Liz George, director of a London-based teacher training institution, explains why teaching might appeal to working mums.
Offering excellent employment prospects, financial security and highly rewarding work, teaching is becoming a more popular profession for mums with degrees looking to go back to work.
It is a demanding yet extremely satisfying career. If you enjoy working with children and young people, have a passion to help them reach their potential in life and you would like to contribute to society, becoming a qualified teacher could be the ideal profession for you.
Alongside your degree (minimum 2:2 or higher), you also need GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent) at grade C or above; GCSE Science (or equivalent) at grade C or above if you are applying to teach Primary and you need to pass the Professional Skills tests in numeracy and literacy.
Once employed, newly qualified teachers earn a minimum of £21.8K (£27.3K for inner London) with the government planning to introduce £70K salaries for top performing teachers. There are plenty of opportunities to progress teaching careers either within the classroom or in a leadership role – teachers are twice as likely to be in a management position as graduates in other careers after 3.5 years on the job.
There are essentially two paths to becoming a teacher, both of which take a minimum of one year to complete. You can study for a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) either at a university or a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), where you get more opportunity to apply your theory and skills in the classroom. Or you can retrain as a teacher via School Direct, the new, one year, school-led route into teaching. Providing entirely ‘on-the-job’ training, the programme allows you to gain the qualifications and skills required to becoming a teacher whilst working in a school. You can also be paid a salary under the School Direct scheme whereby you are employed by a school as an unqualified teacher. To apply for this, you need to have a minimum of 3 years’ work experience.
Before you apply, it’s a good idea to get some classroom experience to ensure this is the right career choice for you. Contact several schools in your area to find out where you can volunteer as there may be a waiting list. You’ll be able to find out which age group and which subjects you’d like to teach as well as meet other teachers. Plus you may discover long-forgotten skills or interests such as playing an instrument, doing drama or playing hockey, all of which will increase your employability.
As a SCITT, we focus on school-centred teacher training so you get to work and learn alongside inspiring and passionate teachers with outstanding teaching skills. All SCITTS operate a network of schools for their trainees to work in. We partner with over 70 schools across London and so by studying with us, you’ll get to experience the pleasures and challenges of working in culturally diverse communities. We provide high standards of teaching in a friendly, collaborative environment with excellent pastoral care and a uniquely personalised approach. Our graduate employment rate has been 100% over the past four years.
A teacher’s regular day is 8am – 5pm, usually fairly frantic and many often take work home one or two nights a week. That said, every day brings at least one moment to cherish. You do get longer holidays than most professions, though some work is usually required within these. Part time options, including job shares, are very popular and most schools employ a large number of staff on that basis.
*Liz George is an educational professional with a career spanning over 35 years. Her roles have included Primary Advisory Teacher, lecturing on teaching training at Goldsmiths, consulting for Channel 4's educational TV shows and working on various activities for the Centre of Literacy in Primary Education. Liz is now Course Director for ldbsSCITT, a dedicated, school-centred teacher training institution located in the heart of London with 100% graduate employment rate.