Teaching has its challenges, but the rewards can be tremendous. If you're thinking about a career in teaching after university, we offer hands-on support with the application process.
When I approach potential speakers for our annual Careers in Teaching event on campus, I am reminded how busy our teachers are.
Many times I hear ‘I would love to talk to your students but I just can’t get away – please ask me again next year’. This might be due to parents' evening, a conference, school play rehearsal or exam invigilating, not to mention last-minute emergencies that often seem a feature of this profession.
I wonder why people are attracted to this job, where challenges present every day, sometimes every hour (and need immediate attention) and where your social life is perhaps restricted to a few hours at the weekend away from lesson planning, marking, report writing and dreaming up activities that will allow for inclusive and inspirational teaching.
Yet when I talk to those teachers who do manage to visit our campus, I find I know the reason. They are a dedicated, committed bunch of people who really do want to make a difference to the lives of children, young people and adults – and they know the education sector needs others who can do that too.
When I ask their motivation for working in what seems like a world of perpetual motion (where the highest standards are constantly aimed for, despite what might be said about resources and staff shortages), the overwhelming answer is always: the children. Or, in the case of those working in further or higher education, slightly older students!
Holli Smith, Assistant Head Teacher at Queens Park Academy in Bedford, says:
"Teaching is a demanding profession but there are countless examples of the impact we have.
"From a child with a troubled background who turns around their challenging behaviour due to daily support and consistency from staff, to a child who overcomes a particular learning difficulty to confidently communicate with their peers and in class – there are moments every day that remind you why you teach."
Primary and Secondary training applications are now open. Here at ARU, the Employability Service offers help and support with the process, including training routes and how to find classroom experience, through the Career Centre, drop-in and one-to-one appointments.
(For our current students who are applying this year, the personal statement is a key required element and Get Into Teaching and UCAS give useful advice.)
Samantha Torr from Colchester Teacher Training Consortium says:
"It is a good idea to research what makes an outstanding teacher and what the main issues are facing schools. Use past work experience to identify skills required for teaching and use [these] to evidence your strengths, for example, decision-making, leadership, team working, flexibility, resilience.
"If you have worked with children in any capacity or completed observations/voluntary experience in schools, explain what you learnt about cognitive thinking, child development and professional relationships built, to ensure impact."
If you're considering teaching in other areas, including further education, higher education and English as a Foreign Language, the Employability Service can also help with resources.
Teaching can be a rewarding career and we need good teachers. Don’t delay – apply today!
By Kim Holbrook, Employability & Careers Adviser