Valuable Teaching Experience: How Students Can Get Into Classrooms Whilst Studying
If this September will bring full time job applications or a PGCE consideration, the best thing to do is, like the Boy Scouts, be prepared.
Even after years of teaching, many still have sleepless nights contemplating new ideas and the class they will have to face tomorrow. Guess what? It's normal. Teaching is a tough, testing, yet a super rewarding route that you and many others will take, so it's vital that you stay a few steps ahead to ensure a full time position whenever you graduate.
It may not be as pressing a benefit as securing your first permanent position, but work experience can also help with developing your career later on down the line. When you’re looking for a promotion or applying for your next role, only having one job on your CV just doesn’t look as impressive as one that is also backed up by work experience, so get out there and sell yourself!
Each and every university will have a 'Work Experience' or 'Careers' team on board that can help to support and guide your choices. Many of these will have connections with schools, teachers and other individuals related to the education industry so schedule a meeting and ask for advice. This option is also great for CV and interview preparation so be sure to cover any area you aren't 100% confident with when chatting with your advisor.
Another major hurdle is the personal statement. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how enthusiastic you are for teaching if it doesn’t come across in your writing, so be sure to ask for tips and tricks on this too. Your university offers a range of fantastic resources to support both your career choices so take advantage and make it work for you.
Schools in your area? Particular ones that you would love to work with? Most schools will never turn a free pair of helping hands down so express your passion and enthusiasm for working and you may land yourself a voluntary classroom job. This way you can shadow/observe those who you work with and learn from their styles, helping you to grow and develop your own.
Before approaching any school, your CV and cover letter must be up to scratch as it will tell the school all they need to know about your skills, motivation and experience. Your cover letter should be personalised specifically to every school you are interested in
Signing up to one, two, or many agencies is a great way of working in a number of schools before full-time applications, with the added bonus of getting paid. Don't get disheartened if in the first couple of weeks you don't get much notice - the agency and their schools don't know you yet and there will be more established supply teachers in your area who are their first port of call. However, once you start getting a day's work here and there, you build a reputation and (assuming you do a good job!) are likely to be invited back as schools like consistency, which is a great way of getting your name out if a full time role arises!
The work is also completely casual so can be centered around your studies, win/win.
Be creative in your search for opportunities.
Ask around, speak to friends, family, and friends of friends. Are they in schools? Do they know teachers? The more people you know, the more chance you've got of being mentioned when any sort of job in your field arises. Leave a good lasting impression and you're already one step ahead of the game!
What is going on in the area?
Are there after school clubs, tutoring positions, or even Summer camps with vacancies? Any sort of leadership role alongside children will work greatly in your favour when applying for a teaching role, so use your imagination and immerse yourself in a range of different roles. The more diverse the experience the better.
Are you a students looking to gain more experience in a classroom? Contact the Staffroom team at 02920 496646