Best Way to Develop a Successful Teaching Career

There are four key stages to a teacher’s professional development:

  • Initial teacher training – PGCE/GTP/BEd. etc.
  • The induction process – the first/NQT year of teaching.
  • Early professional development (EPD) – the second and third years of teaching.
  • Continuing professional development (CPD) – beyond three years of teaching.
Successful Teaching Career 1 Best Way to Develop a Successful Teaching Career

After the initial stresses of training, induction and your early teaching years, the job does start to get a lot easier and less stressful. You may find that you ‘recycle’ lesson plans, your marking and planning sessions may become more straightforward, and you have learned to balance your home and working life much better. With everything going so well, it can be easy to slip into complacency.

Remember: good teachers recognize that in order to progress, they must also be prepared to expand their learning. There will always be new challenges and opportunities open to you, and it is important you don’t let them slip by.

Some positions will be available to you as you gain more teaching expe­rience, such as becoming the Head or Assistant Head of a department, faculty, year or key stage. You will need to prove to your management that you have the relevant skills and experience for the role, but your prospects will be greatly improved the longer you have stayed in teach­ing.

You may consider applying for an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) post. ASTs are exceptional teachers who spend at least 80 per cent of the time in the classroom, while devoting the other 20 per cent to other schools, such as working for community outreach programmes. AST posts are usually created by your Headteacher and funded through the Local Education Authority.

Be aware: before you apply for or accept any promotion, be sure it is what you want. Sometimes the increase in salary or ‘status’ can seem tempting, but ensure you know what the additional responsibilities will be. The further you move up the career ladder, the less time you will spend actually teaching and being with the students.

More money + more responsibility = more paperwork.

Assessing your career progression, at any point in your career, is a good way of making sure you are getting the most out of your job. Although there is no harm in getting comfortable, particularly if you have found a role that you are happy in, don’t blinker yourself to other possibili­ties that may be open to you.

Teaching career progression checklist – Are you getting the best out of your job?

  •    Have you been given suitable opportunities to expand your skills and training?
  •    Have INSET and professional development days been useful and worthwhile in terms of improving your teaching skills?
Successful Teaching Career 2 Best Way to Develop a Successful Teaching Career
  •  Has your career progressed within the last five years, or are you still in the same role you were originally hired to do?
  •    Does your school/Local Education Authority take Continuous Professional Development for teachers seriously?
  •    Are you encouraged to expand your skills and experience, and do you feel valued in your job?
  •    Are you encouraged to build a career portfolio of your skills and achievements?
  •    Are you given the opportunity to discuss your career progres­sion plans with senior management, and do they support and encourage you?

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