This is it! Your final year at University, and you are looking at career options. Have you considered a career in teaching? Yes, you will have heard that it is a very demanding job, but it is also incredibly rewarding. What other job can you have where you can make a real difference in children’s lives day after day?
I don’t have a teaching degree, can I still pursue a career in teaching?
Absolutely – There are many routes into teaching that mean that you don’t need a teaching degree, but you will need to gain additional qualifications in teaching, including undertaking Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Initial Teacher Education (ITE).
To qualify for this postgraduate teacher training, you will usually need a minimum of a 2:2 university degree plus other requirements such as a disclosure and barring service check (DBS). It is also really useful to demonstrate your commitment by doing some volunteering or short-term work in a local school.
Typically, a graduate teacher programme will give you a blend of academic study, giving you a base knowledge of how to teach successfully, 120 days of practical classroom experience in two or more schools, as well as coaching and mentoring for classroom management. Assessments of your teaching skills will regularly take place to ensure that you are meeting the criteria.
One of the most popular courses is the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This one year course runs from September to July and combines substantial school placements alongside studying the theory behind teaching and learning. There are different types of PGCE that will help you to prepare for the type of teaching career that you wish to pursue (i.e. specific discipline) or the age of children that you wish to teach (i.e. Primary).
The good news is that these programmes also come with bursaries and contributions towards your education training which can go a long way to covering fees and costs associated with training to be a teacher along with enhancing salary packages. These can be worth as much as £28,000 in England, along with early career payments on top.
On completion of your ITT, you will attain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
I have good academic grades – what else do I need?
It takes a certain type of person to become a teacher; in addition to academic qualifications, you also need to consider your personal qualities, as these will be taken into account by prospective employers.
Do you have a proven ability to relate to children and their parents or carers? This could be in the form of helping out at a school or maybe working as a sports coach or scout leader. This will help to demonstrate how you work with children and inspire and motivate them.
An in-depth knowledge of the subject that you are looking to specialise in and its relevance to the curriculum. This enables you to build good foundations for learning and will set the expectations for pupils. It will also help you transfer your knowledge to your pupils in an understandable and inspirational way.
Excellent communication skills are necessary to convey your message and motivate your pupils. You also need to think about how you can turn what you understand into something that they will understand.
Great organisational skills are paramount. No teaching day is ever the same, and despite how much planning and preparing you may do, you may always get curve balls and last minute changes.
The ability to deal with conflict in a calm and controlled manner – remember, this may not even be with pupils - it may be with parents who are challenging your point of view.
Overall, you need a good sense of humour – it will motivate your pupils, it will keep you motivated, and it will motivate your teaching colleagues around you.
It all sounds good – what’s next?
So you really want to become a teacher?
We hope that you found this an informative read. The next steps are to start to look for teaching courses that will commence later in the year – but that will shortly be taking applications.
Websites such as https://beta-getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/my-story-into-teaching are really useful and contain a lot of information about courses local to you, teaching grants, starting salaries and much more.
Find a part-time volunteering role if you are able to, as building a bank of experience now is a good footing for you.
Good luck in the pursuit of your career, and we will look forward to helping you find a position when you achieve your QTS status!