As my initial teacher training (ITT) starts to draw to a close, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on my experiences so far; how far have I come, what do I know now that I wish I’d known two years ago. It’s also the time when new ITT prospects will be getting nervous about their applications, and so I thought it might help for me to put this in writing; even if it only helps one person then I’ll consider it a useful way to have spent my time.
My initial worries and what I think of them now
I remember worrying about a few things when I first got into teaching. Things that seemed so simple to every teacher I’d ever met, so much so that most of them never seemed to notice it. So here are a few of those things that niggled me:
Something inside you has persuaded you that becoming a teacher is your career choice; it could be that you have been a cub, brownie, guide or scout leader, working with young people. Gymnastics, swimming, dance, various sports all encourage young people to undertake coaching courses with the idea of sharing skills with young children. Leading or taking part in holiday schemes have led to the career choice. My favourite was a prospective candidate talking animatedly about helping children with disability to overcome fear and attempt to climb.
It doesn’t have to be one of these routes. Many people enter teaching later in life, having had an initial career and seek greater job satisfaction; some will have had families. Often they have had a transitional route via a teaching assistant role or as a helping parent in school. This, in itself, sometimes leads to a school persuading them to pursue the route to becoming a teacher.
Your application is not complete until your referees have given their agreement and completed and submitted a reference for you. Once they've done this, you'll be able to access the Pay and Send option. So, first check that you have sent your reference request by going to the reference section and clicking the button to 'Send Reference requests'. Then contact your referees to make sure they have received the email. If they haven’t, check out the 'Why hasn’t my referee received the email' FAQ below for more advice. When each of your referees have submitted their reference, we will email you to let you know and this is when you’ll be able to pay for and send your application.
How do I send a reference request?
After you have completed all sections of the application – including the check form section – an option will appear...
Several factors influenced me to take up teaching as a profession. My grandad, particularly, guided me to higher education and ultimately into the profession. I was always keen to share what I had learnt with others. I remember my primary school teacher being significant in my childhood, and hoping that one day I could have the same impact on others. With the skills, knowledge, and experience I already obtained at the time, I felt there was definitely an area within education that I could bring these skills to, as the teaching profession is so broad.
The application process was very straightforward. It was exactly the same as applying through UCAS for undergraduate courses. I think it is important for those who are contemplating completing initial teacher training (ITT) after their initial undergraduate degree, that you know you can access student finance to fund the course. ITT courses are one of a few courses that are exempt from second funding.
I studied a BA Hons Primary Degree 5-11. I have always wanted to work with people and feel that I am doing something worthwhile and positive. When I trained, there were lots of applicants so I can remember that it was competitive. It was good to hear from current students/teachers during interview days. My interview involved a presentation and group discussion.
Placements in school were by far the most valuable part of my training to prepare me for the job. There were lots of practical tasks in seminars, as if we were the children. Guest speakers were the most exciting part of lectures, I remember a lecture by a children’s author being really interesting.
When you start placement/your career, you must prioritise. It’s very easy to get caught up doing unproductive tasks. Every night I ask myself ‘What do I need to do for tomorrow to run smoothly?’ I would also say it’s important to keep things in perspective. When you’re on placement some lessons go well and some don...
My mum inspired me to become a teacher. She has worked in primary schools since I can remember, and growing up, I would go to her class and help her out when I could; I loved the fact that no two days were the same. Also, I have a lot of lovely memories of my time in primary school with my mum working there and my dad being heavily involved. Every member of my immediate family have worked in education, and I guess it was natural for me to do the same.
I came back from travelling for 2 years thinking I have missed the boat in applying for any type of teacher training course when my mum spotted an advert in the local newspaper. I applied straight away and got offered an interview a few days later. The interview was at a local primary school, and we had to take a literacy and maths test, take in a book suited for the year group allocated and read to a class, as well as preparing a presentation about ourselves and an interview with the course director and the head teacher. The...
A PGCE wasn’t always the way that I had intended to complete my ITT. For the 2014/15 academic year, I had applied for one PGCE course, and two School Direct (salaried) programmes. Unfortunately, all of my applications were unsuccessful – I didn’t even get as far as an interview for the PGCE at this stage. I was very nervous about the whole process and the interviews were really tough – one had a panel of six head teachers interviewing! The feedback from the interviews was that I needed more experience in a school – due to working full-time, I’d only really done the two weeks minimum experience required for application.
I had five years’ working experience in a private nursery, moving from a student to a nursery nurse, to assistant manager, to nursery manager, but this obviously wasn’t enough. I’d worked full-time whilst studying part-time (one night per week) for my degree, moving from a foundation degree to a BA (Hons) Top-up, where I finished with First...
There’s still time for you to start a teacher training programme in September. Whether you’d like your training to be led by a school or a university, there’s a training programme that’s right for you.
Not sure what the difference is? We’ve got it covered:
Before you can apply for teacher training programmes in England and Wales, you need two references on your application. The process may seem a little daunting and confusing, but we’ve got it covered in this blog post!
Who can be my referee?
If you’re at uni or college, or finished within the last five years, we’d recommend that your first reference is from a tutor or lecturer who can comment on your academic achievements.
Your second referee can be someone who knows you well enough in a professional capacity – either from an academic or professional background.
Both your referees will be asked to comment on your suitability for teaching.
Your referee can’t be a family member or friend.
How do they provide a reference?
First off, speak to your referees to make sure they’re happy to provide one for you, and give them a heads up on...