Teaching can be considered as one of the most rewarding jobs that a person can do. Each one has his or her own reason for becoming a teacher. Be it a primary, secondary, special education, or even a university professor, being a teacher means shaping, inspiring, and guiding minds to help students bring each of their own potential to the fullest.
There are a number of ways you can become a great teacher. And it’s good to know that not all of which would require you to have a postgraduate degree. It’s a great thing to know that there are different options and paths that you can choose from depending on your specific goal and as to what kind of teacher you want to become.
The Importance of QTS and ITT
QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)
A Qualified Teacher Status is basically a certificate that would demonstrate that you have all the chops, adequate training, and skills to fully assume a teaching role in a school or any educational institution.
In order to gain QTS, you will need to have an undergraduate degree and GCSEs of level 4 or grace C or above in Maths and English. You will also need to pass the Professional Skills Tests in Numeracy and Literacy.
ITT (Initial Teacher Training)
Now this is something you should have that could help you earn that QTS that you want. ITT is a prerequisite for the QTS and the likes. Getting an ITT will definitely catapult your way up one step further in becoming a teacher.
After getting your ITT, you now have a chance to take an assessment to finally get your QTS.
The Different Routes Into Teaching
The routes into teaching can be further divided into different categories based on the level of study, past experience in teaching, and what king of specific training you would like to acquire.
One of the most common routes in becoming a teacher are postgraduate programs:
PGCE (Postgraduate Certification in Education)
For you to land a great position in teaching, it’s highly recommended that you should pursue the PGCE. A hands-on 9 month program that would help you get to your goal of being a teacher faster. Enrolling in this program will give you the advantage because not only would you be able to study the theoretical side of teaching but as well as going to school placements to learn the ropes firsthand.
Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship
Now, post graduate teaching apprenticeship offers a more practical approach or route to becoming a teacher. This program was solely designed for prospective primary and secondary teachers. This apprenticeship will give you an opportunity to work at a school so that you can learn through firsthand experience.
EYITT (Postgraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training)
EYITT is meant for postgraduates that are aspiring to teach the youngest of the learning age group. You would be using materials from the Early Years Foundation Stage. After accomplishing one of these programs, you will be earning an Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) that will give you the permit or right to work and teach children up to the age of 5. This is actually the equivalent of a QTS but for younger children and students.
There are also other options and routes into teaching that are a bit more direct than the others. However, this will require you to take an assessment at your own expense to gain QTS or an equivalent.
The assessment only path is for teachers with experience in teaching but as the moment, still unqualified. Assessment would somehow require you to prove that you have been working as a teacher already and you have all the chops and skills to become professional.
This can also remove the need to do a long and most likely expensive teacher training course that would also take a lot of time. Having accumulated a hefty experience in teaching might also help you to be able to skip this stage.
If you love and value the job training and experiencing everything firsthand rather than studying the theoretical side of teaching, then the school direct route is right for you. This is the best option for people who want to learn the ropes by immersing his/herself in the situation and learning while practicing.
School direct route would require at least a teaching experience of 3 years. If you want to pursue this route, you would have to plan it ahead of time because of the work experience requirement. However, once you accomplish and complete the school direct route program, you will have a higher chance of receiving a PGCE qualification and be able to get your QTS while being able to train and learn as well as earning your salary.
Other Routes Into Teaching
If you didn’t have a postgraduate level or degree, or don’t have plans of getting one, then the route of apprenticeship might tickle your interest.
Future Teaching Scholars Program
This is a new program that gives you different options in routes into teaching. This is designed perfectly If you’re good at maths or Physics and if you're keen to apply your knowledge and specialization and teach these subject.s
As you undergo an undergraduate degree and sharpening your skills in each subject, you find yourself engaged in teacher training sessions and online elements that you can immerse yourself into so that you’ll be seeing both sides of the academic and teaching perspective.
Level 5 Diploma
A level 5 diploma in Education and Training (DET) program provides you a valuable and fruitful teaching qualification.
For you to be eligible to undertake the level 5 diploma is a minimum of 100 hours of teaching experience. This program is ideal if you are over the age of 16 who wants to get that teaching qualification you want and was able to gain a good number of hours in teaching experience.
Tips to Become a Teacher
Now that you have already knew what are the different routes that you can undertake for you to hone your skills, and equip you with all the knowledge that you need to get the QTS and become a great teacher, here are tips on how you can become a great teacher that would shape the minds of future generations.
Gain Teaching Experience
Experience really is the best teacher. Immersing yourself or doing on the job training would reach you all the ropes and give you the chops on how to deal with situations in an actual teaching setting.
One option to gain experience is by volunteering. Reaching out to schools in your community that are in dire need of a teacher would definitely give you that firsthand experience. You might have a change to shadow some of their tenured teachers and maybe you might be able to substitute and even teach a class.
Another one is tutoring. This can be done by posting ads in your local newspaper or in your social media account. There are a lot of online tutoring platforms that you can choose from
Hone Your Skills
Another great way to catapult your way into teaching and get ahead of everybody is through honing your skills and being better at your craft. One is to improve your skills in being able to communicate complex topics simply that any person or student would be able to understand.
One interesting way of doing this is by practicing with the people you’re always with like friends and family. Just take a random topic, subject, or any current event, then try to teach or explain it to them in a way that even if they are not fully familiar with the topic, they would understand you. You can also try your management skills in class by setting ground rules and regulations to your friends and family.
This might come out strange to you and to them but it would be a great way for you to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses especially in a setting of a group. Plus searching for hypothetical interview questions and trying them out for your future teacher interview would also help you a lot. So that when you are in the actual interview, you will be confident and assertive in answering questions and expressing your opinions.
The routes into teaching are not easy tasks. Some require a number of teaching experiences for you to be eligible to take the certain program. Some would really require you to have a college or undergraduate degree. But rest assured that all these routes into teaching would help you and guide you to be prepared practically as to when you become a teacher.
Lastly, being a teacher does not only require skills in teaching and managing a class but also dedication. You have to have that dedication, and commitment to your chosen craft for you to accomplish all the requirements needed in becoming a teacher and getting that QTS that you want.