Advantages Ultimately satisfying in the long run
Disadvantages Can be gruelling, tiring and pressured hard work
Ok – I know that some of you are by now fed up of my constant references to teaching (and languages) but a couple of people out there have actually followed-up the teaching bit of my random personality as they have aspirations of becoming a teacher themselves (good luck to them – I would always encourage people to go for it!).In this case, what I propose is a quick run down of the basic training you need to go through in order to get qualified as a teacher in secondary education (sorry, but I can’t comment on the primary sector).
THE BASICSFirst things first though, before we even get to the qualifications bit – before becoming a teacher you have to ask yourself some basic but obvious questions. Amongst others, you have to ask yourself if you see yourself actually ‘being’ a teacher and funnily enough, this is not as patronising as it seems. Before picking up your own crayons and your pencil case and waddling off back to university, it is helpful if you consider the current climate for teachers. I’m not even talking about pay and conditions (that’s another area I’ll save for later) – I mean you have to appreciate what it can be like in some schools. Basic teacher training by route of a postgraduate qualification (a PGCE – Postgraduate Certificate in Education) means you have to normally spend two long placements in schools and considering that most kids in this country are taught in mainstream secondary schools you will have to deal with these very ‘normal’ conditions of teaching varied, very ‘streetwise’ kids of differing academic and behaviour levels. If you accept these and are still interested in becoming a teacher – read on. If, by chance, the words ‘streetwise’ and ‘kids’ have frightened you, you have my permission to exit this opinion now.
Accepting that the PGCE is the most popular route for people who want to enter teaching after their undergraduate degree, here’s an insight into what it’s like. Yes folks, warts and all.The PGCE year is probably one of the most hectic, dramatic and melodramatic years you will ever have in your life. In theory and practice, it takes a normal graduate of any subject and transforms them into those mystical things we call – ‘teachers’ and it can be heart-wrenching stuff!
WHAT IS THE PGCE COURSE LIKE?A PGCE is always a mixture of academic study (yes, folks ‘more’ essays have to be written) and more importantly classroom teaching – out of the two, teaching practice in schools is the larger element and counts more as to if you actually pass the course or not.
Considering that this practice is more valuable than any teaching theory, it is useful to know what to expect and how you are graded in the classroom. Most universities and teacher-training institutions alike will grade the classroom assessment of you into something like the following categories:1. Subject knowledge – your level of the subject specialism you are teaching to pupils.
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