Tuesday 26 March 2019

Considering your career options? Here’s why you should think about teaching

How would you like to make a real difference to people’s lives and pursue a career with growing employment opportunities?

With Irish schools struggling to fill teaching vacancies, the government has launched a new recruitment drive to find the next generation of teachers. The ‘Teaching Transforms’ campaign combines practical advice on how to qualify with the first-hand accounts of those working in classrooms across Ireland.

“Working as an English teacher, I get to see students growing in confidence and becoming more creative,” says Gintare Gontyte, a teacher from Galway. “That’s a great feeling to have.”

Gintare is now teaching in Dublin and she is one of several young people who have become the face of a new ad campaign.

“The ad campaign shows how having a great teacher has a lasting influence on your life, to encourage people to consider teaching as a career,” Gintare explains. “And it was certainly true for me.

“My own English teacher was an inspiration – so calm and kind to everyone but so knowledgeable and creative with it. She instilled so much knowledge and passion in us.

“She made me see that I had a talent for English. I had always thought about being a teacher but it was when I was in her class that I knew I could do it.”

The Teaching Transforms campaign aims to help address the shortage of teachers in specific subjects and the increasing need for more qualified graduates. Qualified candidates are in huge demand and job opportunities in the sector are steadily growing.

Prospects are so good that 93pc of education graduates are working or about to start a job.

Around 6,000 new teaching posts have been created since 2016 and a further 1,000 posts will need to be filled in 2019, according to the Department of Education and Skills.

The campaign’s focus is on final year undergraduates and people considering applying for Professional Master of Education (PME) programmes. The application deadlines for those PME courses are just around the corner, with most due by mid to late February.

Final year students in college who studied at least one subject on the post-primary schools curriculum to degree level are being encouraged to sign up. If you already have a degree in one of these subjects, the next step is a PME to qualify as a teacher.

“I really enjoyed studying to be teacher,” says Gintare.

“It was challenging at the beginning - finding your teaching style was different for everyone. But it’s no surprise that teachers in the placement schools generously share their resources and knowledge and have an open door to allow us to observe.

“I’d definitely recommend it. Check out what is involved - talk to graduates who are teaching now and use the Teaching Transforms site.”

The Teaching Transforms site was set up to provide information for anyone thinking of becoming a teacher or for any qualified teachers who want to teach in Ireland, including Irish teachers working abroad.

There is information on everything from how to pursue a career in teaching, post graduate options, and registering with the Teaching Council, including if you are returning after working or studying abroad

It is full of useful information like recruitment requirements, salary scales and school holidays. It’s all designed to help people understand and respect the fantastic work that’s being done by Ireland’s teachers, and to encourage the next generation to take up the baton.

The campaign includes promotional videos of young people reflecting on the positive influence that a teacher had on them. They capture the real and lasting difference that a teacher can make.

Leaving Cert students can also get a better understanding of what a teaching career involves and what they need to become a teacher, allowing them to tailor their CAO choices accordingly.

The campaign is also asking Irish teachers working abroad to answer the call for qualified people. It’s an ideal time to return home, find a position that’s right for you and to continue your teaching career on these shores.

With 6,000 new teaching posts created since 2016, and more than 1,000 posts to be filled in 2019, there’s never been a better time to help shape Ireland's future.

For more information, visit the “Teaching Transforms” website.

Sponsored by: Department of Education and Skills

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