February 2022

Musings of a career changer: How to get into teaching.


Musings of a career changer:  How to get into teaching.

Have you ever wondered whether you are in the right career?  Had a deep rooted sense that you were destined to do something more?  If the answer to these questions is yes, then let me tell you about my journey to becoming an English teacher.

The moment I realised that I had to make a change hit me when my mum was terminally ill.  During one of our many chats around this time, I was forced to really evaluate what I wanted out of my life – was I truly satisfied, I mean truly, deeply satisfied on a level far deeper than monetary reward?  The answer for me, was no.

I had built a successful career within corporate marketing spanning almost a decade, I was comfortably hitting my mid-thirties, with a young child just starting Primary School, and I had a comfortable life.  They say when something traumatic happens in life you have a choice, you can choose to create a positive, a silver lining, and grow from it, or you can trundle onwards.  I chose to make a positive change.

When I was younger, I simply didn’t have the confidence to follow my heart into teaching, the mere thought of standing in front of a room full of people and performing just wasn’t for me.  But now I am approaching becoming a teacher in later life, and the shear buzz that I have after each and every lesson reminds me on a daily basis, that this really is my calling.

Teaching in later life means that you have something invaluable, something that is as priceless as a rare jewel, and that something is life experience.  With this tool in your belt, you will be able to relate to the students on a far deeper level, you can empathise, and most importantly you can understand what it is to be ‘human first’.

After all, education is the key to unlocking so many doors to new and exciting opportunities, not only for yourself, but for all of the students that you will be fortunate enough to teach and help to achieve goals that some never thought possible.  You will positively impact the lives of children who just need a teacher exactly like you.  To understand them, to give them a chance, to make learning exciting.  Ultimately to provide children with an education, is to provide hope.

So, with this new found drive for change deeply installed within me, I took steps to become a teacher.

Now, happily there are many routes into teaching within the UK, which meant that the first thing I needed to do was research local training providers and book myself on to an open evening to ask a million and one questions.

Having perused Google for many hours, days and nights, I discovered the Basingstoke Alliance School Centred Initial Teacher Training programme, and signed up straight away for their virtual open evening.

Any anxieties melted away in an instant, as I was warmly welcomed and drawn to the leaders whose positivity and passion shone through despite being on a virtual zoom!

They answered all of my questions, and had guest speakers who were former trainees to give their advice and experience of the course.  I knew that this was the provider for me, and my next step was to get some in-school experience.

How does one go about getting school experience in the midst of a Global Pandemic?  The simple answer, keep asking, keep pushing, keep trying.

I sent emails out to each local Secondary school and highlighted my transferable skills and enthusiasm for re-training.  Eventually, I was invited in to a large Secondary school within Basingstoke and interviewed for the position of unqualified teacher of English.  Once they had offered me the position, it was mutually agreed that I would complete QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) in order to maintain my role within the school.

Knowing already, that I wanted to be a part of the BASCITT, I knew that I would need to apply for the course in September 2020, in readiness to begin training in September 2021.  During which time I also discovered that I was expecting our second daughter!  Always one to rise to the challenge, we welcomed our baby girl into the World in October 2020, and I participated in my BASCITT interview virtually (thank you Pandemic!) in the December of that same year.

Making those first steps need not be anything to fear.  If you have a degree in a relevant subject, you can select your preferred course provider, and submit your application online, uploading your GCSE, A Level and Degree information into the candidate area.  Following this you will then be invited to interview.

I am delighted to report that I gained my place with BASCITT, and began my official teacher training in September 2021, with a six year-old and a one year-old in tow, and I have been so supported by the wonderful team there.

Is it hard work?  Yes.  Do you have challenging days?  Yes, but is it worth it?  One thousand percent, yes.

You will learn so much and grow in ways you never knew were possible.  The course is in-depth and rooted in cognitive science, making it effective.  Learning whilst in school, enables you to put into practice all of the techniques, cognitive science and behavioural management skills live, reflecting each day on what works best for you and your students, with the support of a qualified teacher as your mentor.

You will have amazing opportunities with the unique added benefit that BASCITT is led by Dove House School Academy Trust, a special educational needs school.  This enables all trainees to gain vital experience within SEN and access knowledge and information from phenomenal specialist teachers.

Truly, there is nothing quite like the buzz of teaching, and the small every day wins of a student grasping some new information, or turning their attitude around and enjoying a subject.  The feeling that you have truly made a positive impact in the lives of those you teach is something so rewarding that words cannot fully articulate.

So, if this inspires you to be bold, be brave and take the next step towards a truly rewarding career in Education, take a look at Get Into Teaching 2022, and get involved.

One final thought from me, just remember this, your name could be spoken in fifty years’ time by those students whose lives you have positively impacted, how amazing is that?


Julia West

English Trainee

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