How to Decide

Anyone wanting to teach in state-maintained schools across England and Wales must achieve qualified teacher status.  This means completing a programme of initial teacher training (ITT).

There are many different types of ITT courses, and the one you take will be specific to the age group and/or the subject that you want to teach. All involve a mix of learning the principles of teaching and gaining valuable practical experience in schools. In school you will start by observing teachers and then move on to practise giving lessons yourself, preparing you for your first job as a newly qualified teacher. 

People become trainee teachers at different stages of their lives, and there are various routes as to how you complete your ITT.   It can be completed as part of a degree, straight after a degree, as a part-time course alongside work or as a full-time course after years of working in other fields.

Plan your route into teacher training by downloading a routes map here  Enjoy your journey!

How to gain classroom observation

Try approaching schools in your local area. They should be happy to arrange for you to spend a day or more observing one of their classes or shadowing one of their teachers. If you have more time to spare, then you could speak to a local school about becoming a regular volunteer – perhaps as a classroom assistant.
If you are undecided between Primary or Secondary teaching, gain classroom experience in both phases, this will help you make that important decision.
Remember, it is not just about the number of days you spend in the classroom as such, but how good you are at reflecting on the experience on your application form. To use your experience effectively when completing your personal statement or at interview, it is a good idea to make reference to the following points:
  • In what way you enjoyed working with children
  • How you would communicate with other teachers and parents
  • How you would engage your students in your specialist subject knowledge
  • How you enjoyed responding to daily and sometimes unpredictable challenges
  • How you would motivate and engage others
Other ways of experiencing working with children
If you'd like to understand what it's like to work with children, you're by no means limited to observing what goes on in a school. You could also volunteer to work in a youth club or as a Scout or Guide leader. This will give you just the kind of appreciation and experience to make your teacher training application stand out from the crowd.

North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Education  South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education South West Wales Centre for Teacher Education