What teacher training route did you choose and why?
“Overwhelming”: that’s the first descriptor I use when people ask me about choosing a route into teaching. To illustrate just how many options there are, a UCAS article outlines seventeen different ways to become a teacher in England. That’s a lot.
Of the postgraduate routes, the first one I considered was the “classic” PGCE. The second, newer option was School Direct (spoiler alert: I chose this one). On this route, you’re in school from day one, giving you up to five weeks of time in the classroom, before core PGCE students even know what school they’re going to. Obviously though, this approach isn’t for everyone; it’s pretty daunting turning up to school on your first day with essentially no training, and I can absolutely see the appeal of getting some really solid pedagogy nailed down before you face thirty students as a trainee.
For me though, the SD approach was exactly what I was looking for. Through most of my undergraduate degree, I’d been working up to 20 hours a week alongside my studies. I love working. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly passionate – and enjoy learning – about maths, but being in formal education post-A-level just didn’t butter my toast. In fact, the part of my degree I by far enjoyed the most was the final year project, and I think a big part of that was that it was independent work and it didn’t really feel like the overly structured uni experience I’d gotten tired of – it was a passion project. Luckily for me, my SD provider’s training included PGCE as well as QTS, which might not be the case for all SD courses.
Another significant influencing factor in choosing SD was that you apply directly to the school you want to train in (at least for your first placement). Arguably, there’s a lot to gain experience wise from being assigned a school you might not have chosen yourself. But, when it comes down to it, as a qualified teacher you aren’t going to apply for jobs at schools you don’t want to work in, and I really wanted to train at this school. I actually attended my current host school all the way through from Year 7 to sixth form, and I had a great experience overall. I knew the teaching was top notch, and I’d had some amazing teachers during my time there - teachers I now consider fantastic role models for me as a trainee, and an adult human in general.
By Amie Thackeray