Whether you’re interested in teaching eight-year olds their times-tables at a junior school or quantum physics to tired university students, seeing others succeed and accomplish their goals is incredibly rewarding. Of course, it’s not just the teachers at the front of the classroom involved in this industry – there are also many other incredibly important roles. Whether you would like to become a teaching assistant, a substitute teacher or even a special education needs aid, there’s more to the teaching sector than most think.
You may have heard conflicting opinions that a career in teaching is pretty easy with loads of holiday each year, and others who claim it is a nightmare with wild children running loose at variable times. Neither of these are true, and though a teaching career may be challenging at times, it’s all about the bigger picture – after all, where would we be without teachers to guide us through some of the trickiest points in our lives?
If you wish to pursue a teaching role, you don’t necessarily need to work with young people, there are plenty of opportunities to teach adults. Nonetheless, no matter who you teach you’ll need to be able to engage and connect with those who you’re teaching; confidence, enthusiasm, charisma and great communication skills are all essential. If you feel you possess any of these, a career in education and learning may be perfect for you.
Work experience is very important to a career in teaching and learning. Not only will it allow you to gain valuable insight and the chance to decide whether a job in this industry will be right for you, but it will also show employers that you are dedicated to a future role in the sector. There are a huge range of opportunities to gain work experience in the teaching and learning industry; whether that’s tutoring other students or volunteering your spare time to work in a school.
As part of your teacher training, you’ll be expected to have a lot of classroom experience, so it’s best to start early and get used to the classroom environment. As part of your training course you’ll be required to gain a minimum of 24 weeks of school experience in at least two schools in order to meet the Teachers’ Standards, this should ensure that you’re properly prepared for your future career.
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An apprenticeship in education and learning will give you great hands-on experience from your first day on the job. You’ll be able to work alongside experienced colleagues who will be able to get you up to scratch on all the ins and outs of the industry and handle real responsibility. In addition, you’ll also be working towards gaining the qualifications that will open up your career, all while being paid a salary. Some apprenticeships in education and learning include:
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Many people go to university in order to pursue a career in teaching and learning. Choosing to take a degree for this subject will give you the opportunity to learn about the theoretical knowledge you’ll need to apply to your future career. You’ll be able to choose the units you wish to study which means you can tailor your learning to your areas of interest which may aid you in your future job. You can also look for degrees that offer their students a placement year – this is an excellent chance to get more hands-on work experience that will really set you up for a great career in teaching and learning.
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There are huge amounts of opportunities available to graduates in the teaching and learning industry, however, you’ll be up against stiff competition. If you do not have a teaching degree, don’t worry, there are many options still out there for you if this is a career you wish to pursue. You could make direct use of your degree and teach a subject that you love – there are generous funding grants in place to cover the costs of teacher training in whatever you choose.
Keep in mind, you need to have achieved Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) to be able to teach in government-run schools after completing Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Initial Teacher Education (ITE) which will then lead to a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You could also choose to enter postgraduate teacher training such as gaining the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which will leave you fully qualified to enter the teaching and learning industry.
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There are a few other routes in which to enter a career in teaching, however, in order to be able to work teaching others you are often required to have a qualification to prove your abilities. More informal methods of training do not often require such strict entrance restrictions, such as teaching languages to adults, but this may depend on your employer. It may be a good idea to consult with a training provider who can inform you of the qualifications necessary to undertake your desired career path in teaching.
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