How do I become a teacher?
Whether you’re fresh from university or making the career swap, you can be qualified and teaching in your own classroom in as little as a year!
What do you need to become a teacher?
1. Experience working with young people
2. An undergraduate degree
3. Initial Teacher Training (ITT)Experience – do you need to volunteer?
To be accepted onto an ITT programme it’s almost essential to have experience working with young people; scouts, coaching, after-school clubs, theatre chaperoning and so on. If you don’t have this just call your local school and ask if you can volunteer for 1 or 2 days a week, or clear your schedule for 2 weeks of full time volunteering (minimum).
Universities do not easily hand out places to those who have not grabbed some real experience of working with young people – so get started on this one right away!
NOTE: before you can start working/volunteering in a school they need to apply for a DBS certificate (background security check), which could take up to 6 weeks to arrive – so call those schools asap!
Qualifications to Become a Teacher
You can either pursue a 4-year undergraduate teaching qualification, BEd (HONS), or a 3-year university degree followed by 1-year teacher training (ITT).
What should I study?
For secondary school you need a degree related to your subject; a pharmacy graduate may become a chemistry teacher, but a mathematics graduate probably won’t become a history teacher.
For primary school you need to be able to teach everything, so while English, history and education studies are among the most obvious choices, psychology or a language are also popular routes.
Where next – university or school?
You’ve got your degree, you teach an after school singing club and you’re ready for your next step. If you chose the 4-year BEd you’re ready to teach, good luck!
If you chose the degree + training option or if you’re changing careers, you’ll need to decide between the university based PGCE or workplace based SCITT.
PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education)
On the PGCE you’ll spend blocks of time in university and usually 2 long placements in school (this varies between universities). If you loved university this is a great opportunity to train in the supportive environment of the classroom alongside your peers.
SCITT (School-centred Initial Teacher Training)
If you choose SCITT you’ll train in one school and spend more time teaching. The funding available is often much higher and so many mature students favour this path. You’ll have less time to devote to the academic responsibilities but you’ll be out in the real world, you’ll settle into one workplace and there is a good chance that the school will offer you a full time position.
The Advantages of Teaching
• Incredibly rewarding: you can make a difference; you’ll be sharing in your pupils’ learning journeys as they find their way in the world – no 2 days are the same!
• Job security: families are always growing and there will always be work for you.
• Steady rate of pay: the starting wage is approx £21,000 – £25,000 and you can quickly work your way up the pay scale with time and additional responsibilities.
• Flexibility: opportunities for job shares and enough supply work to keep you busy mean that if you find full-time teaching isn’t for you, you’ve got options.
• Holidays: You’ll spend some of that free time planning or setting up your classroom but it’s great to be ‘off duty’ and when Christmas comes around you’ll be there to set out the mince pies.