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Teaching Jobs And How To Get Into Teaching - A Guide

Introduction To Teaching Jobs And How To Get Into Teaching
‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ How many times have you seen or heard this quote? Well, the chances are, if you are thinking you might want to get into teaching, whether that’s primary school teaching jobs, secondary teaching jobs or even further and higher education, someone at some point will have said this to you.

Because the teaching profession is perhaps one of the most misunderstood professions out there. “Oh, you get long holidays and you only work a few hours a day. It’s an easy life.” That’s what many people believe. However, teaching jobs can be very demanding, challenging and stressful at times and the hours are long - but those who work in the teaching profession will also tell you that their career is also one of the most rewarding careers out there. When you are working with children and young people of whatever age, no two days are ever the same and you can imagine there is a great sense of achievement in knowing you have played a significant part in a child’s development. And essentially, that’s what teaching jobs are all about.

The government are always concerned with ways to improve the quality of education in Britain and are keen to raise standards. As a result of this, the teaching profession is a constantly changing environment with new initiatives being introduced by the government and schools looking at the best ways to implement any changes. Recently, teacher training has also seen some new initiatives implemented and that means students and graduates who are looking to get into teaching and who are starting to think about how to become a teacher now have a range of options open to them. It’s down to you as a graduate or as an undergraduate to decide which is the best route for you so that you can find teaching jobs in the future and start to develop your teaching career.

So first of all, let’s take a look at the pathways you could take for a graduate teaching career.

How To Get Into Teaching - Possible Routes
Whichever path to teaching you choose to take, there are three requirements to become a teacher:
  • All teachers must be graduates.
  • In order to get teaching jobs, all teachers must have completed ITT - Initial Teacher Training. All Initial Teacher Training involves a degree of time in school, observing lessons and, after a while, teaching.
  • All teachers in England and Wales must also have been awarded QTS - Qualified Teacher Status. This enables you to teach in England and Wales. Whichever route you choose to take to get into teaching, Qualified Teacher Status can be achieved either as you do your degree or after you have graduated.
  • If you want to do you teacher training in England, you will need to pass Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy before you begin your Initial Teacher Training.
Get Into Teaching By Doing A BEd (Bachelor of Education) Degree
A BEd (Hons) Education degree is a common way to get into teaching, especially amongst students and young people who are hoping for primary teaching jobs in the future. This degree typically takes four years to complete and is a mixture of time in schools doing teaching practise and also academic study at university. You will gain Qualified Teacher Status as you do your degree, too.

If you really want to become and teacher and are committed to the idea of a teaching career, then a BEd (Hons) Education degree could be the perfect way to get into teaching for you. You will gain in-depth knowledge about how children and young people learn and you will also be given lots of time in different classrooms to both observe lessons and also teach.

However, if you are a student who is only thinking a teaching career might be a good graduate career for you, a BEd (Hons) Education could be a bit limiting for you. There are other routes into teaching though, so there is still room to keep your options open.

Get Into Teaching By Doing BA (Hons) Degree or BSc (Hons) Degree With Qualified Teacher Status
For these degree courses, you get to specialise in your chosen subject and also come at it from an education angle where you will familiarise yourself with ways of teaching your specialism. Like normal degrees, a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree with Qualified Teacher Status takes three to four years to complete and but then you will be able to get into teaching because you will have QTS and also, your ITT (Initial Teacher Training) is incorporated into your course, too.

An honours degree with Qualified Teacher Status is a popular route for students hoping for secondary teaching jobs after graduation because you get to delve more into your specialist subject.

Get Into Teaching By Doing A PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate In Education)
The PGCE is a popular route for graduates who are looking to get into teaching. It is perhaps so popular because it means you still have the freedom to do your chosen degree at university and then decide what you want to do about your future graduate career. Because you never know, in those three or four years at university, you might go off the idea of teaching jobs altogether.

The Post Graduate Certificate In Education takes one year (full time) or two years (part time) to complete. One point to bear in mind for graduates looking to get in teaching via the PGCE route is that competition for places can be high so you will need to convince the university offering the course that you are committed to a teaching career. It is also much more advantageous for you if your degree is in a subject that is taught in schools. So even with a PGCE, it is still wise to choose your degree course carefully - look at subjects that are on the National Curriculum and do your degree in one of those subjects.

Get Into Teaching In Further Education By Doing A PGCE Post Compulsory (Premium Graduate ITE)
The teaching profession is a fast changing environment and in efforts to improve standards in education, it is now possible for the country’s best graduates to get into teaching by doing a PGCE Post Compulsory course with Premium Graduate Initial Teacher Education (ITE). This is especially for those looking for a graduate teaching career in Further Education.

This course is a new innovation and is for graduates who have achieved a 2:1 or above in one of the STEME subject areas. STEME subject areas or Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and English. If any of these subjects are your particular strength and you have a degree in any of those areas, then future teaching jobs may be easier to come by because these are the subjects that have been highlighted as shortage areas. Britain needs more STEME subject teachers.

The PGCE Post Compulsory Premium Graduate ITE course lasts for a period of two years and during that time, graduates will achieve their PGCE and credits towards the completion of a Masters degree which will be completed after the course finishes. Because this is an initiative designed to attract the best graduates into teaching in subjects where there is a shortage of teachers, there is also a bursary of up to £20,000 and funding for the PGCE and Masters.

Get Into Teaching ViaSchool Direct
And now we are well into the world of new initiatives with regards to becoming a teacher. School Direct is an alternative route you can take to get into teaching because outstanding schools and also Teaching Schools are teaming up with universities to get graduates into teaching.

Depending on the school you apply to and the university or training provider the school is working with, the School Direct course will last for one year and at the end, graduates will receive Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Some School Direct Training Programme courses will also incorporate a PGCE, too.

Are you a graduate who has three years employment behind them and would now like to get into teaching?
The good news is, if that is you, you may be able to do a School Direct Training Programme Salaried which means you will get paid while you train. High quality graduates who have come straight from university may be eligible for a bursary to complete the School Direct Training Programme.

Find Teaching Jobs Via School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)
School Centred Initial Teacher Training programmes are again for graduates who would like teaching jobs. Again, SCITT is a new government initiative designed to attract the best graduates into teaching jobs. Qualified Teacher Status is awarded at the end of this course and also, sometimes a PGCE, too. School Centred Initial Teacher Training is offered by consortiums of schools where there is one lead school in each consortium. Students and graduates who would like to get into teaching via a more hands on approach might find SCITT is a good route for them to take.

How To Get Into Teaching Via The Teach First Programme
Yes, we have another new initiative and this is Teach First. Teach First is a two year programme which is designed for academics who are about to complete or have already completed doctorates. This is an employment placement where the second year is spent as an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher).

Again, this is all about improving standards in education and encouraging those who may not have considered it previously to get into teaching. Employment is in schools in deprived areas where it is hoped pupils will benefit from the in-depth subject knowledge and be encouraged to progress themselves.

I Want To Become A Teacher. Which Age Group Shall I Teach?
Knowing which age group you want to teach is important for two reasons. Firstly, it may determine the route you take for how to become a teacher. Also, it will determine how much satisfaction you get from your teaching career. Which children or young people do you feel you most want to work with and why? Are you thinking about primary teaching jobs, secondary teaching jobs or maybe even a teaching career in further education? Decide this before you apply for places on any teaching courses as your commitment will stand you in better stead for getting accepted on any of the programmes above.

What Are My Chances Of Getting Teaching Jobs After I Complete My Programme?
When you have invested time and money into studying towards any profession, you want to be confident you can find graduate jobs afterwards. The good news for those who complete degrees, postgraduate courses or any of the school-centred programmes is that most young people find teaching jobs within 12 months of completing their course. Many people find teaching jobs as NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) with the school they have worked with while doing their Initial Teacher Training.

If you have specialised in any of the STEME subject areas, these are shortage areas in the teaching profession so you have a good chance of beginning your teaching career immediately after finishing your programme. There are more vacancies within these areas than there are for other subjects.

Other career paths you could take are, if you are a graduate and want to travel, you could find teaching jobs abroad. Teaching abroad does not necessarily have to be as a TEFL (Teaching English As A Foreign Language) teacher. Many schools abroad have international students, follow the National Curriculum and seek to employ teachers from the UK. If you would like to work flexible hours, supply teaching jobs could also be an option.

What Sort Of Salary Can I Expect If I Get Into Teaching?
Well, the good news is, these days, starting salaries for newly qualified teachers compare well with other graduate starting salaries for different professions. Salaries can vary for different teaching jobs. London for example is split into three different regions where the starting salary is higher, depending on the area where you are teaching. These areas are Inner London, Outer London and London Fringe and the teaching salaries vary because there are added allowances due to the cost of living. If you are beginning your teaching career in London, check to see which region the schools you are applying to are in.

Some teachers develop faster than others and if you are really excelling in your teaching career, you might be picked out by your school as a high performing teacher and this means you can move faster up the pay scale.

As you progress in your teaching career, as well as progressing up the general teaching pay scale, salaries can vary as you take on more responsibility within your teaching jobs. More responsibility means more pay and this can vary depending on the subject you specialise in and the size of the school you work at. TLR payments (Teaching and Learning Responsibility payments) are awarded to subject coordinators or heads of department for example.

Career Progression In Teaching Jobs
If you are a driven person with ambition to grow to your career, the good news is teaching jobs could be a good idea for you because many of the best schools expect this from you and will positively encourage it. So once you have graduated completed your Initial Teacher Training and been awarded your QTS, let’s take a look at some teaching career progression ideas. Obviously, this will depend on the size of school you are in and the age range you teach but this is just a general outline.

NQT - Newly Qualified Teacher
Your first year in teaching jobs will spent as a Newly Qualified Teacher where you will receive support and assistance from a designated member of staff in your school. This is to help you settle in to the world of work as a teacher.

A Teaching Career Means You Can Take On Extra Responsibility In School.
As you progress through the pay scale and become a more confident teacher, your school may ask you to take on extra responsibilities or you can apply for those more senior positions. This can be anything from coordinating a particular subject, becoming head of a department, being head of year or head of a key stage. Usually, extra responsibility means a boost to your annual salary, too, by way of the TLR payments (Teaching and Learning Responsibility) mentioned in the teacher salary section above.

SEN (Special Educational Needs) Coordination And Teaching
Depending on the size of your school, some teachers start to specialise in special educational needs. In primary teaching jobs, for example, you could become the school coordinator for special educational needs and this means dealing with educational psychologists, social services and other governmental departments. This could take your teaching career along a whole different path if this type of education is what your are interested in.

Deputy Head Teacher
Depending on the size of the school, there could be one or more deputy heads. Especially in primary teaching jobs, the deputy head could also still be in a teaching role, too, rather than purely office based.

The roles of deputy head teacher and headteacher are not for everyone. Many people who embark upon a teaching career want to stay in the classroom and remain hands on in teaching their pupils. However, if you have the drive and determination to take on the responsibility of making a school be successful, then these types of roles could be perfect for you.

The roles listed above is the most obvious route you can take in your teaching career, but these are just a few ideas. This is by no means the only route.

Other Duties In Teaching Jobs
Especially in primary teaching jobs where you will be teaching many different subjects and where the schools tend to be smaller with regards to pupil numbers and members of staff, the job of the teacher involves a lot more than just standing in front of the class and teaching your lessons. Taking school assembly, classroom preparation and marking are all extra duties for teachers but what about those other extras? Here are just a few of the other duties expected of teachers and also some of the really fun aspects that can make a teaching career so fulfilling and rewarding.

Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are any activities you take part in or arrange that are not necessarily a part of the usual national curriculum lessons in schools and colleges. For example, within your day to day teaching jobs, you could also incorporate fun activities such as running an after school club or a lunchtime club. This could be some informal extra support for subjects on the curriculum, foreign language clubs or fun activities such as arts and crafts you wouldn’t get time to do in the normal school timetable.

Especially in primary teaching jobs, whatever your subject specialism, if you are keen on sport, you could find yourself in charge of running the school football teams or other sports. And what about those residential adventure centres for school children? You could attend those, too. These are all the types of activities where you can connect with the children in your school in a whole different capacity.

Professional Development Courses
Because the teaching profession is changing all the time and new innovations occur in the way lessons are taught, teaching jobs involve keeping yourself up to date with all of these so that you can develop in your subject specialism. Some courses last for half a day, one full day and even a week. These courses might take place at your school, at a local education authority teaching centre or at another training centre. In these cases, you get to meet other teachers from other schools and share ideas.

Hours Of Work And Holidays
And so we come full circle and finish where we started this article - that misconception that teaching jobs are really easy because the school day is so short and the school holidays are so long. However, as most teachers will tell you, the time spent in school actually teaching lessons is just a small part of teaching jobs.

In state schools teachers spend 195 in school, officially. The rest is holidays, right? Well, after you have prepared and planned lessons, read and marked the work of all your pupils, prepared school reports, completed necessary administrative tasks, attended staff meetings and worked in school during the holidays in order to prepare for the following term...ask anyone in the teaching profession about their ‘to-do list’ and they’ll tell you it’s a never-ending run of tasks.

But, while graduate careers in teaching are not as easy as some might suggest, teaching jobs are still full of reward and fulfilment and with a growing population and shortages in various subject areas, it could be a good time to consider ways to get into teaching.

Useful Links For Graduates Looking To Get Into Teaching All Over The UK
For more information about the teaching profession and ways to get into teaching (especially in England), you can visit the Department for Education website.
For those looking for information about how to become a teacher in Wales, there is more information at the Teacher Training & Education In Wales website.
If you want to get into teaching in Scotland, the Teach In Scotland website is useful.
For undergraduates and graduates based in Northern Ireland, you can visit the NIDirectwebsite, Department for Education.
If you are a graduate and are trying to decide whether to choose the PGCE route or the School Direct route to get into teaching, read our in-depth article PGCE versus School Direct.
And click this link for application and interview tips about landing your first job and beginning your teaching career as an NQT.

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