Five myths about getting into teaching – dispelled!
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As the end of uni moves ever closer you are probably considering your next move.
Would you like a career where you can go home each day knowing you’ve made a difference? If so, then now may be the time to consider teaching.
Teaching is a great way to make your degree, skills, and knowledge, really count. What’s more, it also offers great training and opportunities for progression. So why doesn’t it always get the recognition it deserves?
We have debunked five of the most common myths about teaching:
Myth 1: It’s March – haven’t all the top graduate deadlines passed by now?
If you’re grappling with overlapping graduate scheme application deadlines, you’ll be pleased to hear that applications for teacher training are open until later summer, and there is tailored help and support available throughout the application process.
Nevertheless, popular courses fill up fast - so, if you’re thinking of training to be a teacher, there is plenty you can do now to prepare, including thinking about your references and gaining first-hand experience in the classroom.
Just visit getintoteaching.education.gov.uk. In fact, early in the year is one of the busiest times for registrations, with popular courses filling up fast, so, if you’re thinking of training to be a teacher, there is plenty you can do now to prepare, including thinking about your references and gaining first-hand experience in the classroom.
Myth 2: I don’t have a degree in the subject I’d like to teach – I can’t become a teacher
Don't hold back from applying for teacher training in biology, geography, maths, physics, chemistry, computing, design and technology, or languages because of your subject knowledge.
You may still be able to train to teach these subjects (and be eligible for the bursaries they attract) by building up your existing knowledge with a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) programme.
SKE courses are fully funded – so you won’t have to pay any tuition fees – and you may be eligible for a training bursary. Courses are available across the country and you can find out more about your options by visiting education.gov.uk/teachSKE.
Myth 3: Teachers are underpaid
When you choose to become a teacher, you’ll be joining a profession that offers a competitive starting salary with plenty of opportunity for career progression.
Newly qualified teachers can expect to start on a minimum salary of at least £22k, or £28K in inner London. On average, a teacher earns £37,800 a year, and schools have more freedom to develop local pay offers for teachers than ever before to help them to attract and retain the good teachers they need.
To train as a teacher, a range of tax-free bursaries of up to £25k and prestigious scholarships are available. In addition, there are other great benefits available including at least 13 weeks of holidays and competitive pension schemes.
Becoming a teacher doesn’t just offer you financial reward. You’ll get the chance to make a difference to students’ lives on a daily basis.
In fact, research for the Get Into Teaching campaign found that teaching tops the charts as a rewarding career. A quarter (25%) of the general public don’t ever recall experiencing 'a moment that gives them goosebumps' in their working lives, while over three-quarters of teachers (77%) have enjoyed one of those magical moments within the last eight weeks.
Myth 4: I want big challenges and to further my knowledge and skills – teaching is about the students, not me
There are many opportunities for career progression as a teacher. This includes the possibility of rapid progression into a leadership role – if that’s your ambition. The great thing about teaching is the array of opportunities it presents – so if you’re looking to specialise in areas such as curriculum development, you’re free to shape your own career path.
Laura Causer, a French and German teacher from County Durham who qualified in 2013, experienced this and commented:
“I graduated with a BA in Modern Foreign Languages and landed a job in a large, multinational consultancy company. I used my language skills every day, but I found the work repetitive and unfulfilling.
“Teaching really appealed to me as I knew every day would be different and I wanted to be part of a challenging and fulfilling profession. Even during my first school placement, I was inspired by how passionate my colleagues were, and they were keen to help me progress as quickly as possible. Now I use my language skills to equip the next generation to communicate across the globe and have good fun doing it.”
Myth 5: Training to teach means going back to university again. I want to start earning after university
Whether you want your training to be led by a school or a university, there’s a training route available to suit you, and you could get a tax-free bursary of £25k.
On a school-led training course, you’ll get the chance to learn on the job in at least two schools, learning from experienced colleagues in the classroom and being part of a team from the start. You’ll be putting your new skills into practise from day one while you gain qualified teacher status (QTS), and most courses also offer a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
You could earn a salary by training on a School Direct (salaried) programme. If you’re already working at or have an existing relationship with a school and want to take the next step, then you may want to consider this route. Trainees on the salaried programme are recruited and employed directly by schools, and often continue teaching in their school following training.
Has this made you feel differently about a potential career in teaching? To explore your options as a teacher, contact the Get Into Teaching line on 0800 389 2500 or visit getintoteaching.education.gov.uk.
There is a particular demand for teachers in a range of subjects including maths, physics, chemistry, computing, geography, biology and languages.