If you are feeling unfulfilled in your current line of work and are considering a career in teaching, you are not alone. Teaching is a profession which many come to later in life after finding that they are not getting what they need out of their career and want to do something that feels truly worthwhile. Often the process of helping others to further their own knowledge and supporting them throughout the learning process can be a very rewarding experience. If you are considering a career in teaching then the first step to take is to figure out if it’s really the job for you.
Teaching isn’t for everyone. Perhaps you love working with young people but find public speaking a challenge. Maybe you’ve never worked with children before and don’t know which age group would fit you best. Teaching adults might even be an option. It’s vital that you get voluntary experience in schools. By using some holiday time to volunteer one day a week or for a longer block of a few weeks, you not only get a feel for what teaching is like, you show that you are dedicated to carving out a career in teaching; something which is essential for getting onto a teacher training course.
It is also worthwhile speaking to people who are already working in the teaching profession so you can gain an insight into the role and ask any questions you might have. Many people think that teachers have it easy with all the long holidays, but a teacher will probably warn you of all the countless hours of marking you have to do! Your local careers guidance service should also be able to advise you on the necessary skills and experience you will need. With any career change, research is key so talk to as many people as possible before you take the plunge.
When it comes to applying for a teacher training course there are several options and training courses will all require some degree of experience in schools. If you already have an undergraduate degree then you could consider options such as the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or the Schools Direct route. Some universities offer part time PGCEs, allowing you to work or look after your children at the same time, and so are popular with parents and mature students who are financially independent. The Schools Direct route offers training on the job for graduates with good degrees and some classroom experience and has both salaried and unsalaried options.
If you haven’t got a degree you might choose to do an undergraduate degree in teaching with qualified teacher status (QTS); most popular among those who have recently finished school, but available to mature students too. There are many options available and the best bet is to do lots of research online and speak to other teachers to find the best route for you.