Deciding to become a teacher doesn’t just mean you can apply for the work and teach a full class in a matter of months, it requires a basic degree, and then an additional qualification called a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate In Education). While the degree usually lasts three years, the PGCE tends to be one year. But it is quite a year! You will do a lot of hard work, and quite likely a lot of learning on the job to get to this point, and once you’ve got it, what happens?
Depending on your PGCE, you may have already had on the job training, which would require you to work on a semi-regular basis in a school, so you will have learned the ropes, and sometimes it can lead to a permanent position. But in getting to this point may require you to interview or go up against others who have been teachers for years. The other option is to go on employment-based teacher training, where you would likely work in challenging secondary schools. Challenging is the operative word because it can really put you through your paces.
Once you’ve obtained your qualification, and you aren’t offered a post by a school, then you can join various agencies that specialise in teachers and teachers of specific subjects. An agency like Simply Education works with the teacher and matches them up to the right position based on their individual skill set and location. You will be required to interview and do the rounds, which can be a challenge, again due to the competition for the job. And while you can have an advantage if your skill set is in a subject that is not part of the core set of subjects (these being maths, English or science), it can set you apart, but these jobs may be few and far between. As a result, if you find yourself interviewing irregularly for these jobs, you will need to show how you keep your skills fresh in the meantime.
Your other options include being a supply teacher. Being contacted on the morning to cover a class a few hours later in a school that could be a couple of hours away, and this does require sitting by the phone waiting for that call to see if you have work. This might be somewhat demoralising, but if you have enough of a skill set that you can cover maths, drama, or French, and you live in an area where there are many schools, your likelihood for regular work is higher. But it’s in some ways living your first day of work in a new job over and over again.
As choosing the life of a teacher is choosing to teach future generations the skills they need to survive in the world, you might not be surprised to hear that there are many perks to the job! Apart from the bursaries and grants to those that undertake training, there are also bonuses available (£5,000 for a maths or science-based subject) as well as a sizeable income and the benefits of a lucrative public sector pension scheme. If you’ve thought about becoming a teacher, the rewards, personal and professional, are many.
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