I have just finished my NQT year and thought a post on here may be useful to those who are thinking of teaching. It’s a very rewarding career and I really can’t imagine what else I would do if I wasn’t a teacher. Yes sometimes it can be frustrating but you also get good times too, which on the whole outweigh the bad! Today was my first results day and although I didn’t teach year 11 this year, I did have two tutees who managed to get the grades they wanted. An amazing feeling - that I helped them to achieve it!
On the subject of how to actually get into teaching - I am a Secondary Maths teacher and so due to the shortage of these and a few other subjects, it wasn’t as competitive as to get on the Primary course. However saying that I do think that if you are sure you want this career, getting on the ladder early is really the key. I applied within days of the application form being available and was selected for interview within a few weeks. As I recall I applied in October and went to interview in December. A lot of people hold off applying, for whatever reason - maybe they’d not even thought of the career choice - but as places tend to be filled as they get the suitable candidates, the earlier you apply the better.
The actual interview was more like an assessment day - this varies depending on where you apply. I went to Manchester and we were asked to do a group discussion, a presentation, a maths paper and an individual interview. Everyone who applies for any secondary subject must also take a maths and english paper, which took the first part of the day.
I really do believe that if you really want to be a teacher and have a love for your subject you will get onto the course. I found that the more experience of working with children the better - in fact it was actually commented on how I’d managed to fit it all in! I had known I’d wanted to be a teacher from an early age, so undertook volunteering at childrens clubs/groups, helping out at schools and such like as soon as I could. Apart from this looking very good on your application form, I also found it to be very useful to help you decide the area you want to work in. Originally I wanted to be a primary teacher, but after helping out on several occasions (mainly free afternoons while I did my A levels), I started to think about secondary. Although I really enjoyed working with young children, the higher my studies got, the more I thought I’d miss the material. As it is now, I really enjoy teaching the A-level material and the younger years (years 7 to 9) as they are the most interested!
I can’t think of anything else at the minute, but if anyone wants to ask me any questions, you can reply to this thread or email me.
Oh and the PGCE year is challenging, but you learn so much! The NQT year is too but on a different level - it also more rewarding as they are your classes. You don’t have the backup of a placement, but if you’re in a good school the support will be there - just not at the back of the room!