On Saturday 5 October its World Teachers’ Day, and with this year’s theme of ‘Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession’ we thought we’d ask Dr Liz Chamberlain, Senior Lecturer in Education at The Open University to give her expertise as an ex-Assistant Headteacher to those venturing into the profession.
Find your passion about teaching
Ask yourself why you want to be a teacher. Were you inspired by a teacher when you were younger? Do you want to make a difference? Do you like spending time with children or young people? Write down the five reasons you want to pursue a career in teaching. What would your list look like if you wanted to be a social or youth worker? Understanding that being a teacher is about teaching and learning is the first item that should be on your list.
Appreciate the reality of being a teacher. Contact a local school and volunteer your services to get an insider view on a day in the life of a school. Schools are busy places with lots of volunteers, think about what you can offer that’s a bit different. For example, maybe you like reading and could pass that passion on. Do you have a sports or musical skill you can share? Are you great at something that might inspire children? Have you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, cycled a long distance, danced on a stage, set up an apiary, saved wildlife. Children love stories, how good are you at telling them?
If visiting a school is difficult, find out more about teaching through online courses, such as The World of the Primary School, which can be studied for free on the OU’s online education resource, OpenLearn. Watch this video about the celebration of learning in different countries – could you be the teacher of one of these classes?
Find a copy of Learning and Teaching Around the World in your local or online library. Be inspired by the range of experiences, practices and developments in primary education from around the globe. Also try reading the Becoming a Teacher guide produced by the OU for prospective students.
Insider tips from the frontline
Once you’ve made that step into teaching, here are some fun, insider tips from current teachers, including OU alumni, Joanne Poston.
- Try and make time for yourself and keep your weekends as free as possible
- Have a trusted colleague you can go to for advice and support
- Ask for help if you need it – don’t struggle alone
- Be organised and fully prepared for every lesson, but be flexible and ready for change
- Keep a snack box to hand for an emergency energy boost
- Don’t drink too much during lessons, you never know when your next toilet break might be!
Find out more
About studying Education, Childhood and Youth courses at the OU