Training to teach part-time

now teachAt Now Teach, we believe that the option for flexibility is essential in attracting and retaining the best talent in teaching. For that reason, this month we are sharing stories, advice and resources on securing and talking about flexible working with schools. Follow #flexiblefebruary on twitter to find out more.

Training to teach part-time - Clare Marcer, Cohort 2020

Before training as a teacher, I worked for an agricultural chemical manufacturer. Since starting a family 8 years ago, I worked part-time as an analytical chemist in the quality control department and as the sites environmental monitor testing, measuring and recording potential pollutants and wastes. This demanding role was fulfilling but, in my spare time, I was working with The Scouts as an assistant leader, fostering my interest in working with children and teaching.

A couple of years ago, I considered teaching and as a scientist I knew that there was a need for my skills. Working with The Scouts showed me that I could work with children and young people.  However, I started to feel unwell and tired and was diagnosed with ME in 2018/9. At that point, I believed that teacher training would be a full on, full-time year and that it would be an impossible reach for me. I was lucky to have been able to keep working in my job - balancing my work part-time, homelife and health enough to enjoy my life.

However in September of 2019 my employer hosted the regional final of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s schools competition. Whilst helping, I chatted to the teachers and it really cemented my interest in teaching. Exploring further, I discovered that it was now possible to train part-time as a teacher and I was accepted by Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT on a two-year Science/Chemistry Initial Teacher Training programme.

It was while I was applying for ITT places that I met Now Teach at an open event in the City Centre library after a family member noticed the advert in a newspaper. Talking to Lucy at the event really encouraged and cemented my plan to getting into teaching, giving me the confidence to pursue my interest. Once accepted into the Now Teach fold, they provided invaluable tips, skills, courses and a friendly ear when things are tough!

With my ill health and family commitments, training part-time is the only way that I could complete the training. It has allowed me to both be there for my family and look after my well-being. My SCITT, in conjunction with my placement school, have been very flexible with my working days.

For my first year of training I am in school two days a week working as a trainee, but I then have three days out of school. And whilst some of those days are taken up with subject knowledge or core training, I am able to get the majority of my training commitments complete while my children are at school and can rest when I need it.

In my first year, I will complete most of the key training and assignments. The plan for my second year is to be in school three days a week with minimal core training needed.  Part-time needs are different for everyone but the ability to train part-time has allowed me to achieve something I didn’t think I could. I can give my all to my students when I am in school but still balance my life outside of schools and my children are happy.

Being a perfectionist, part-time also gives me time to understand, comprehend and really engage with the theoretical aspect of the training. It allows me to balance being a mother, wife, friend and being a teacher and student.

You do need to have a strong relationship with your mentor and your course tutor to manage expectations and workload, and be very organised to keep up to date with where everything is at school.  I have also found that like many professional jobs, my part-time hours are not the only days that I speak to school as planning is often dependent on what other teachers have taught in the interim. But that has allowed me to build strong connections with teachers and other colleagues and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Part-time needs are different for everyone but the ability to train part-time has allowed me to achieve something I didn’t think I could. I am able to give my all to my students when I am in school but still have the life I need outside of school and my children are happy.”

Click Now Teach to learn more about part time teacher training at Now Teach 

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