If you are ready to apply to train as a teacher, then here is the link that you need. If not, then read on…
Each year we receive hundreds of applications through UCAS and a great number of them are not YET ready to progress onto teaching. This, however, does not mean that you cannot teach, simply that you have a few steps to take before you CAN train as a teacher. Let me give you an example…
18 months ago, I was approached by someone who wanted to teach but was frustrated as it was not in the subject that his degree was in. We discussed his background, how his path had led him here and what he wanted to do now. He had always been a passionate musician and so had completed his GCSE, A Levels and then a degree in the subject. The natural progression from here was to train to teach Music and this is where the journey hit the first bump. Music was always an intrinsic thing. It was something that he loved and allowed him to express himself and it gave him great joy. The PGCE that was started didn’t fulfil him and for various reasons, he didn’t complete the course. Following his degree, he found himself working in a school as a Teaching Assistant, then a Cover Supervisor. A role as a Learning Support Assistant came next, before roles as a Learning mentor and ACE Mentor. All of these experiences allowed him to realise that English was his real passion…
So, here he was with a Music degree, music A Levels and wanting to teach English! That is not possible, is it…? The short answer is yes, you can train as a teacher of English.
Wherever you are, whatever your background, there is always a way to work towards your passion, whether that is teaching or anything else. The question is “What do you need to do?” and then ultimately “How much do you want to do it?”
So, we began to discuss the path that would help him to reach a position where he could teach English. We call this our 2 year phased entry plan. What that ultimately means is there is a preparation year before you can apply to gain your teacher training place.
Year 1 – Pre-ITT preparation year
Complete an A Level in English Literature and Language – this could be completed online through a distance learning platform so that this could be studied in any spare time. One example that is worth looking at is Cloudlearn – who provide flexible learning options that you can complete in your own time.
Another alternative is Oxford College, who offer a range of courses covering many different subjects.
In addition to an A Level, he needed to prove that this was his passion and so should start to involve himself in activities that would expose him to English in the wider community and provide a broader subject knowledge base. This could be working in a library, supporting EAL learners, attending Literature workshops. In fact, it could be anything that helps develop your passion for your subject.
While completing these elements, he was still working in schools and so we discussed how he could maximise the use of his time there. He spoke to the Headmistress and Head of the English to discuss his aims. Once they were aware of his desire to teach English, they happily supported him in gaining exposure to the English department, whenever the chance arose.
So, during year 1 he was gaining a secure level of subject knowledge through an A Level, attending workshops at his local library, involving himself in reading groups and maximising his exposure to the teaching of English.
Year 2 – Applying for teacher training… Apply NOW
Because we had already addressed the level of subject knowledge, now it was time to look at the application process. We met up to discuss how things were going and together we mapped out all of the things that he had done. This allowed me to point out all of the elements that should be discussed during the personal statement, the different roles that would be listed in the schools/experience area, who to ask to provide him with a reference and generally how to create a very strong application form.
6 weeks later his application form came in to UCAS and when this was assessed by our Programme Director and Lead Subject Tutor for English, they were very impressed. In fact, they said it was one of the strongest application forms that they had seen for some time. He was invited to interview and performed incredibly well. His experiences had allowed him to really understand what a teacher has to do to engage with students. The teaching task was very strong. When working with colleagues for the Group Problem Solving Task, he knew exactly how to work as part of a team and could support the development of ideas from other people and contribute his own. The panel interview was equally strong and the experiences, passion and reflections allowed him to provide detailed answers that meant there were no concerns over his awareness of the realities of teaching. It was in his written piece, that his real potential was shown. his passion was evident for all to see, he knew the curriculum expectations and what it meant to be a teacher of English.
Unsurprisingly, we made an offer on the day and that was accepted. One of the conditions was to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course (SKE) and this is now being undertaken. Because this is a condition of his offer and that we are agreeing that he can train as a teacher, the course is paid for by the government and there is even a bursary of £200, paid each week that you complete it. The course can be completed full-time or part-time, online, face to face or a blended version of the 2. Ultimately, this means the course is completely flexible and will help address any subject knowledge gaps that you have.
Irrelevant degree and A Levels, no subject knowledge, limited relevant experience – no option to access teacher training
A Level in English Language and Literature (at a good grade), lots of relevant subject knowledge developed through a range of experiences, course and activities. He had gained extensive and relevant experience in schools and was able to demonstrate what it takes to become a teacher and to start changing lives.
This is one example of many, from the last few years, that shows that you CAN train as a teacher, you just need to know what YOUR path is.
If you want to find out how you could train as a teacher, then get in touch and we will help to map out your path
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