Find out whether teaching is right for you, and learn about the diverse routes into the profession.
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There is no archetypal chemistry teacher – recent graduates and career changers may become excellent teachers, sharing a passion for their subject, and a desire to inspire the next generation of scientists.
There are many reasons to become a teacher, for example:
- the chance to make a real difference to children and young people
- to use your passion for your subject to inspire young people
- a challenging but rewarding career
- opportunities for progression into a wide range of management roles, such as managing a year group, subject or key stage.
In addition to teaching a range of age groups and abilities, a career in teaching will involve providing pastoral care, trying new innovative techniques to further improve progress, planning lessons, and marking students’ work and assessments. Find out why now is a great time to get into teaching.
Is teaching right for me?
The best way to decide whether teaching is for you is to gain experience in a school. Observing lessons will help you gain an awareness of teaching and pastoral work, the day-to-day school life of a teacher and give you the opportunity to watch a range of lessons and age groups being taught. It'll also make your teacher training application much stronger providing valuable insight and a great focus point for your application and interviews
Having experience in primary schools – even if you want to teach at secondary level – is also looked on favourably, as it shows a breadth of awareness of teaching and how children develop. In England, you can gain classroom experience by applying for the School Experience Programme.
Alternatively, you can arrange to shadow a teacher you know, or get in touch with schools in your local area. It’s useful to visit more than one school to gain experience in different teaching environments.
Primary or Secondary?
You can train to teach primary or secondary. Primary teaching may be right for you if you have a passion for engaging with younger people and you want to teach the whole curriculum. There are few science graduates teaching in primary schools, so you could make a real difference as a science subject leader to guide the science teaching in a whole school.
Secondary teaching may be right for you if you have specialised in one subject area and want to use that knowledge to teach and inspire young people. You’ll teach a range of classes, of varying ages and abilities. With the lower age groups, you will likely teach Physics and Biology alongside Chemistry.
How can I become a teacher?
There are a number of ways to get into teaching and the courses differ depending on where you train to teach. If you don’t already have a degree, you can undertake a three or four year undergraduate course. If you already have a degree, there are two main postgraduate training routes; unsalaried and salaried. Unsalaried courses can be University based or school based and salaried routes are normally school based.
Please have a look at the following links for detailed information about training to teach in Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and England.
Can I get extra financial support?
You could earn a salary while you train via a postgraduate (salaried) route.
If you choose a postgraduate unsalaried route, you could be eligible for extra financial support. Our Scholarship programme is ran in partnership with the Department for Education to support chemistry trainee teachers in England. It includes a £28,000 tax-free bursary as well as a package of chemistry-specific support, including:
- free classroom materials including books, posters and a lab coat
- mentoring by an expert chemistry teacher
- meetings with other scholars
- free online CPD courses focused on active learning in chemistry
- Royal Society of Chemistry membership for 2 years
- Opportunities to engage with the RSC beyond the scholarship year
Bursaries of up to £26,000 are also available from the government as an alternative to scholarships for those studying in England (they are not available as an additional payment).
If you have a disability and normally live in England, you may be entitled to Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) for physical or mental impairments, long-term or mental health conditions, or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
There is also funding support available across Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland
Career management team
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