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Your career and pay questions answered by John Howson

Q I have just completed my third year BA primary education (early years) with geography. This degree will give me QTS at the end of next year, assuming I pass my final year. I am 27 and getting married in four weeks'

time. I am finding the financial strain of being a student intense, and after a busy third year I feel exhausted. I feel overwhelmed with things I have to do: begin my dissertation, organise and prepare for final school experience, prepare for the QTS skills tests, and other tasks. I know teaching is tough. But I am considering what my best move is now. Providing I pass my last assignments this term, I can be awarded a degree in geography and education, but without QTS. What careers would I be able to do with this degree if I was to take a year out, or abandon my QTS degree completely?

AAs an undergraduate you don't qualify for any of the financial help available to PGCE students. Have you asked your university if its hardship fund can help? If you want to teach, look for a school that would allow you to complete your QTS through the employment-based route. At 27, and with a degree, you seem to be eligible for the graduate teacher programme. This would provide you with a salary from September. Find a school prepared to take you on as a trainee.

If you no longer want to teach because of the pressures, rethink. Everyone feels exhausted at this time of the year, and the additional pressures of a difficult practice and your forthcoming wedding will have added to your strain. Ask your tutor or course leader for a frank assessment. Are they aware of your personal circumstances?

If you are determined to graduate, see your careers service. Conduct an audit of your skills. What do you enjoy, and what do you hate, or just tolerate? Why did you opt for this degree?

John Howson is visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University and managing director of Education Data Surveys. Do you have a career question for him?Email: susan.young@newsint.co.uk

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