How can I use my knowledge to teach others?
Teaching is a profession that is as rewarding as it is challenging. Many people reach a stage in their career where they feel they want to give something back and pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
There are many reasons why you might want to take this step – no two days are the same, and the reward of seeing a pupil's ‘lightbulb moment' when they get it is unequalled. Plus the extended holidays can give you a great work-life balance.
As a teacher you must love to learn and be ready to search constantly for answers to questions, both your own and those asked by students. You'll need a high level of patience and tolerance toward others and a good sense of humour. Coming up with new ways to engage students is incredibly important so creativity and imagination are vital.
You'll also need excellent verbal and writing skills. You should be able to give clear instructions which others can easily follow, and of course be highly organised. Management experience is seen as a nice to have, but managing a team of adults can be very different from managing a classroom of kids so you may need to learn a whole new set of people skills.
Once you've decided to pursue a career in teaching, the next step is to plan for the best way to achieve your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which enables you to teach across the UK .
Anyone wanting to teach must first complete the Initial Teacher Training (ITT). There are many different types of ITT course – the one you take will be specific to the age group and, if you want to teach at secondary level, the subject that you want to teach. All courses cover the principles of teaching along with practical experience in the classroom.
There are several different ways you can complete your ITT: alongside a degree, straight after a degree, as a part-time course alongside work or as a full-time course. The option that is right for you will depend on your circumstances.
Teaching isn't a cul-de-sac of a career and there are plenty of ways in which teachers can progress, either within the classroom or in a leadership role.
- Primary Schooling - In primary schools you can take on responsibility for coordinating key areas such as literacy, numeracy or special educational needs; or you could move into senior management by becoming a deputy head or head teacher.
- Secondary Schooling - In secondary schools you could move up and across the management structure to gain responsibility for a particular subject (as head of department, faculty or curriculum), a particular age group (as head of year or key stage coordinator), or a particular area (such as special educational needs or pastoral care). Ultimately, you could progress to a senior management position such as deputy or assistant head and, of course, head teacher - at which point you will have overall responsibility for the management of a school and the education its pupils receive.
And it doesn't stop there. Once you have completed a few years within the school environment, there are opportunities within colleges and universities that will help you become a real specialist in an subject you love, connecting with others who share your passion.
You can find out much more information on routes to becoming a teacher and the options available to you at www.teach.gov.uk.