How to get teaching work experience


How do you find work experience as a teacher and get other relevant experience to help with your career in teaching?

Getting work experience can help get you into teacher education courses, as well as prepare you for study and give you the foundations you need for a successful career as a teacher. As teaching is a practical skill, work experience is an important part of becoming a teacher. No teacher education book can make up for a lack of face-to-face contact with young people. A solid history of work experience can also be the difference in landing the right teaching job once your studies are over.

"There are lots of opportunities for career progression in teaching and to keep challenging yourself. It’s the kind of job that if you want to keep learning then you can. Every day is different when you are working with young people."Zoe Halliday – Geography Teacher at Douglas Ewart High School

Other relevant experience

It is also important to remember that relevant work experience doesn’t just mean experience in a classroom. All experience you have with children and young people can be relevant to the role you are looking to study towards. This experience could be mentoring young people, coaching sports, tutoring, working at after school clubs or other youth clubs. All of these activities offer valuable experience to help you gain the skills you’ll need for the classroom.

How to get teaching work experience

Recently it might have been harder than usual securing work experience. And it can be quite competitive, so you may need to be quite tenacious and organised in your search. The earlier you start looking the better, the better the quality and breadth of your work experience history the better for your teacher education application.

"When I did decide to change careers, I was surprised at how many skills were transferable, for example being able to present to big groups of people is the same regardless of the audience."Barry Wright – Principal Teacher of English at Vale of Leven Academy
Don’t be afraid to contact schools directly. Ask if you can observe in the classroom. Look out for vacancies for learning mentors, teaching assistants. Local charities or local organisations may run schemes for mentors to go into schools and work with learners face-to-face.

See if you have any friends or family that can help. Use your own network to see if they have contacts at local schools or Early Learning and Childcare settings. You may have younger family or friends that would benefit from your tutoring services.

You could also contact your old school as they may be able to offer help or let you know of any opportunities. Alternatively, try more informal routes to gain experience. If you have any passions or hobbies that would be good to teach young people you could offer to do them in after school environments, or at local community centres.

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