As a teacher, you will be educating the next generation and helping them adapt to a productive learning environment. You will also be expected to help your students reach their potential, learn to observe and question the world around them whilst still adhering to the national curriculum and helping them achieve personal exam target grades.
You must pay close attention to the progress and development of their students through careful lesson planning, assessments and plenary activities. You will also have to work with parents, social workers and other members of staff to ensure the best educational outcome for each student, especially when there are identified barriers to learning.
It is necessary to stay up to date with current thinking and ideas within your subject as well as embracing new resources and technology for making your lessons engaging for all students; regardless of their ability or enjoyment of it.
It is also important to state that effective classroom and behaviour management is a vital part of this role. There are regular training days and courses that you will be required to attend to improve your subject knowledge, teaching skills and behaviour management.
· Ability to form relationships quickly
· Good communication (written and verbal)
· Good sense of humour
· Knowledge (and passion for your subject)
· Good numeracy and literacy skills
· Good at self-evaluation
· Good sense of initiative
There are several routes into the profession, they all enable you to become a qualified but the way you get there can vary significantly. Most routes will require you to have a minimum of a 2.1 (some will accept a 2.2) in a degree related to the subject you wish to teach, some experience working with children, a DBS (disclosure and barring service) check and you will need to pass some basic numerical and literacy tests (plus a C or above in GCSE maths and English). Each route has pros and cons and not all of them may appeal to you.
PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of education)
This route is the most well-known and is the ‘traditional’ route into teaching. It is a one year postgraduate course that is applied for through UCAS. Once you pass the course and gain your PGCE you apply to different schools for positions and embark on your first year in a school as an NQT (newly qualified teacher). It is usually subject specific, with you taking a secondary PGCE in a specific subject related to your undergraduate degree or a Primary PGCE. This route usually requires a second student loan, which is paid back once you have graduated, there are financial incentives for certain subjects (eg. Physics).
This route is also applied for through UCAS and is a partnership between a school and a university. Most school direct courses lead to a PGCE and QTS (qualified teacher status). The aim is usually for you to be employed by one of the training schools you are placed (usually 2 or 3 different schools) in upon completion of the course. This course is also one year long. There are both unsalaried and salaried options, to do the latter, you must have been employed for 3 or more years to apply, and will be given an unqualified teacher salary for the duration of your training.
School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)
This is another UCAS application route. This leads to QTS but not always a PGCE, each provider is different and you need to check when you apply. This is school based training with training given by other teachers and mentors. You will usually be placed in one school for the duration (sometimes with mini placements in partner schools). The QTS is usually awarded by a local university, which you may sometimes need to attend.
This route requires you to apply directly, not through UCAS and the main aim of the programme is to close the educational gap. The programme starts with an intensive residential course over six-weeks (usually in June- August) to set you up with all the skills you need to attend your first placement.
Candidates will gain QTS and a PGCE over the course of two years whilst being supported by the programme, they are also paid during this time. You will be placed in a school where there is the greatest demand for highly qualified and motivated individuals.
School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)
Another route that requires candidates to apply directly. It is a paid two-year programme with school based training (usually at the same school throughout) that leads to QTS and a PGCE. During the first year, candidates work as a learning support advisor or a teaching assistant and then move onto being an unqualified teacher in the second year. Placements are based on the individual needs of the placement schools to address teacher shortages in certain subjects.
During your career, you will be subject to various professional reviews and inspections by OFSTED (ESTYN in Wales). This can help you go up the pay scale and enable you to take on other roles in the school such as a head of year. There are a wide range of courses you can take to enhance your professional skills, along with training days run by each individual school. Eventually you may work up to becoming a head of department or a head teacher.
Pros and cons
· Meaningful, you get to make a difference
· You get to stay connected to a subject you love
· Varied, every day is different
· It is a very rewarding profession
· More holiday per year than many jobs
· Still has active unions
· Good professional development, you are always learning and growing as a teacher
· It is a great profession if you have or intend to have a family due to it being compatible with when your own children are in school
· You are more likely to be subject to criticism than praise (from pupils, their parents and official bodies)
· You will have a very large workload, and expected to do a lot of preparatory work in your own time
· It can be very stressful, teachers aren’t just expected to teach any more, they are expected to be social workers and careers advisers, among other things
· You will never get rich as a teacher
The basic starting salary for a fully qualified teacher in England and Wales is just over £22,000, this rises after reviews by senior members of staff and ofsted in line with the salary guidelines from each individual school. This means a teachers salary is based on your performance (with regard to teaching standard and results attained by your pupils), as opposed to the length of time that you have been teaching. If you take on extra responsibilities within a school (eg. Head of year or head of department) this may also add to your pay grade as well as being great for your professional development.
UCAS teacher training website – https://www.ucas.com/ucas/teacher-training/register
Premier pathways teacher training route – http://www.premierpathways.co.uk/
Teach first teacher training route – https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/
Get into teaching website – https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/how-to-apply
Graduate teacher programme for Wales – http://teachertrainingcymru.org/gtp
Getting school experience – https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/teacher-training/volunteering-in-schools
Funding teacher training – https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/teacher-training/funding-teacher-training
Subject knowledge enhancement – https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduatestudy/teacher-training/funding-teacher-training