5 tips if you're considering teaching as a new career
28th January 2019
According to a recent survey from Get Into Teaching, more than half of us would probably or definitely change jobs if we felt we could – and 44% think we would make a good teacher.
But what does it take to go from thinking about changing career to re-training to becoming a teacher?
We asked three new trainees – an ex- mortgage adviser, facilities manager and professional musician – for their advice for would-be career changers.
1. You must be passionate about working with children and young people
Former mortgage adviser Robyn says teacher training is “hard work, so you’ve got to be passionate about it. Don’t go into it lightly, because it is a massive thing.” She is quick to add that rewards are massive. “For me it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve not regretted it for one minute.”
2. Your professional experiences are an asset
Dawn took a career break to spend time with her children before they reached school age, having previously worked as a facilities manager. Whilst teaching English to high school students might seem a million miles away from facilities management, Dawn says that your past professional experiences can be a real asset in teaching:
I’d always thought about teaching, but for me it was very important that I did other things first. And I’m glad of that experience. I’m professional in my approach to teaching and I think that has only come about from my experience of working in a corporate environment.
Trainee Music teacher Emma, who was a professional musician, adds:
Being that little bit older, and having had that work life, and knowing how to act professionally helps in the transition.
3. Culture shock or not
The idea of going back to being a student, as a trainee teacher, can feel daunting. However, if you opt for a school-based route like School Direct, our trainees say it is more like being in the workplace than returning to being a student. “It’s just a continuation of work really”, says Emma. While Robyn reflects:
You get stuck in straight away. Coming from a job, I liked the idea that you work in the placement school. You come in all day, every day [Monday to Thursday], so I don’t see myself as a student. I don’t feel like I’m someone studying, I feel like I’m a legitimate adult that’s still working!
4. Fitting teacher training in with your other commitments
An understandable concern for those who have children, or other caring responsibilities, or just a very busy life outside work is: Can I juggle all of that and train to be a teacher at the same time?
I had a lot of questions about how I was going to do this, because my husband works long hours, and how I was going to juggle being a mother and all of that other domestic stuff as well as doing this.
I remember Paul [NTTC’s Director] saying, ‘You can have a career as well. You know, there are mothers out there who are teachers,’ and that made me think, yeah, that is true. I need to be bold and take that step.
Give it serious thought, adds Robyn, and make sure that everyone around you is on board. If my partner wasn’t supporting me then this would not be physically possible.
5. The application process is quick and easy – and it’s never too late to apply!
All three of the trainees say there were pleasantly surprised by the ease and speed of the application process.
It was really smooth to get on the course. I applied fairly late on. By the time I’d got the UCAS form in, within 3 days I’d got an interview date. I came in for the interview about a week later. By the time I got home from the interview there was an email waiting for me to say you’ve been accepted.
In Robyn’s case her application to NTTC was made at the last possible moment – the day before the start of the new academic year!
NTTC was still taking people on if they felt you had the right attributes to be a teacher, which is brilliant! It’s never too late to do it.
Inspired to become a teacher?
If you feel that you have what it takes to be a good teacher, we’d love to hear from you.