Friday, January 27, 2012

Which phase? Eeny meeny miny mo.

At my university, you can do your PGCE in one of three phases - Senior, Intermediate and Foundation. What do these mean and what do they entail? Well, that's given in the brochure online, but I'll copy and paste the basic outline here for convenience's sake. Oh, wait - the online stuff does not include information about the Foundation Phase (lower primary and kindergarten), so I'll just talk about the upper two here. I'm focusing on English, because it's what I'm studying and if I dealt with all the subjects, I'd be here forever. Also, this is just how it's done at my university. Don't take it as law if you're studying somewhere else.

Senior Phase:
This qualifies you for teaching high school and is split into GET and FET:

GET - Teaching grade 7 to 9, and you teach English home language and English first additional language. You need to have Linguistics 1 OR English 1.

FET - Teaching grades 10 to 12, you teach English home language and English first additional language. You need to have English 2 OR Linguistics 2.

Intermediate Phase:
This qualifies you for teaching in Primary school, particularly Grades 4-6. Because you'd be the home room teacher, you need to cover a broader scope of subjects than the Senior Phase.

The 2 main courses are Language and Mathematics. In addition students will register for Life Orientation, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Technology, Economic and Management Sciences and Arts and Culture.

So, which is right for you? Or for me?

Well, I have done English to third year, and Linguistics to second, so I can freely choose between either of these. When it comes down to it, my decision needs to be based on my personality type and what I want to get out of it. I've been looking at some lesson plans and resources, and I must say that doing the Intermediate Phase sounds like a lot more fun. You get to play. You can make fun worksheets with cartoons. You can start the class with a sing-along. That sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to me.

Then again, a high school class can teach you things too, and you can have interesting debates with them, and you won't be as exhausted from running around after them all day. They probably also have fewer germs.

But am I any good with small children? Do I have the patience to deal with them? Can I deal with an emergency like "Billy stabbed Jane in the eye with a pencil" or "Ravi just pooed in his pants"? Do I have the patience for teenagers with their raging hormones and resultant attitude issues, eating disorders, rebelliousness and apathy?

Can I teach at all? It's terrifying.

Well, my reason for choosing Senior Phase is that I want to be able to engage more with my class in Korea, as I think that by that time they should have learned enough English for me to have a basic conversation with them. I don't know if I want to be a teacher forever, but maybe once I'm done in Korea I'll do another year, this time getting a PGCE in Intermediate phase. It can't hurt to have qualifications across the board, and because there is such a demand for good teachers all over the world, there are plenty of bursaries available. So, we'll see what happens with that.

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