Careers Explored – teaching as a career

Teaching, as a career, can be incredibly rewarding. You become a superhero of the classroom – inspiring and shaping the young minds of the next generation. Even outside of these four walls, your support is often called upon by pupils and students you are nurturing and in turn, you may soon become their nearest role model.

To get into teaching you will need GCSE grade C / 4 in English and maths and a degree or an equivalent qualification. The degree doesn’t necessarily have to be teaching focused, but you need to have one, or an equivalent qualification, to train on a postgraduate initial teacher training course.

If you don’t have a degree/ equivalent qualification, you can train on a universityled undergraduate course and achieve a qualified teacher status (QTS).

• By embarking on a teacher training course, you should expect to achieve:
• QTS (which is required in order to teach as a qualified teacher in England)
• Classroom experience in at least two schools
• Training that meets the Teachers’ Standards
• Expert academic and practical guidance from mentors and tutors

Most courses offer a postgraduate certificate of education (also known as a PGCE). This is a is a one to two-year academic qualification that can be achieved during the training.

PGCEs are internationally recognised and offer additional confidence alongside the academic training provided.

Educate spoke with third year student, Hannah Baskeyfield, who is studying BA (Hons) Primary Science Education with QT at Edge Hill University, to find out why she wanted to go into teaching.

She said: “I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was at school myself. I was inspired by my own primary school teachers and wanted to make a similar difference to other children’s lives. That moment when a child understands a concept for the first time, it’s the most rewarding thing.”

Her course included placements which allowed her to gain experience in a classroom.

Hannah went on to say: “I really enjoyed my teaching practice placements. The first was at my old primary school – it was lovely to go back but it felt a bit strange sitting next to my old Year 5 teacher in the staff room! I’ve also had placements in schools in disadvantaged areas as well as in more affluent areas. It’s been so interesting to see the different attitudes to learning and teaching and the way you have to change and adapt your teaching to different settings. I’ve learned so much from placements and found something to use in the future from all of them.”

Speaking about the support offered to its students, Doctor Tim Lucas, Associate Dean, Teacher Education, Edge Hill University, said: “From the initial stages of enquiry, application and interview, through to the first few years of teaching, Edge Hill University is proud to offer a complete package of unrivalled support.

“The university provides advice and guidance at all levels and stages; meeting the personal, professional and academic needs of students on our programmes of initial teacher training and beyond.

Tim continues: “Students have access to support from a personal tutor for the duration of their programme and access to a number of additional specialist services led by teams at our ‘one-stop-shop’ based in our £27m Catalyst building. This includes resources and support for issues relating to academic work, accommodation, money and finances, well-being, counselling, and inclusion issues to name but a few.

“Working closely with a rich and varied partnership of settings and schools, students can expect a rewarding and enjoyable student experience at Edge Hill University which leads on to further success in their teaching careers.”

Gaining teaching experience through placements is crucial whilst studying. They not only help you decide whether teaching is in fact the right path for you, but also what kind of teaching you want to get in to, for example, whether you want to teach in a primary, secondary or specialist school.

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) student, Karran Panesar was inspired to go into special needs teaching following a volunteering programme in the USA. He came to Liverpool to study for a degree in Education Studies with Special and Inclusive Needs.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Karran decided to continue his studies with a PGCE. He said: “Although the course focusses on primary teaching, my first placement was in a secondary school and I came to realise that I really wanted to work in a specialist secondary school rather than a mainstream primary.”

Karran likes the holistic side of special needs teaching. He said: “I am more interested in skills-based learning than academic learning. The work I am doing is all about passing on life skills and social skills and that develops the children academically too. Being in a classroom for the first time can be a little overwhelming but it is so rewarding.

“It is amazing to know that you are making a real difference. I certainly made the right decision when I decided to train as a teacher.”

LJMU offers a range of teaching programmes, from secondary postgraduate training in a huge choice of subjects to primary undergraduate and postgraduate courses. With students spending a significant amount of time within schools, through its School Direct training programme.

Head of Initial Teacher Education at Liverpool John Moores University, Jan Rowe, said: “LJMU works with 12 School Direct Partnerships across the North West. Although most School Direct students attend on campus sessions, some School Direct programmes are taught more extensively on school premises.

“School Direct Partnerships and their host schools are normally clustered in specific areas, or encompass specific school types for instance Special Schools, so School Direct is a good option if applicants have a particular set of schools in mind, or if they are interested in exploring a salaried employment based route into teaching.

“Applications for School Direct routes take place via UCAS, but selection events are organised by the lead school. Whichever route into teaching applicants choose, the relationship with a school-based mentor is a crucial part of a successful experience whichever route student teachers choose.”

Throughout your career there will be many opportunities for progression and by embarking on Continued Professional Development (CPD), it will improve your quality of teaching and help you on the path to promotion.

As teaching methods are always developing, CPD gives teachers the opportunity to learn new, and reinforce existing, techniques and strategies whilst also increasing motivation, confidence and commitment to the job. Schools invest heavily in technology and so CPD will ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest developments which can be utilised to enhance everyday teaching. By learning new skills and applying them in the classroom, it can lead to a more stimulating and effective teaching environment which will be of great benefit to your students.

Need to know:

Qualifications needed:
• GCSE grade C / 4 in English and maths
• A degree

Salary potential:
A newly qualified teacher, depending on experience, will usually start at M1 on the teacher pay scale and can expect to earn around £24,000+. On the main pay scale your salary can increase up to M6 (£35,971 – £41,483)

Skills required:
• Communication
• Creativity
• Enthusiasm
• Confidence
• Dedication
• Conflict resolution
• Organisation

Career progression:
• Head of department
• Head of year
• Pastoral managers
• Deputy and assistant head teacher
• Head teacher

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