ITT providers are frequently asked the question ‘What makes a good teacher training application?’
While the passion and enthusiasm will need to come from you, here are eight simple tips to make sure you can sidestep some potentially tricky areas:
1. Know your stuff!
It really is worth doing your research thoroughly.
You wouldn’t apply for a job without investigating what makes a particular employer unique – the same applies for your ITT application!
Make sure you understand your chosen provider- whether this is a University, a SCITT or another route into teaching.
Ensure you understand what is unique and distinctive about their programme – are they a local provider, catering to a small and diverse community?
Or are you particularly attracted by a focus on the Early Years for example?
Careful research helps both you and your provider to make the right choice.
2. Talk about why you want to teach
ITT providers receive lots of applications.
When sifting through these, they are looking to see your passion and commitment shine through – facts are important of course, but we also need to know about the primary school teacher who changed your perspective on reading, or that moment during work experience when you knew you wanted to become a Mathematics teacher!
3. Experience is useful – use it!
ITT providers will be looking for applicants who have some experience with young people, even if not in the classroom.
Experience can range from being a teaching assistant in your local school to running a children’s dance club to teaching English in China.
However – nothing can match the experience of being in a classroom like being in a classroom!
If you can, aim to get some classroom experience.
This not only allows you to strengthen your application, but gives you the opportunity to decide if being around a class of lively 5 years olds all day long is the right choice for you!
It is certainly worth approaching your local schools to ask if they will allow you some observation experience.
If you’ve got the relevant experience, it is crucial that you show it off – give concrete examples of what you have learned and the new skills you have begun to develop.
This is such an important point one. Positivity is crucial – particularly at interview.
For example – if you’re changing career, don’t say that you’re tired of your current job or you think teaching will be easier (I have been told this countless times during the application process by candidates!).
Instead, be positive about what you’ve learned through your life experiences so far, and turn them around to show why now is the right time for you to become a teacher.
5. Are you eligible?
Really important – do make sure you’re eligible.
You don’t want to waste your time applying to a programme for which you don’t have the qualifications.
Entrance criteria can be found on UCAS.
You will need to ensure you have all of your certificates ready to show your provider – it is definitely worth checking you have all of these before you begin the process!
Consider whom you select as your referee.
Requesting a reference from your part-time bar job from 10 years ago will not only prove difficult for you (your manager may have left or have only a vague idea of the details of your performance) but it won’t give the ITT provider an up to date idea of your quality as a potential trainee.
If you’re a graduate, make sure one referee is a relevant university contact, such as your tutor, and for career changers, use a manager from your current or most recent job.
7. Be current
Ask any teacher – education is a fast-paced and ever-changing world!
Gain some understanding and insight into the wider picture of education in our current climate by subscribing to magazines such as the TES (Times Educational Supplement).
Understand your subject area and some of the key issues within it: for example, if you are applying for a Primary post, what is your understanding of Systematic Synthetic Phonics?
Such currency can prove extremely valuable should you be selected for interview.
8. Spelling and Grammar
Finally, make sure your writing is up to scratch!
There’s nothing worse than an application being let down because of poor spelling, punctuation or grammar.
If you aren’t confident – ask someone to help you.
Your quality of writing will be under scrutiny because you will be teaching these same things to young people, whatever age phase or subject you focus upon.
Don’t fall at the first hurdle!