Returning to teaching

Whatever path your career has taken to date, if you’re considering a return to teaching, now is a very good time.

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What you need to do now

If you’ve been away from teaching for a while and your registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland has lapsed, you will need to re-register. It’s very straightforward; just request an application pack.

You will also be asked to join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme (your local council will need to apply on your behalf) or have your membership updated if you are already a member. In some cases, if you have been living overseas for a period of time, you may have to have an overseas police check.

Some local authorities also insist on a ‘return to teaching’ refresher course. These are currently offered by the University of Edinburgh and by the University of Strathclyde.

Are your skills up to date?

Even if you don’t need to complete a refresher course, it’s worth reading up on curriculum changes. The Curriculum for Excellence information can be obtained from Education Scotland and the syllabus for your secondary subject from the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It’s also possible to ask local schools if you can observe some classes – just contact the headteacher directly.

Chris Aitken - Computing Science Teacher at Wick High School

“The reason I went into teaching instead of a career as a programmer was that I, quite simply, enjoyed playing. Being able to play and experiment with different technologies undoubtedly inspires me and I know this passion and enthusiasm gets passed on to pupils. I enjoy the fact that teaching Computing Science means that my course is constantly changing as the technology sector evolves and science advances.

I try to make sure my courses are relevant to young people, for example just recently one of my classes were making Facebook chat-bots and another were using Raspberry Pis to build and code mobile robots. I therefore find teaching Computing to be incredibly creative, challenging and fun and if you as a teacher bring an enthusiasm and passion to your subject, it 100% rubs off on young people and engages them.

If you are passionate about your subject, choose teaching. You can make a difference to young people’s lives."

Victoria Wall – Maths Teacher at Wallace High School

“I genuinely love being a teacher. Whether it is developing relationships with staff and pupils, acting as a mentor to young people, or simply sharing my love for Maths, I find that there is a great deal of job satisfaction on offer.

The job of a teacher is not without its challenges, although I aim to improve pupil performance and implement my behavioural policies which I feel will benefit my students in the long-term. As a teacher it’s also important to nurture young people within a social capacity so I am always happy to lend my time and help out with various after school activities and events.

My primary aim is to focus on becoming an excellent Maths teacher. One crucial aspect of this is going to be motivating my pupils so that they are more enthusiastic about STEM subjects. I personally feel that this comes back to the important fundamentals of teaching; we need to shake off the ‘boring’ tag and, for teachers, this starts by reinforcing your own passion, otherwise you are going to find it hard proving them wrong."

Ian Power - Computing Teacher at Auchinleck Academy

“I switched from a career as an electrical engineer to become a Computing teacher after being made redundant. I found the job security very attractive and I also knew I would enjoy the social aspect of teaching, the interaction with pupils, and the variety that their personalities bring to my work. Even after 15 years in the role, I’m still happy with my decision. It’s very rewarding to see pupils develop their skills over their time from S1 to S6. Pupils don’t all learn the same way, which keeps lessons varied as you have to adapt your teaching style for every class and pupil. This makes each day different. New technology also means the Computing course has continually changed over the years and this has driven me to develop and learn new skills in my subject as well."

Amanda McCrorie - Design and Technology Teacher at Prestwick Academy

“One of the most important qualities in a teacher is being passionate, both about teaching and your subject. You need to enjoy it in order to create a positive learning environment for your pupils. I want to motivate pupils to achieve their best whilst enjoying their educational experience, therefore I work hard when creating new units of work to make them fun, interesting and relatable to the pupils. I think pupils can see how much I enjoy my job which encourages them to be more enthusiastic about the subject.

"There’s a myth with being a teacher that you’re going to be teaching the same thing every year but this isn’t true. One of the advantages of Design and Technology is that technology is always changing and we’re able to adapt our curriculum to meet that. This also gives you the chance to come up with creative lessons that will inspire pupils."

Angela Barclay - PT Technologies at Monifieth High School

“I love this job: it is different every day and it’s amazing to give young people the opportunity to engage with technology, especially at the current rate of development. With the wealth of courses we offer, I find it very rewarding to see young pupils progressing.

"Across our Technologies faculty we have three workshops and eight IT suites. We work with the latest technology: 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, BBC microbits, and a vast range of software.

"There are challenging times but I love being able to inspire people and make a difference to their lives. There are opportunities to be creative every day. For example, the way I taught a topic last year might not suit this year’s students or I may have been inspired by something another teacher did, or even by something I read in a book or saw in a film, which I adapt and bring to my class."