How to Become a Teacher

When it comes to rewarding careers where you get to help other people, there are many different options to choose from. This includes becoming a doctor, a support worker, or a counsellor amongst other things. One other career choice that can prove extremely rewarding and enables you to help shape the future of younger people is working as a teacher. Getting a job as a teacher in the UK means that you can help provide a solid education to youngsters in a bid to prepare them for their adult lives. This is something that can be hugely rewarding and can provide you with both job satisfaction and a decent salary.

Becoming a teacher is a great way to earn money while you train, and you could be earning in excess of £26,000 while you are training. Of course, it is important to remember that while teaching is a very rewarding career it can also be a challenging one. This is why you need to ensure you are fully aware of what it involved and that you make the right decisions in relation to the subjects or age groups you want to teach. As you can imagine, teaching primary age children can be a very different experience compared to teaching secondary school ones. You need to think about the pros and cons of each in order to work out which option will be the right one for you.

How to qualify as a teacher

If you want to teach in England or Wales, you will need to get your QTS qualification, which is obtained through an ITT programme either in a school or at university. It takes around one year to complete this course after which you will become an NQT – Newly Qualified Teacher. Once you become an NQT, you will be able to start your induction year.

Requirements are different in Scotland and Ireland if you want to start a career in teaching. In Scotland, you would need to complete your Initial Teacher Education course followed by a probationary year. In Ireland, you would need to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, a Professional Master of Education, or PGCE if you want to go into teaching.

Many people decide to go into teaching as a career change but you need to ensure you have the right skills and qualifications to train. So, what are the requirements if you want to undertake teacher training in England? Well, the typical requirements for teaching in England are as follows:

  • Work experience: One of the things that you should have when applying to undertake teacher training is some level of school based experienced. You can achieve this by volunteering in schools but it is best to determine the age range that you plan to teach and focus on doing voluntary work in schools that teach that age range.
  • A degree: You should also have a degree that is 2:2 or higher and this should be in a subject that is relevant to what you plan to teach if you are looking to work in secondary education. You may also be able to get onto teacher training courses if you have a qualification that is considered equivalent to a degree.
  • GCSEs: Another thing that will be taken into consideration is your GSCE results, and in England you will need to have a minimum grade C in English and maths. Depending on the age range that you want to teach, you may also need to have a grade C or above in a science subject. There are cases where equivalency tests may be accepted instead of these grades but this is something that you would need to check on at the time of application.
  • Skills test: You will also need to successfully pass the skills testing for numeracy and literacy as part of the teacher training application. These tests are carried out as part of the application process for teacher training.

Also, bear in mind that any convictions that you may have will have to be disclosed when you apply for teacher training in the UK. A criminal records check will be carried out through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS check) so it is important that you declare any convictions at the time of application for your teacher training.

Your personal qualities

In addition to academic qualifications, it is also important to take into consideration your personal qualities when you apply for teacher training. After all, you need to ensure that you are cut out for this type of work before you commence with training. Some of the personal qualities that are important include patience, excellent communication skills, enthusiasm, confidence, integrity, and excellent organisational skills. Also, remember that sometimes you will have to deal with some very stressful and challenging situations so you need to be able to cope in difficult situations.

Different levels of education

Before you start out on your teaching career, it is a good idea to have in mind which age ranges you would most like to teach. Very young children require a completely different style of education to junior school age children, who in turn need educating in a slightly less aggressive manner than say university level students.

Pre-school: Here you will be dealing mostly with babies and toddlers in more of a caregiver capacity than in a teaching role.

Infant school: A little more complex, this involves teaching the basics, such as numbers and colours, as well as English, maths and physical education.

Junior school: Children here are taught to a greater depth on individual topics mostly by the same teacher who is required to have a good understanding of all subjects.

High school or College: These institutions provide valid certificates of education and teachers specialise in one or two subjects according to their degree.

University: The highest level of education for degrees and PhDs in a wide range of subjects. Professors teach a strict discipline of study according to the subject.

Whichever teaching profession you choose, you’ll always be rewarded with the knowledge you’ve made a fundamental difference in a child’s life.