English literature teaching job

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Peter Jones teaches English literature and language to GCSE and A level students at a School in Bradford. He also runs the English department of 14 full-time teachers.

What's a typical day as an English Teacher?

School starts at 8.45 a.m. and I try to get in about an hour earlier. I take my form group for 20 minutes and the rest of the morning is usually spent teaching. We have five periods in the morning, an hour's break for lunch and one double period before school ends at 2.45pm.

I might stay for an hour or so to catch up on administration or, perhaps, call a parent who wants to speak to me. There could be meetings too. At home, I probably spend about two hours doing marking and preparation.

What's involved in teaching a class?

Take a poem, for instance. I would start by talking about the poet and the key themes. Then we would read the poem and I'd ask the students to think about it and give me their first impressions. We may look at it more closely and then the class would split into groups, each taking a different part of the poem. We would come back as a class to discuss feedback from each of the groups.

Sometimes, the students might be doing a written assignment in the class. I would be walking around the classroom, advising and guiding students individually – encouraging them and suggesting ideas.

Do you have any other tasks?

I sometimes have to talk to students about their behaviour and a student might want to talk to me about something that's bothering them. I've also been involved in school plays and in running football and cricket teams. There might be trips to the theatre or to see a film.

What is involved as head of department?

I manage the teachers in the department. I have to plan what the whole department will be teaching during the year and check that we have enough staff, books and other resources.

What do you like about your English literature teaching job?

The variety. You can plan your lessons, but you never know what will happen. You're really performing all day – and the students instinctively know if you're not up to it!

Peter's route to his English literature teaching job

  • Degree in English literature.
  • One year PGCE (post graduate certificate in education) teacher training course.
  • Taught in secondary schools.
  • Part-time study for a Masters in linguistics.
  • Took on more responsibilities, before becoming head of English.

Peter's English teaching tips

  • The job may be hard work and stressful, but it's never boring.
  • Despite the occasional frustrations, it's a worthwhile career and you will feel you are making a difference.

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Salary of an English literature teacher

  • As a newly qualified teacher (NQT), you can expect to start on a scale that ranges from £18,105 to £26,460 (£21,522 to £30,000 in Inner London).
  • In Scotland, you would starton at least £18,000 and be on a scale that reaches £28,707 working as a classroom teacher in a state school.

English literature teaching job

  • Teachers in schools need to achieve Qualified Teacher Status. This means they usually have a first degree that includes a teaching qualification or a first degree followed by a one-year, full-time teacher training (PGCE) course.
  • Entry requirements are at least two A levels and three GCSE (A-C) grades in other subjects. At least one A level should be in a subject that the applicant wishes to teach.
  • In parts of the UK there are other routes into teaching, including employmentbased routes. For instance, the Graduate Teacher programme offers an individual programme of training over a year at a school, which also pays a salary. The Registered Teacher programme is similar but is aimed at those who have completed two years of higher education and you will usually be expected to complete your degree.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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