It is the most widely recognised qualification for entry into the profession for those with little or no experience in English language teaching to adults and with no previous formal qualification in this field.
The course is designed for in-service teachers currently working in or who wish to work in international schoolsand similar organisations and who wish to acquire an internationally recognised teaching certificate