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Head of ITE Rachael Hare on What You Need To Start An Amazing Career In Teaching

"A huge enthusiasm to share my subject, English Literature, was what first led me to the classroom, but the joy of teaching is what has kept me there."

There are no two days (or minutes!) the same in teaching, and the intellectual stimulation, ongoing connection with subject and the difference you can feel you are making to young people’s lives is what makes teaching the best profession there is.

I joined Harris in 2012, at Harris Academy Greenwich during its transition from Eltham Green School and have also worked at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace and in Harris Westminster. Now, as Head of Initial Teacher Education, I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work across the whole family of schools, supporting Primary and Secondary trainees in all our academies.

I’m incredibly proud of the unique initial teacher education programme my team and I have established at Harris; it combines the very best of employment-based practice, pedagogical and subject training, academic debate and critical reflection. Ours is an elite, oversubscribed teacher education route - the quality of those who apply is really quite humbling.

The most fulfilling aspect of my role is seeing our incredible trainees develop through the programme and see first-hand the difference they are making. At a recent mentor training session, I was struck by how many of our former trainees are now successful middle leaders and mentors themselves, running departments or subject/age phase strands. It is really energising to go into a school and see these layers of high quality provision and enthusiasm produced by our programme.

I would urge anyone wanting to become a teacher to come and spend some time in a range of classrooms and familiarise themselves with the curriculum and feel of a school they are applying to. Don’t base your UCAS personal statement on your own school years; we’re looking for someone who can reflect on teaching and has recent school experience.

Taking Skills Tests and completing School Experience prior to interview can really speed the process along, but ultimately, choosing a teacher training course is a big decision and the most important thing is to research well and make sure you are embarking on the right route for you. In terms of being successful on our courses, experience tells us that those who love their subject, care about learning themselves and who are confident professionals do best.

If your application is successful, you’ll join a team of exceptional beginner teachers honing your craft amongst a talented staff and in a culture of achievement for all. Our teacher training team are all qualified teachers who love the classroom and we’d love to hear from you if you’re keen to make a difference in London schools.

What are the top three qualities you look for in a teacher?

  1. The ability to reflect and adapt
  2. A passion for their own subject and learning in general
  3. High expectations of inclusion and outcomes for all