So you want to become a teacher. Congratulations! Thanks to advances in classroom technology, teaching has, once again, become an exciting profession; one that you could build a rewarding career out of.

Of all the positions one could take in education, teaching is arguably the most visible... and the most challenging. Today, there is so much information available, it's hard to choose what students need to know and what could be considered supplemental. And what if your students want to debate current events rather than cracking open their books?

To become a teacher, you have to learn about classroom management and the latest educational philosophies. And then, you have to discover and develop your teaching style.

You can do all of that and more via the traditional route - passing exams and earning qualifications... but there are other paths into teaching you might consider, too.

Let’s explore what those paths are, and look at all of your options to becoming a teacher.

The best Teaching training tutors available
Roxana
5
5 (5 reviews)
Roxana
£35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kamal
5
5 (9 reviews)
Kamal
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dr parikh
5
5 (5 reviews)
Dr parikh
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Rose
5
5 (6 reviews)
Rose
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sana
5
5 (11 reviews)
Sana
£15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Amie
5
5 (4 reviews)
Amie
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Adrian
5
5 (7 reviews)
Adrian
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Cristina
5
5 (3 reviews)
Cristina
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Roxana
5
5 (5 reviews)
Roxana
£35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kamal
5
5 (9 reviews)
Kamal
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dr parikh
5
5 (5 reviews)
Dr parikh
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Rose
5
5 (6 reviews)
Rose
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sana
5
5 (11 reviews)
Sana
£15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Amie
5
5 (4 reviews)
Amie
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Adrian
5
5 (7 reviews)
Adrian
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Cristina
5
5 (3 reviews)
Cristina
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Jobs in Education

Empty classroom with desks and a blackboard.
Equip yourself with the fundamental tools to succeed as a teacher.

Jobs in education aren’t limited to one role - teaching, even within the teaching profession there can be a lot of variation. For instance, you might set a long-term goal to become a headteacher, or you could specialise in a specific field - biology, maths or a foreign language.

And then, there's your pedagogy - your teaching style.

Do you see yourself standing at the front of a classroom, lecturing? Or are you more the type to break down hard to digest information so it's easy to understand? Or are you figuring out ways to make your subject entertaining for the students?

You need to have some idea of what kind of teacher you want to be and a plan for how you will make your teaching ideas a reality. Whether your visions of teaching actually come to pass is a different matter but it's helpful to at least have an idea of how you want to conduct your lessons.

If nothing else, your ideas on teaching might prove useful in your teacher interview, especially to answer questions about your motivations for becoming a teacher.

Once you have a good idea of how you want to teach, and to whom, you will be better positioned to work out which job in education to aim for.

You might even find that you prefer online teaching to leading in-person classes.

Managing A Class

Classroom management poses one of the greatest challenges any teacher faces - at any level and with any degree of experience.

Managing a class in these times can be frustrating, especially when virtually every student has their own smartphone and social media account - and they're not bashful about focusing more on their devices than on learning.

How you manage your students and exercise your teaching skills will impact not only how they behave during your lessons but their overall academic performance.

Of course, classroom management strategies depend largely on which level you teach.

It's relatively easy to manage younger students; say, those up to Year 2. There's been lots of research into young children's attention spans, how to keep them on-task and interested in learning. These early school year curricula have been structured to not overly tax pupils' attention spans; learning sessions are kept relatively short and there's lots of activity and variety built in.

These tactics help keep the students engaged and interested in school.

An interest in learning is part of the reason the early levels are easier to teach. Another is that being in school is still so new and exciting. Students at those levels remain open to new experiences and generally keep a positive mindset.

Perhaps the most trying aspect of teaching the youngest students is helping them manage interpersonal conflicts - they may fight over who gets to sit where and who gets to use the red or blue coloured pencil. It's all a part of learning how to function in a group setting; pupils have to test boundaries to learn what's allowed.

Older students pose much more of a challenge.

As early as Year 3, things start to change. Learners now have more of a grasp of how school works and the social dynamics. Also, the bloom is... if not off the rose, then fading fast. Now inured to the rhythm of their school day, and with the work getting more difficult and load heavier, students seek escape and distraction.

This is when your classroom management skills are truly put to the test.

Selecting A Level To Teach

Students are generally grouped by age and those groupings determine the level of education they are exposed to. The lone exception to that rule is when a student has to repeat a year or if they should prove so gifted that they leap ahead of their peers.

In the UK, the age groups are divided into Key Stages.

Each Key Stage represents a different age group, which may range between two and five years. Key Stages are further broken down into years; for instance, Key Stage 1 includes students between the ages of five (year 1) to seven (year 2).

These Key Stages cover primary and secondary schools.

Key Stage Two papers
Key Stages are an important part of the education system in the UK.
  • Key Stage 1: ages 5-7 (Years 1-2)
  • Key Stage 2: ages 7-11 (Years 3-6)
  • Key Stage 3: ages 11-14 (Years 7-9)
  • Key Stage 4: ages 14-16 (Years 10-11)

The youngest children are not included in any Key Stage. Instead, they are considered EYFS: Early Years Foundation Stage. This grouping covers children from the ages of 0-5.

Of course, infants are not expected to attend school; EYFS includes childminders, preschools and playgroups, as well as school kindergartens.

You may have some idea of which age group you'd like to teach - many new teachers like to start with younger students and work their way up to the higher Key Stages. But that might not be the best route for you.

Why not tutor students at various levels to find which groups you click with the best? Superprof makes it easy to create a tutor profile...

The best Teaching training tutors available
Roxana
5
5 (5 reviews)
Roxana
£35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kamal
5
5 (9 reviews)
Kamal
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dr parikh
5
5 (5 reviews)
Dr parikh
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Rose
5
5 (6 reviews)
Rose
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sana
5
5 (11 reviews)
Sana
£15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Amie
5
5 (4 reviews)
Amie
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Adrian
5
5 (7 reviews)
Adrian
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Cristina
5
5 (3 reviews)
Cristina
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Roxana
5
5 (5 reviews)
Roxana
£35
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Kamal
5
5 (9 reviews)
Kamal
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dr parikh
5
5 (5 reviews)
Dr parikh
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Rose
5
5 (6 reviews)
Rose
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sana
5
5 (11 reviews)
Sana
£15
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Amie
5
5 (4 reviews)
Amie
£20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Adrian
5
5 (7 reviews)
Adrian
£30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Cristina
5
5 (3 reviews)
Cristina
£40
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Teaching Special Needs Students

Nobody ever gets into teaching for the money. There is a strong element of altruism and purpose imbuing those who commit themselves to leading legions of learners to knowledge... but we all have to learn a living, don't we?

We'll leave aside the discussion of teachers' wages; there are plenty of opinion pieces on that topic. You are welcome to leave your ideas about teachers' pay scales in our comments section, though. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

There are ways to get a little extra in your teacher pay cheque without having to put in all the years and hard work of becoming a headteacher. One such way is to earn a SEND qualification.

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, a description that covers a variety of learning challenges such as dyslexia and its lesser-known cousin, dyscalculia; autism and attention deficit disorder - with or without hyperactivity (known as ADD and ADHD, respectively).

SEND students may also have behavioural issues, trouble focusing on their school work and difficulties understanding the lessons - for reasons as varied as a language barrier to genetic mutations that cause learning difficulties.

As the acronym implies, students with physical challenges, from vision and hearing to mobility issues are also covered by the SEND umbrella.

You have to be a qualified teacher before you can qualify for the SEND allowance - a pay boost of up to £4300. However, you can get an early start on your SEND qualifications by working with SEND students either ahead of or during your teacher training.

You might, for instance, volunteer at a summer camp for SEND kids, in facilities that work with such students or through a charity that works with special needs groups.

Throughout the UK, SEND-qualified teachers are in high demand so, the sooner you can work toward such credentials, the more in-demand you will be once you complete your teacher training.

Go Through Teacher Training

Now comes the hard part: teacher training and getting the necessary qualifications.

To become a certified teacher, you will need to get some formal training under your belt. The QTS is a must-have teaching credential. The Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), while not required, is a good-to-have credential that will boost your chances of being hired for the teaching position you want.

Routes To Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

The QTS is a requirement to teach in England and Wales. Earning yours will be your final hurdle to becoming a qualified teacher.

The easiest way to qualify for your QTS is to take some courses. There are dedicated training courses that grant the QTS but your better bet would be a more in-depth study of teaching practices. Following the traditional path to QTS raises your chances of landing the teaching position you want.

The most common path to that qualification is the PGCE.

Post-Graduate Certificate in Education

Many aspiring teachers pursue a PGCE since it can prepare them for any situation that might happen in the school environment.

During your postgraduate education, you will learn educational theory while also rotating through school placements, so you can get a bit of classroom experience as you learn. Unlike other graduate study programmes, PGCEs only take about eight to ten months to complete, depending on which school your programme is through.

While a PGCE isn’t a necessary prerequisite for the QTS, it will boost your chances of landing a teaching position. It should also help build your confidence in your teaching skills.

School Direct Training

This route to the QTS bypasses further education; it's more of a hands-on approach to learning how to teach.

Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you can apply to a School Direct Training program and work at a school as an unqualified teacher. While in the position, you will undertake initial teacher training (ITT) and eventually take your QTS assessment to see if you have what it takes to be a fully certified teacher.

Note that some schools require a few extra criteria beyond your undergraduate degree. If this is the route to teaching you want to take, be sure to find out what all is needed before applying.

Routes Into Teaching

As you train to be a teacher - on your way to earning your QTS status, you need gain teaching experience. The following outlines different routes into teaching.

Volunteering

Teaching isn't all about passing on academic knowledge, it's also about the ability to relate with learners. One way you can develop those skills is to donate your time and energy to mentoring kids.

Do you like sports? You could coach a football or basketball team, or teach them how to dance. Are you more of the artistic type? You could volunteer to teach kids of all ages how to paint, draw or take professional grade photos. Do you have a special skill - cooking, sewing, singing or playing a musical instrument?

All across the UK, there are charities dedicated to enriching children's lives that are in need of volunteers.

One such organisation, The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxfordshire, is a mentoring programme that pairs volunteer 'bigs' with kids in need of guidance. Mentors are assigned a child (or two) to spend time with; each week enjoying a host of activities and learning together.

Make no mistake: although you'll be the 'big' in that relationship, you too will learn from this experience.

Naturally, volunteering isn't simply a matter of holding your hand up and saying "I'll do it!". You have to have some qualifications.

The very first step toward becoming a volunteer is submitting to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. As you will be working with children, it is imperative that the organisation(s) you volunteer with know that your record is squeaky clean.

Some volunteer agencies ask prospective volunteers to fill out an application - well, more like a questionnaire about your skills and abilities, and about why you want to volunteer.

Don't be shy about telling them your goal is to become a teacher. In fact, working towards a career in education makes you one of the most sought-after types of volunteers! And be sure to list all of your skills and abilities. You never know, they might be looking for someone who loves to read to host weekly story time sessions at the library.

A few keywords in your fav web browser should point to you child-oriented charities but, if you don't find any or would rather put in the legwork, you could ask your local schools, churches and community centres. They would surely have the latest information to steer you in the right direction.

Tutoring

You can develop your skills as an instructor before taking over a classroom by tutoring.

Successful private tutors draw on the same skills that classroom teachers do. Besides putting their textbook knowledge to work, tutoring calls for good communication skills, creative thinking and loads of patience. You might even say that working as a private tutor helps you understand why letting students take the lead in learning is so important to their ability to meet their academic goals.

Whether you post adverts in your local newspaper or set up a profile on a tutoring platform like Superprof, you can make money while you gain relevant experience and hone the skills teachers need.

This way you can get to grips with everything associated with teaching, from lesson planning to manage a class or student.

Teach Abroad

Teaching abroad is an adventurous way to fast-track your teaching career, all while building your confidence in your skills.

The British Council has a good programme that allows you to teach in different countries; usually as an assistant rather than a full-fledged teacher. Unfortunately, in these COVID times, it's a bit harder to find such a placement. Still, there are opportunities so, if your passport is up to date and you have an adventurous streak...

Not only is this a really good way to gain teaching experience, but it can also be one of the most enjoyable 8 months or so of your life.

Brush Up On Your Teaching Skills

The skills that will be most relevant to a career as a teacher will largely revolve around communication and the ability to impart knowledge.

If you’re able to distil complex topics into easily understandable nuggets - and spark a desire for learning, then you have what it takes to be a great teacher. To hone your teaching skills, you can 'play school' with friends and family. All you need are a whiteboard and some other basic resources.

Don't forget to have them critique your performance and give you pointers!

You will also need to know your subject matter, especially if you hope to teach at the secondary level. If you plan on being a primary school teacher, you'll have to have a well-rounded knowledge of every subject from mathematics to history.

Interview For Teaching jobs

Clipboard with ‘My Resume’ written on it next to a laptop.
Make sure your CV is complete before you apply to teaching jobs.

Once you pass the QTS and have your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status, you can apply for teaching jobs. Obviously, you'll have to interview, so be prepared for any question that the interviewer might throw at you.

The questions can vary depending on where you apply.

Apply to Schools

This is by far the most direct approach to finding work as a teacher and, as with any job, you apply by sending in your CV. This approach offers a distinct advantage: schools throughout the country are all looking for new teachers.

Even better: as you undergo your teacher training, check if the school you're training at is hiring. Once you're fully qualified, they'll likely embrace you with open arms.

Teacher Recruitment Agencies

Signing up with a recruitment agency is a way to let someone else do your legwork. You only need to submit your CV; the agency will send it to schools that fit the profile you're looking for.

The only downside to such services is having to pay a fee but the positives may well balance that out. They already have established ties to schools in your area and they know where the vacancies are.

And, as they search for a position for you, you can further develop your teaching skills and earn money tutoring.

Other Methods

Sometimes, you can find adverts for teaching jobs in your local paper but the better place to check is online. Indeed and Glassdoor are reputable sites; you may also build a profile and post your CV on Linkedin.

And, if our earlier mention of teaching abroad sparked your curiosity, you might search for a suitable position on Dave's Esl Cafe, the premier site for teaching abroad.

Let us know how you get on, won't you?

>

The platform that connects tutors and students

First Lesson Free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating.

5.00 (1 rating(s))
Loading...

Samuel

Sam is an English teaching assistant and freelance writer based in southern Spain. He enjoys exploring new places and cultures, and picking up languages along the way.