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How to Gain Valuable Work Experience in Teaching
Work experience is key to getting ahead in any industry, especially in the education sector. Not only will it help you make up your mind about whether being a teacher is right for you, it will also bolster your job application and give you something extra to talk about during the interview process.
When you apply for your teacher training, you will be expected to have undertaken some previous work experience with the age range that you want to teach. Being able to demonstrate that you have relevant experience shows how motivated you are, that you’re determined to succeed and that you have the skills needed for teaching.
Before applying to any teacher training institutions, you’ll need to use your initiative and be proactive to get some hands-on experience under your belt. But fear not, this is much easier than you think. Here, we show you how to top up your work experience in the education sector.
Ask your family and friends
Remember the saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’? Like any job hunt, networking is the key to success. Your family and friends may well know teachers that you could approach about some work experience. If you can find someone who will talk to you about the demands of a career in education and then let you shadow them, it will benefit you hugely.
Contact your local schools
Most teacher training establishments require you to have a minimum of two weeks work experience, preferably in a state school. Thankfully, many schools run work placements to give future teachers a taste of the education sector. These placements not only help you out with valuable experience but they also give schools an extra helping hand, making them more open to offering them.
Remember: if you don’t ask, you won’t get, so don’t be nervous about approaching any of your local schools. These placements take a while to set up, so give yourself ample time to arrange a placement before you have to submit your teacher training application.
Consider a school experience programme
The Department for Education runs a school experience programme where you can gain the necessary in-school experience that you require. It works in partnership with hundreds of schools across the UK, so you will always be able to find somewhere willing to help you get a better understanding of what teaching involves.
During your placement, you will have the opportunity to talk to teachers and find out what day-to-day life involves for them. Then you might shadow them to watch this in action.
Take advantage of teacher training organisations
There are many teacher-training organisations out there so why not go along to their open days or sign up for their taster courses to see if teaching is something that could work for you. However, be aware that taster courses tend to be in the less desirable subjects, which are harder to fill!
Become a Teaching Assistant
Becoming a Teaching Assistant is a brilliant way to gain experience in the education sector. You will be paid for your time and build up a wealth of experience that will look great in the future. If you are interested in becoming a teaching assistant there are plenty of vacancies on the Remedy website and various job boards, alternatively you could get in touch with your local authority.
Finally, however you choose to get your work experience, you should record everything you do as evidence for your application. Keep a diary of all work that you complete, what it involved and with what age group. This will be invaluable when you are submitting applications or preparing for interviews.
Take notes during each shadow experience that you do. Think about what you liked but also what you didn’t enjoy. Then make notes on what you would do differently. Again, this all shows that you are dedicated to your decision to become to a teacher. Observe and keep notes of the different teaching styles as it will help you narrow down your methods when the time comes.
Hopefully, you’re now ready and set to land some valuable work experience! But remember; if these steps don’t work out the first time don’t give up on your dream. Always persevere, and put in the time and work – you will soon see results.