How to gain experience for Initial Teacher Training by @MissTeacher_91

Tips on gaining experience before entering the teaching profession

So you know you want to be a teacher but don’t have any experience?

This was my main difficulty before I could submit my application. Many universities state that you need experience before you apply but I didn’t know where to begin.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by @MissTeacher_91 and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Here are some helpful suggestions to get you started, based on my personal experiences.

  • University Careers Advisers

If you’re a student at university, speak to your careers advisers. Universities often have partnerships with local schools and can help to find you a placement for short or long term, dependent on your requirements. Universities also have widening participation schemes with local community groups, such as mentoring or homework clubs, these can be great for learning how to interact and build relationships with children and young people in an informal setting.

  • School Experience Programme

The School Experience Programme is run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and offers classroom experience for those wanting to teach Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design Technology or Modern Languages.

  • Work Experience

You can arrange your own work experience by contacting local schools directly, this is something I did and would be ideal for those of you who are working full-time or have other commitments.

With the aid of Google, I researched local schools in my city and the headteachers. I then wrote personalised letters to various headteachers asking for work experience and in exchange I volunteered to offer my skills to the school. I got lots of offers from the personalised letters and was able to organise several work experience placements. Your work experience could be for one day, a few hours once a week or one week. It’s about what ever is going to fit into your lifestyle.

Initially I did email head of departments asking for work experience but most didn’t reply and when I did get a response it was to say that they couldn’t help. From my experience I wouldn’t recommend using email, but it may work well for others.

  • Volunteering

Contact your local volunteer centre to find out about any opportunities to work with children or young people in your area. Your experience does not necessarily have to be limited to within the classroom and can include helping out at kids clubs.

  • Research

Research is key. Even if you’re not applying for teacher training right now it’s worth looking on ucas to see what entry requirements are being asked for. Some courses state experience must be within a state maintained school within the last two years for a minimum period of time, while others are more flexible and will accept experience from any setting so long as it’s with the relevant primary or secondary age group.

Researching thoroughly now will help you organise experience that’s suited to the courses you’ll be applying for.

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