We’re bound to be a little biased… However, at Prospero Teaching, we think roles in education offer fantastic career opportunities for new graduates.
Gain a wide range of transferrable skills. Feel a strong sense of job satisfaction. Build rewarding professional relationships. This week, we explore why graduate roles in education are such a brilliant first step after university.
This is the first in a three-part series of blogs aimed at graduates. Stay tuned for blogs on the application process, the interview stage and strategies for success when in school.
Whether you are an education graduate with a lifelong passion to teach or a music graduate unsure of your next step, gaining experience in education is a surefire way of gaining impressive new skills.
You could apply to go straight into full post-graduate teacher training. However, if you haven’t quite made your mind up yet on what you’d like to commit to long-term, there are plenty of graduate opportunities in education that enable you to earn and learn before you are qualified.
Graduate opportunities in education include salaried teacher training routes and 1:1 mentors or tutor roles with perhaps the most common first step being graduate teacher assistant roles.
What does a graduate teaching assistant role involve?
At secondary school level, you would most likely be working in the Learning Support / SEND department (Special Educational Needs and Disability) of a secondary school. You would be working closely with the SENCO (special educational needs coordinator) or head(s) or year/subject. These senior members of staff are in charge of overseeing the progress of students and would direct you in supporting small groups of students.
At primary school level, your main responsibilities would be supporting the class teacher and students during lessons. A key part of the role would be building a rapport with groups of students with specific needs and implementing strategies to support, nurture, engage and raise their progress. It is more likely at this level that you would be based within a single class or year group, for example supporting students across two year 6 classes in a two-form entry school.
What skills and experience as a graduate can you offer schools?
The thought of going into a school and working students may feel a little daunting. But do not worry, as a recent graduate you have a lot to offer schools. You will find graduate opportunities in education linked to your degree specialty (especially in maths, science, English and humanities). Your knowledge in these curriculum areas could be used to support 1:1 sessions in your subject specialty.
Your recent experience in taking exams will be beneficial to the role. It’s likely that practicing ‘exam technique’ and tackling exam questions with your group will form part of your sessions. Breaking questions down, revising key info to gain ‘easy marks’ and familiarising students with different question types helps build confidence in students. These skills are necessary for students whether taking their KS2 SATs or their GCSEs.
You may have a high level of empathy for others and have a passion for building rapport with students who have emotional or behavioural difficulties in class.
OK, so there are options out there! But why are graduate opportunities in education so valuable?
Working as a graduate teaching assistant provides lots of excellent benefits and opportunities for professional growth. Below we explore five reasons why a role in education offer fantastic graduate opportunities:
1. High level of job satisfaction
The education sector has been very visible in the media in recent times. We have witnessed how vital schools are to society amidst the pandemic. Missed learning time for students has resulted in a real need for dedicated new staff to support children across the country to bridge the gaps in their learning.
And so, now is an inspiring time to be in education. As a graduate, your knowledge, enthusiasm and empathy could provide that extra push that helps students reach their goals.
It’s a chance to give something back to society, and to lend a hand in one of the areas where it is most needed. When you have been working with a student for a little while and they finally nail that maths problem you’ve been working on or give a really insightful answer in class, it is a fantastic feeling. Knowing that you have had that impact is incredibly satisfying. Is there a more rewarding role out there?
2. Gain a wide range of professional skills
Good schools are highly organised and filled with passionate hardworking professionals. There is so much you can learn working alongside a brilliant teacher. Teaching is a profession that offers a wide range of transferrable skills that are an attractive addition to any CV!
Teaching is all about building your approach to teaching. Your teaching style your pedagogical approach. Working alongside a range of experienced teachers and learning from them is the best way to hone your own pedagogical skills if you have aspirations to teach.
As a graduate teaching assistant, you may find yourself supporting the class teacher by supporting individuals or small groups of students. You will have the opportunity to see how lessons are planned, adapted and delivered. You’ll see how learning progress is measured and pushed forward.
3. Work as part of a team to build relationships
Experienced staff in schools are often very nurturing, supportive people. Therefore, you will find a wealth of support from the team around you. You may even be assigned an in-school ‘mentor’. Use this to your advantage and ask questions. Be curious and proactive in your role and a richer experience will be available to you.
4. Gain experience supporting students with SEND
There are lots of graduate opportunities to support students with a special education need or disability. These could include:
- Speech and Language Needs
- Selective Mutism
The rapport building, problem-solving and communication skills you can gain working with students with SEND are immeasurable. This would be a sensible option for a psychology graduate or someone interested in helping young people reach their full potential.
5. Receive support as you build your skills
As a graduate working with Prospero Teaching, you’ll receive professional support from a number of different places.
Firstly, Prospero offers training, guidance and support from an experienced consultant at Prospero and our Training and Development Team (all experienced teachers).
*currently only our free online courses are available. We will be resuming our full face-to-face training catalogue as soon as possible.
As mentioned, you will be supported by the school within your department by a combination of the head of department, head of year, SENCO, HLTAs, pastoral staff and class teachers.
The school and Prospero teaching endeavour to support your career at every stage, offering a dedicated support team and a wide range of FREE CPD courses to further enrich and progress your career.
Are you a graduate seeking work as a teaching assistant?
Prospero Teaching is actively seeking Graduate Teaching Assistants to support in schools across the UK.
See our graduate roles here.
If you would like to register as a graduate looking for work then complete our registration form here.
For CV writing tips tailored for recent graduates, check out our blog here.