How Does One Prepare Themselves For a Career in Teaching?
Teaching can be a deeply rewarding career for those who dedicate themselves to it. We all have memories of particular teachers that shaped who we became as adults and for those who want to inspire new students themselves, the obvious question is ‘How?’. What steps should you be taking towards a life in education and how can you turn your first job into a career within the sector?
This issue is it can be challenging to know what your options even are. Education is a large sector and many assume they understand it from their own time as a student and skip over opportunities simply because they didn’t know they existed.
Of course, the core to a lasting career in teaching is a love for instruction and collaboration. Teachers need to be people who adore working with the students they teach and find accomplishment in what they can help students achieve. But for those worried their enthusiasm may wane later on, it’s important to remember there are roles in education that are less student-facing, and making sure those options are available to you can help if you find yourself in the tricky position of feeling stuck.
Where to Start
To begin teaching you’ll need to be qualified, usually with a university degree such as a bachelor of education. You’ll also need to meet local requirements such as background checks and visa restrictions.
However, for those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another discipline such as a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate courses such as a Graduate Diploma can qualify you to become a teacher, with options for both primary/early childhood and secondary. This method is not only for people who decide to pursue teaching after starting their first degree, it is also super common with aspiring teachers who want to focus on teaching a particular topic or class.
For people who received a Bachelor of Education with a focus on secondary or primary and wish to switch to the alternative, graduate diplomas are a great option. But getting the diploma in the opposing age group can also simply be an option to increase your job prospects for teachers who don’t have a large preference, and could be great to find work at K-12 schools.
What Options are Out There
A Master’s degree is one option when looking to expand your opportunities in education. Having the degree could open possibilities for more leadership roles such as Lead Teacher or Head of School as well as Principal or Vice Principal positions. It can also lead to alternative pathways to stay in an education space but not necessarily working with a school such as an Education Consultant.
Naturally, once you’ve become a working teacher it may seem impossible to go back to school yourself as working hours can be exhausting, but there are options to pursue a Master of Education online. Flexibility has become more and more sought after in universities in recent years and this means opportunities to upskill are not locked off entirely by existing work requirements.
Beyond a Masters, if you are more interested in positions outside of the classroom, having or pursuing a Bachelor’s degree or higher in an area other than Education can open doors to work as a Curriculum Designer. Obviously, these designers are expected to have a deep understanding of the topics they’re designing for as well as educational systems hence the strong preference for university-level degrees in multiple sectors but it could be the right option for someone looking for a big change.
And it’s important to keep in mind that Teaching doesn’t stop at children and adolescents, University Professors obviously, but it can be easy to overlook that there’s also work outside of traditional education facilities. Training and education for workplaces and employees across many sectors is also an option and a deep understanding of education makes the process of that training go all the more smoothly.
Made for Change
We’re changing our jobs faster and faster nowadays with many changing careers multiple times throughout our lives. For those with years of experience in one field, teaching can seem like the obvious choice if they want to shake things up.
Age is also less of a concern, especially for those working with secondary and older students, as unless you’re working in P.E. The exertion on the body can be fairly low. As mentioned before, in some cases becoming qualified is as simple as a single postgraduate course of fairly short length to get started and teaching is one of the few options for a career change where your previous experience is used in its entirety, and in fact is considered an asset.
A Career for Some
Teaching isn’t the best option for everyone, but no one job is, and the variety of options within the teaching field means that it’s actually a surprisingly flexible and adaptable field of study. It’s a career that can give an immense amount of fulfilment and is a fantastic choice for many people.
We will always need fantastic teachers to show us how to improve, support us, help us learn to navigate the world, and inspire us to be the best people we can be. So, if teaching is something that calls to you, why not dive in? And make a real difference.