What it’s like to be… A Trainee Teacher


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Well look what I have here! I have still a couple of surveys left! As before, these are careers surveys that I have asked my friends to complete.

This is one very special to me, because my friend here gave me a lot of advice when I was considering going down this route. There’s a lot of funding and great opportunities for people to become teachers in the UK right now.

So, let’s get on with the questions and find out what it takes to be a trainee teacher!


What is your job title?

I’m a Trainee Teacher doing a Schools Direct Teacher Training programme for one year

What does that actually involve? What do you spend most of your workday doing?

Currently it involves teaching 4 hours a week over 4 days, and one day out for training. The amount I teach will increase rapidly after Christmas to roughly 8 hours a week, and after Easter I will be teaching 80% of the lessons. I get to school for 7.45 so that I can prepare resources for my lessons, and I usually leave at 4pm. I plan or work on assignments most evenings and at the weekends. By next September, assuming I pass, I will have my own class.

Did you always want to do this as a job? If not, why did you come to do it?

I actually never wanted to be a teacher because I knew all about the workload and it put me off. I applied unsuccessfully to study to become an educational psychology or a speech therapist but after a number of attempts I conceded that I would need to look for other career paths, so I considered teaching. At the time I was working as a teaching assistant in a primary school so it just seemed the most natural progression for my career.

How did you get to do your job? For example, did you train? Do internships? Did you take exams? What did you have to study at school/uni to do your job?

You can do either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree to become a teacher. The course I’m doing is more practical/ school based than some other routes into teaching, and it is salaried, so it was the best option for me.

If you wanted to, where could you move to from this job? What could you progress to?

Subject leader within a school, head teacher, deputy head, Special needs Coordinator (SENCO), a Government role in Education policy/ research.

Being honest, what’s the worst part of your job? What’s the best?

Worst- the amount of paperwork involved in teaching is unfortunately growing and it has resulted in a disillusionment amongst teachers who love teaching but not the bureaucracy. Teachers are sometimes expected to be miracle workers with children, it is a lot of responsibility to shoulder. Some people assume we work 9-3 and do nothing else- wrong! Perks- working with amazing children and staff everyday, no day is the same, helping others to learn, the holidays!

How is the work/life balance? Do you often have to do overtime?

All the time! I bring home work every night, on top of having to complete Uni assignments. Work/ life balance is certainly tipped one way at the moment but you have to give yourself a break every now and then.

How would you describe the kind of people who are in the same field as you? Are they a good bunch to work alongside?

Most teachers have very similar personalities, however we all bring something unique to the job. Some teachers who have been doing the job for years can get stuck in their ways and won’t accept new ideas, but on the whole we are a good bunch! It’s great to see more men joining the profession too.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate the salary and benefits that come from your job? (1 being the worst and 10 being amazing)

Salary is not great but the holidays are a big perk! 6

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Training to be a teacher is tough; all of your lessons are observed so get ready for lots of constructive criticism from the start! Be resilient and confident in yourself. Make sure this is something you want to do- get some experience in a school, even voluntary. Teaching is more than just a job and it doesn’t necessarily get easier the longer you do it. Having said that, I look forward to having my own class of children. They are the best sort of people to work with, I genuinely laugh and smile with them, more than I ever did when I worked in an office.

If you have any questions for my trainee teacher friend, let me know in the comments!!


  1. Being a teacher is indeed tough! I don’t appreciate teachers until I have a school-age child myself. The amount of work teachers bring home daily is immense. Thank you for being a teacher, great advice & insight scoop — and thanks Charlotte for bringing this!
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