Hello, my name is Beth and I have recently made a career change and decided to train as a primary school teacher. This blog is intended to document some of my experiences and hopefully inspire you to consider a career in education too.
For me, it had always been law. I had been deeply inspired by my sixth-form college A-Level law tutors. I went on to study a law degree and eventually qualified into the family law team, but I always felt like something was missing. I never truly had that sense of satisfaction that I so desperately hoped a career in law would give me and I started thinking about what I was truly passionate about and what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.
I had always missed school. My friends and I reminisce frequently about the happy times we had, all the way from primary school to sixth-form college. You see, the teachers were such a huge part of our positive experience at school. I still remember some of the spellbinding, awe-inspiring lessons I was a part of in primary school (which I actually ended up talking about in my teacher training interview!) and these had clearly left a lasting impact on me. The thought of being able to create the same safe, inspiring and enjoyable learning environment that my teachers created for me moved me and I knew I had the skills to do it.
Part of my reason for going into law was to help people, and to have that rewarding sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, knowing you have made a difference. I knew this is something I would get every single day within a school environment. Then I started to think, maybe my A-Level Law tutors had inspired me in more ways than I realised. Yes, they inspired me to pursue a career in the law, but truthfully it was their masterful teaching that had had the biggest impact on me. That is probably when I realised that I had a genuine passion for a career in education.
The next step was deciding at what level I would want to teach, and where would be the best fit for me. I toyed with the idea of secondary school but I knew I would have to pigeonhole myself into one subject and I just couldn’t choose! As such, it came down to primary. I began my applications as soon as possible. There are many different routes to initial teacher training but having a degree is essential; the one-year course I am undertaking is a post-graduate qualification.
To clarify, the “teacher training” course refers to two things: the PGCE element (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) and QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). The one-year course has several different routes available. I am taking the School Direct route, but there are also University-led routes and salaried routes and I would encourage you to look into these. The School Direct route is generally run by a school or a training provider (who work with lots of schools) and are partnered with a university that awards the PGCE element of the course. What School Direct means in practice is that I spend the majority of my teacher training year within a school environment, rather than being at university and going out on block placements. I felt this was the best option for me as someone with very little experience in an education setting. I feel learning on the job is the most effective approach for me personally and it enables me to truly get a feel for the school environment.
In terms of the other students on my course, I was relieved and very pleased to discover that our future teachers have such varied skill sets that can all contribute positively to educating our children in some way. Having teachers who can think critically, challenge their own viewpoints and methods and work closely with others who offer something different will surely have a positive impact on our education system.
Although I have only been in school for a couple of weeks at the time of writing, I know for sure I have made the right choice to take the plunge and pursue a career in teaching. Every day is challenging, rewarding, exciting and different. In next month’s blog, I hope to take you through how the type of training I have had so far and what I have been doing in school.
In the meantime, if you are considering a career in teaching, I would recommend the following:
- Arrange some work experience. Although this has been difficult due to the pandemic, contact a local school, or friends who are teachers, and ask if you can spend some time observing in class. This way, you’ll truly get a feel for the school environment and whether this career is for you.
- Think about what age group you would like to teach. If you are really passionate about one particular subject, maybe consider secondary or beyond. If you (like me) enjoy teaching a mixture of subjects, maybe think about primary.
- Research initial teacher training courses. You can do this via the Get Into Teaching website or the government ITT website. Think about which route best suits you and start getting an idea of the course requirements.
See you next month.