Should you become a teacher? My experiences of teacher training
Should you become a teacher?
Are you considering training to be a teacher?
The first thing you need to consider when thinking to become a teacher is your qualifications. Do you have a relevant degree that you can transfer into a possible teaching career? For teaching older age groups you will need a specialist subject that is relevant to the school curriculum. Some in demand subjects, such as maths and science also provide greater teacher training grants. Where does your subject fit in? If you want to teach small children, then any subject to degree level may be acceptable.
The next thing to consider is where you will study for your teaching degree. Are you able to bare the cost of this teacher training? Training to be a teacher in a certain specialist subject may not be available at many universities. Are you prepared to move to where the course is located? If you are currently working, this is a huge step to take! There are however a number of options open to you.
There are generally two ways of training to become a teacher. The academic route (PGCE in the UK) and the 'on the job' training route (GTTP). The GTTP can offer more flexibility in terms of location, as most of the teacher training happens in school; therefore a school near to your home can be chosen. When deciding to become a teacher through the PGCE route, large amounts of the time (1 year) is spent in university. The PGCE is taught with a greater emphasis on pedagogy (education studies) and educational theory. Students are expected to learn in the lecture theatre, then take this theory into the classroom. With a GTTP the theory is taught in the classroom and during allocated sessions; often after school or one day a week. The training to be a teacher route you choose is dependent on your own personal preference and personal circumstances. There may also be a financial reason for your choice, as a GTTP training grant can often be greater than that offered to a PGCSE student.
When I decided to become a teacher...
My experiences of training to be a teacher
Teaching was a profession that had always been in the back of my mind as a career option and I found many of my contemporaries going down this route. Why was this? There must be a good reason why they had decided to become a teacher!?
I began to research the options available and luckily for me, a PGCE (professional certificate in education) in my specialist subject was taught at a local university. The thought of going back to university was actually very appealing to me, although the cut in wages was a blow, the Government grant offered at the time provided enough income to make it manageable.
I decided to begin on the PGCE in September and complete the one year course to become a teacher in my specialist subject. A friend of mine was also deciding whether to become a teacher; she cleverly spent some time in a local school observing lessons and after a few days decided it wasn't for her. This type of observation is often a requirement of some courses....a good idea of your not sure what to expect. For most of us, schools have changed alot since we were there!
The teaching degree - PGCE
My experiences of training to become a teacher
Starting the PGCE was daunting, but soon became both challenging and enjoyable. It is important to recognise the commitment that is required during training to become a teacher. The workload quickly builds; on the academic PGCE route, you are expected to read theory prior to lectures. You also have to complete a number of assignments based on this taught theory. On top of this, you have to begin preparing to enter a school. There are a huge amount of rules, regulations and concepts to learn before you enter a school, as well as learning about teaching techniques, subject theory and the all important behaviour management! Choosing to become a teacher is not easy!
Teaching for the first time
My experiences of training to become a teacher
There is no doubt that standing infront of your first class is one of the most scary experiences you can imagine. Luckily you are not expected to do it alone. All trainees are given mentors in their schools to aid and manage their first school experience. Often trainees are also placed together for moral support. Teaching for the first time requires a huge amount of planning. This part of the course is both stressful and exhausting; you are entering a new workplace, meeting new staff and being expected to teach children for the first time. You also spend many more hours late in the evening planning for the next days ahead. But like many horrible feelings and experiences e.g. long distant running, extreme sports, the sense of achievement after completion is excellent. One good lesson feels like a huge triumph; you just have to be strong enough to not let the bad ones take over. Forgetting it and moving on is hard, but essential. If you are to become a teacher that enjoys their career, you must be able to take critcism and not let bad experiences affect you. Everybody has a bad lesson, a bad class or difficult pupils, but you must be able to move on and learn from your experiences. Could you do this? Could you become a teacher?
Wether to become a teacher - the pros and cons
- Working hours - some days will be long, some days will be short.
- Long holidays
- The children - you will develop excellent relationships
- Competitive pay and progression
- Variety - two days are never the same
- The holidays - although they are long, they are NOT flexible
- Paperwork and red tape
- Pressure re: pupil performance
Do you think you should become a teacher? There are many worse careers, but teaching requires a certain amount of commitment that may not be required in other career choices. Is teaching a vocation rather than a career? Should you become a teacher?