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Teaching is an increasingly popular choice of career. Record numbers continue to enter the profession, coming from all manner of backgrounds. The UK Graduate Careers Survey also found that teaching was the first choice of career for graduates, ahead of work in the Media and Banking.
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Why is teaching so popular?
There are many reasons for teaching’s popularity. It is now a career that pays well, with newly qualified teachers starting on a salary of at least £20,000 (£24,000 in inner London). Depending on the size of school, pay can rise to more than £100,000 for head teachers – equivalent to the leaders of a sizeable business. And the progression to headship can be swift. Good teachers enjoy excellent career prospects, with heads in their 30s not uncommon.
Thorough training ensures teachers are fully prepared before they enter the classroom with newly qualified teachers benefiting from personal mentors. Classroom assistants are widespread and all teachers have half a day out of the classroom a week for planning, preparation and assessment. Subject associations and fellow teachers ensure that there is a substantial network that people can turn to for support and advice.
But what makes teaching different from other careers is the opportunity it offers to work with young people. They make teaching a creative and challenging career in which no two lessons – let alone days – are the same. Passing on your knowledge and enthusiasm and seeing a young person understand something for the first time is a uniquely rewarding experience. Above all, though, teaching is enjoyable. Psychologists were recently sent into classrooms in a variety of schools around the country and found that teachers break into a smile on average 10 times every half an hour and laugh out loud four times during the same period.
How do I become a teacher?
There are several different ways to train to teach, suiting a broad range of circumstances. All training routes lead to the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) which is a requirement for teaching in a state maintained school in England. You can train at a university or college, in a school, or on the job. You will need to have a degree or equivalent, which should relate to the subject you want to teach. If you’re looking to become a primary school teacher, that means the core subjects of the national curriculum.
All teachers must have also achieved a standard equivalent to at least a grade C in GCSE English Language and Mathematics and if they want to teach primary or Key Stage 2/3 (ages 7-14), a grade C or equivalent in a GCSE science subject.
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