16 March 2017 | Grads Corner | Guest Author
Applications for teacher training are open now, with March being one of the busiest months of the year for registrations. If you’re thinking of training to be a teacher, there is plenty you can do to prepare, including thinking about your references and gaining first-hand experience in the classroom. Getting onto a teacher training course is competitive, so it’s important that you make the best application you possibly can. Here are some top tips to consider:
- Have you done your research?
You’ll be applying to a specific university or school for teacher training, so make sure you have read up about them, have considered their ethos, and can demonstrate your understanding of these factors in your application. Follow @getintoteaching on Twitter for tips and advice from trainees and teachers, and information about available course places. You can find the right subject and route into teaching for you by using the UCAS search tool.
- Can you cut it in the classroom?
Gaining classroom experience is essential if you’re thinking about applying for teacher training. You'll need to gain as much experience in the classroom as possible in order to strengthen your application and prepare you for potential interviews. If you register with Get into Teaching you can apply for the School Experience Programme which offers you the chance to observe teaching and pastoral work, and the opportunity to talk to teachers about day-to-day life in a school.
- Stand out from the crowd:
Your written personal statement will be used to determine if you've got what it takes and the passion to teach. Teaching is a personal profession so including your individual skill-set and extra-curricular experience in your written application will help you stand out from the crowd. Have you travelled extensively, taught sports in your spare time or undertaken volunteering? Showcasing the transferable skills you learnt will demonstrate your personality and passion in your application.
- Practice makes perfect:
You have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. You can only take the tests up to three times and you have to pay for resits, so it’s important to make sure you’re fully prepared. There is lots of support and practice materials available online.
- Preparing for interview:
Before you are accepted onto a teacher training programme, you will be asked to attend an assessment interview. Your interview is an essential part of the application process and will usually take place over a full day, but may take as little as an hour. You will be asked about your experience of working with young people, your commitment to teaching and your relevant knowledge and skills. As with any interview, the key to success is preparation. Think carefully about your reasons for applying for the course, your interest in becoming a teacher and what you might be asked. Make sure you research the course and institution you're interviewing for thoroughly, as well as the issues surrounding education and teaching in general.
Roger Pope is Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). Prior to joining the NCTL, Roger was a teacher and school leader himself. For more information on teacher training, visit the NCTL website, or if you're thinking of returning to teaching after studying, visit the returner's pilot programme page.