5 top tips to get you 'teacher' ready

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With initial teacher training providers continuing to recruit for September, we've asked them to share their top tips to get you 'teacher' ready as you prepare for application and interview success. 

Tip 1: Don't worry if you make a few mistakes in your interview

Our first top tip comes from Mark Corominas-Casey, associate head at the University of Portsmouth and their school centred initial teacher training courses. He told us how important it is to relax and just be yourself, especially if you are interviewing for the first time. 

Try to relax and show us your personality and enthusiasm for teaching. If you make a few mistakes on the day it's not the end of the world. As long as you have the skills and attributes we are looking for - you'll do great.

Mark Corominas-Casey, associate head at the University of Portsmouth

It really isn't the end of the world. At the end of the day, we are all human and can make mistakes even when things are going well. Take a moment to pause and start again. Initial teacher training providers are looking at your core strengths and knowledge. 

Tip 2: Get advice from teachers past and present

Before COVID-19, getting classroom experience in a local school was often enough for people to decide whether teaching was for them - you might even be aware of our teacher experience programme. However, restrictions have now been placed on visitors in schools due to social distancing. TKAT SCITT have told us about a useful alternative to work experience:

In normal times, getting school experience is a good way to know if teaching is for you. Now, we recommend speaking with teachers past and present to learn more about it.

Sacha Beresford, head of SCITT at TKAT SCITT

Speaking with teachers past and present will give you valuable insight that might help shape your views of the classroom. TKAT SCITT has reminded us of the importance of experience which you can get from different sources. 

Tip 3: Preparation is key for a successful application 

In all situations, preparation is key as it allows us to take stock of our strengths and weaknesses. For our third top tip, we spoke with Lynn Nicholls at Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance about what she would say to someone completing their application for the first time: 

It might seem like a no-brainer but draft your personal application first. Think about why you want to be a teacher too.

Lynn Nicholls, school direct director at Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance

Lynn highlights the importance of not only preparing but thinking about why you want to be a teacher too. Take a moment to think why you want to be a teacher. Is it about enriching the lives of students through your own experiences? Is it about inspiring a community? Teacher training providers want to know what drives you to become a teacher. 

Tip 4: Don't feel like you need to quote the national curriculum

When preparing to give a 110% in an interview, deciding where to begin can seem like a challenge. Cate Worrall at Portsmouth Primary SCITT revealed what she looks for when interviewing potential candidates. You shouldn't feel like you need to quote every line of the national curriculum but show the team who you really are. 

You do not need to quote the national curriculum at interview. We are looking for the passion and hunger to teach. Just be yourself!

Cate Worrall principal at Portsmouth Primary SCITT

Cate focuses on the fundamentals at interview. While it's worth being aware of the national curriculum, you don't need to quote it cover to cover. Show the interviewer why you want to teach. They will be impressed by your journey towards the profession. Providers want to see who you are - it might sound cheesy but being yourself really helps.

Tip 5: Apply now despite what's happening

COVID-19 has impacted our lives in ways we couldn't imagine previously. Regardless of lockdown, teachers are still needed for September. Gavin Lumsden, director of education and teaching at Essential Teaching UK told us his top tip:

Do not let the current situation put you off from applying. Teachers are still very much needed for September. Keep at it!

Gavin Lumsden, director of education and teaching at Essential Teaching UK

Gavin tells us that despite the current situation there is still time for people to apply. While the future remains uncertain, there is still a need for teachers in Portsmouth.

Your time to teach is now

If you've considered a teaching career but are just getting started, be inspired by stories from other graduates who teach locally. While these 5 top tips are a good starting point, take a look at our providers in Portsmouth as you begin your teaching journey with us. 

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