Interested in training to teach, but would like a bit more classroom experience before embarking on your teacher training programme? Why not apply for our new Graduate Co-Teacher Programme. Spend a year as a Co-Teacher at one of our primary schools in Birmingham, Hastings or London, earn a salary and gain a strong foundation in teaching and building relationships with pupils, before progressing onto the Ark Teacher Training programme.
Stephen, a current Ark Teacher Training trainee was a Co-Teacher before starting the programme. He tells us a bit more about the role and how it’s benefitted him.
I was apprehensive to start teacher training without having much previous experience. I graduated from the University of York in 2013 with a degree in History and knew I was interested in teaching. I’d volunteered as a Teaching Assistant in a few schools for a couple of weeks here and there, but I didn’t feel I knew what being a teacher actually meant. Being a Co-Teacher allowed me to trial a new career. A Co-Teacher is a bit like a Teaching Assistant but with more opportunities to teach and develop your practice.
As a Co-Teacher, I was responsible for teaching a small phonics group every morning in either Reception or Year 1. Aside from that, every day was varied and allowed me to experience many different aspects of school life! Whatever I was doing, I always supported my main class teacher in Maths and Literacy. I would usually teach non-core subjects, such as R.E., music, French and ICT at least one afternoon a week. However, I was only given these responsibilities when I felt comfortable to do so and I usually had support within the classroom. I also had the opportunity to run a number of after-school clubs. I was in charge of Film Club and loved it!
Having been a Co-Teacher for a year, I can see what a valuable insight it gave me into life on the training programme as well as looking forward to next year, as a Newly Qualified Teacher, when I’ll be working with my own Classroom Assistants.
It provided me with a great opportunity to try out lots of things in a safe space. Want to create your first classroom display? Give it a go. Feel like starting a new school club? Why not. I had more time to experiment as a Co-Teacher than I do now I’m on the teacher training programme, because Co-Teachers don’t have the same amount of planning and marking to do. The rest of the staff at my school were great as well, everyone was very supportive and eager to help me develop.
When my year as a Co-Teacher ended and I started the Ark Teacher Training programme at the two-week summer school, I felt so much more confident. I knew I had good experience of observing great lessons and practising my own teaching. I also already knew everyone at my school – from the teachers, to the pupils, to the parents. That meant I wasn’t nervous about September, I was just excited to get started on the programme!
If you’re thinking about teaching, but lack experience, becoming a Co-Teacher provides you with a supportive start to your career in the classroom.