Class act

Heading up a classroom might sound daunting, but teaching could be your ticket to career satisfaction, finds Flora Neighbour.

Teaching is becoming the choice for a huge number of graduates who seek secure and rewarding careers. According to the Training and Development Agency for Schools, enquiries about routes into this area have surged by 34 per cent since the start of the recession. It is a popular choice, but not a simple one, as training involves an immersive course with a number of different options for post-grads to consider. You can take a more hands-on approach with on-the-job learning, or a theory-based course with an element of practical classroom experience. There are two main routes into teacher training for a graduate – post grad, or employment based.

So, why become a teacher? Whether you choose a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education), TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or QTS (Qualified Teacher Status), there are many benefits to taking on a teacher-training course. There may be the added bonus of long holidays and a good wage, but there is far more to teaching than you might think. For example, there are social reasons to go into education, including philanthropic and economic incentives, and even diplomatic motives. Every child who would be better off with the guidance and care of a great teacher is another reason why becoming an educator is worthwhile. What’s more, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools, nine out of 10 teachers are in employment within six months of completing their courses. The benefits of teaching won’t simply start as soon as you receive your diploma. You will reap the rewards while you study, as you prepare for your future career.

One of the teacher training schools open to graduates is the Arthur Terry School (arthurterry.bham.sch.uk). The academy is in partnership with 22 schools, including Birmingham, South Staffordshire and Warwickshire. It offers a number of school-led training programmes that allow trainees to study and work within a classroom environment. This includes their 38-week PGCE programme, which merges teaching experiences with structured training sessions that look at subject delivery and wider professional issues. Classroom-based learning takes place in at least three schools across the Arthur Terry School’s Teaching School Alliance and their school-based Learning Coach and SCITT (School Cantred Initial Teacher Training) subject route leaders will support the trainees throughout their course. As a national teaching school it trains the next generation of teachers by exposing the trainees to best practice across their alliance of secondary schools. Furthermore, the academy offers tremendous employability rates of 100 per cent, and like many other trainees, you’ll find your first job in the school in which you completed your training placements.

Another choice could be Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – an innovative, unique and exciting multi-academy educational sponsor. The school is  associated with 68 secondary, primary and special academies throughout England and in just one year with AET you could become a fully qualified teacher and achieve QTS with a PGCE. They will provide support and guide you through the process and can also provide school experience placements for you, which is valuable for your application.

Another course option is through United Learning. The academy offers graduates the chance to obtain the teaching award QTS and PGCE with a guaranteed job with a United Learning school if you pass with a good or outstanding qualifi cation and the United Learning

The United Learning PGCE course starts with a two-week summer school in August. You will spend your academic year in a host school with additional training once each week at the lead school, complete a second placement, and attend up to three conferences. The scheme will develop, challenge and support you to become a teacher and enable you to make a positive and lasting impact on your students' lives. Their ITT scheme works in partnership with the Institute of Education to offer high-quality training and the opportunity to gain a PGCE as well as a QTS.

Whilst training to be a teacher can be tough, it does guarantee development opportunities and is a route to acquiring a secure and satisfying job. Teacher training isn’t just a post-grad option; it is the door to a rewarding career.

CASE STUDY
 
Name: Bethany Roberts
Role: Secondary School English Teacher
Degree: English Literature
Post Grad course: PGCE

Why did you decide to pursue a PGCE course?

"I had always considered a career in teaching. I started my career as a learning support assistant and went on to become a literacy instructor for students with a range of special educational needs. I really enjoyed this role but wanted to teach literature at a higher level."

What are the benefits of teaching?

"There is a variety; you get to interact with a wide range of people who aren't afraid to say what they think and feel and there's always a funny anecdote to tell at the end of the day! Working in a secondary school means there's always an opportunity for development and progression – this is the only job I've had where I look forward to coming to work!"

What skills did you acquire during your PGCE?

"Observing experienced practitioners was really beneficial for skills such as behavior management. You are taught how to differentiate your approach to teaching to suit the needs of every individual."

What advice would you offer a graduate looking into a teacher-training course?

"If you can, volunteer at a school for a few weeks before applying. (They will definitely welcome your help and expertise.) This is a great way to see school from an adult perspective and impress the institutions you are applying to."