We’re often asked about teaching as a career and the process involved in applying for teacher training.  It’s always interesting to hear students talk about what has led them to consider this.  Many have worked in some capacity with children, enjoyed it, and realised that they relate well to young people.  Others have perhaps recognised in themselves the skill of giving presentations to large groups, and imparting knowledge.  Some have surprisingly pleasant memories of their own school days… and some veer towards teaching because they don’t think there’s anything else they can do with their degree.

They say teaching is a vocation… you’ve got to want to do it and be a particular kind of person!  That’s the first thing I usually discuss with students.  If you choose it for the right reasons you’re more likely to succeed.

At QMU we’ve seen many graduates make successful applications for teacher training.  Drama, Psychology, Science students, all of whom have had relevant experience and a clear understanding of what the role involves. 

If you’re at the stage of wanting to explore teaching as an option we suggest getting yourself experience with school-aged children, including classroom experience.  Look at volunteering with LEAPS (Lothian Equal Access Partnership for Schools) (http://www.leapsonline.org/) and get as much experience as you can working with young people.  Take advice from others, such as those who know you well.  Are you suited to this role?  Consider becoming a QMU Student Ambassador, and joining the QMU Student Volunteering Group.. These opportunities will give you experience working with both primary and secondary aged children and will test your suitability and liking for a career in education. They will also help you to develop the skills required to be a good teacher.

We’re happy to talk to anyone who is considering teaching as a career. We also have contacts in the profession who come to the University to share their experiences and give advice. There are lots of resources you can look at too. Good starting points include the Prospects site (http://www.prospects.ac.uk/teaching_education_sector.htm) and Targetjobs (https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/teaching-and-education).

When it comes to writing your application we can also help. You’ll need to write a convincing statement about your motivation to teach as well as your relevant skills and experience. With only 4,000 characters to play with, this can be quite a challenge. Come and have a chat with us if you’re unsure of what to include. And email your application to us for a final read-through before sending it off. We’re always happy to give feedback.  

Marion Pollock

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