The pathways in the diagram above are not set in stone: they are there to provide examples of the kinds of routes you might take. Be aware that job roles may have different names in alternative schools, for example – a deputy head in one school might be an assistant principal in another – although responsibilities will certainly be similar.
Generally speaking, starting out as a newly qualified teacher entails little responsibility other than teaching your students – although that’s definitely enough for a fresh teacher just starting out! However, once you’ve found your feet and are interested in gaining more responsibility, you may have opportunities to seek these out as early as your second year of teaching.
Talk to other teachers about their areas of responsibility – there may be opportunities to shadow certain roles or tasks, with the option to assist in certain areas or even take over a role intermittently. Teachers may be offered responsibility for specific areas of the curriculum or school structure, either as a stepping stone towards another role, or in a role unique to your school. This could be a permanent TLR (Teaching and Learning Responsibility) or rewarded with an honorarium or some extra PPA time, as appropriate.
Should you be particularly passionate about your chosen area of teaching, you could aim to progress to Head of Department. You’ll still get time in the classroom, but you’ll get the benefit of additional responsibilities such as becoming the leading authority on your subject in your school and could include further roles such training new teachers. You could speak to existing Heads of Department to find out the progression they followed and what sort of areas you need to improve upon or gain experience in.
Alternatively, if you are a new teacher that wants to focus on the welfare of your students through education, a Pastoral Role such as mentor or guidance councillor would be the ideal accompaniment to your classroom position. Not only fulfilling, Pastoral Roles are necessary roles in modern schools to ensure students receive sufficient help, support and advice.
Additional areas of opportunity for teachers can include:
- Curriculum enrichment – eg school trips, ‘experience days’ etc.
- Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Public Speaking Competitions or similar
- Student voice - interviewing students about their views of the school and their own experience
- A specific aspect of Teaching and Learning – an RQT could carry out some action research into a Teaching and Learning method, or the use of a particular resource, and report on their findings at a staff meeting.
Aspirational teachers who wish to take on further responsibility and work towards becoming a middle leader, should take into consideration some of the following areas in which you will need to grow confidence:
- Understanding and using data
- Lesson observation: what to look for, how to offer constructive criticism feedback and how to follow up
- People skills: how to manage and support other staff
Whether your interests are focused or varied, there are plenty of Continuing Professional Development opportunities both within your school and in the surrounding local area. Further information on the CPD on offer in Cambridgeshire can be found here: https://www.teachincambs.org.uk/cpd/