Ask James Caan – 24th May 2011 – Issue 49
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This week the column is focusing on a letter from Shweta, an IT professional who is using a break from her profession to re-evaluate what she really wants by pursuing a job in teaching.
‘I was working in IT (Application Support for an Investment Bank) for a period of 6 years and then moved to US after I got married. In lack of H1 visa I wasn’t able to work and have been on a break for close to 1 year and 4 months now.
‘I moved to UK 2 months back and have been looking for job in IT with no success. I am thinking of changing career and moving to teaching in lack of opportunities (also I did that as a voluntary work in US and enjoyed it) as most of the people in IT look for currently working candidates. Do you have any pointers on how can I go about it?’
Shweta, you’ve seen just how competitive the IT market is at present. It can be disheartening trying to find a job to no avail, but I’m pleased to see you’re considering your options and long term prospects despite the uncertain jobs market.
Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession. The contribution it makes to shaping a person’s future is fantastic, but it does take a certain type of person to make a success of it.
It’s great that you have already undertaken some voluntary teaching. This experience will have given you an idea of what is involved in controlling a classroom and working with young people.
You may now want to think about the level and subject of education you are hoping to teach. The profession offers so many options, from primary education to adult learners. By spending a few afternoons in different learning environments you will be provided with a taster into what age you’d like to teach, and what subject you’d like to specialise in.
A quick look on your LinkedIn profile shows me your IT credentials are very impressive. Have you considered teaching ICT? As this is your specialist subject, you will probably find that your wealth of experience will be fascinating to students. There’s nothing better than a teacher with a passion for their specialism!
Whatever level or subject you decide upon, ask other teachers who have already undergone the journey you wish to pursue for a frank and honest opinion. Turning your hand to teaching can be a big commitment, and you need to make sure you’re fully prepared.
There are a number of ways you could do this – arrange meetings with local universities, read the trade press or perhaps pose questions to online communities on sites such as TES (http://www.tes.co.uk/).
In tandem to this activity, re-visit the TDA website again (http://www.tda.gov.uk/). Also make sure to speak to a representative directly – they’ll be able to advise you on funding and bursaries to support you through your studies, not to mention flexible course options that can fit around your commitments.
I’d also get in contact with your local education authority or careers guidance service to see what courses would suit your experience and requirements.
Remember, once you’re armed with your teaching qualification, you aren’t guaranteed a job. Schools are just like employers, you are required to apply for jobs, attend interviews and retain the same level of pro-activity you would if you were applying for any other type of job.
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