A career in teaching is perfect for those who want to inspire the younger generation. You’ll find it fun, challenging, interesting and rewarding – not to mention the perks of the school holidays.
The QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) Skills Test examines your skills across a range of different areas, rather than your ability to teach a specific subject. It is used to assess and ultimately hire new teachers.
If you pass the QTS, you can start teaching straight away.
What is a teaching aptitude test?
The teaching aptitude tests look at your numerical and literacy competency, as well as more general skills such as your leadership, empathy and adaptability.
Preparing for the aptitude tests is really important if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of passing first time.
The literacy section will look at your spelling and grammar skills, as well as your overall comprehension ability.
You can take the aptitude tests up to three times, but only your first attempt is free.
Why are tests used when hiring teachers?
Whether you end up teaching maths, geography or something else entirely, it’s important that you have a solid foundation of numeracy and literacy skills to help you be the best teacher possible for your students.
The academic aptitude of those you teach may vary considerably, so ensuring you have those core skills in place to educate and inspire all of your students is key.
As well as an aptitude for numbers, grammar, spelling and comprehension, you’ll also need to show you can work well under pressure, and possess certain strengths that are highly valued in the teaching industry, such as empathy, compassion and patience.
The tests have standardised the hiring process and helped governing bodies to assess thousands of prospective teachers in a fair and consistent way.
What key skills are required to be a teacher?
It’s not just an aptitude for maths and writing you’ll need if you want to become a good teacher.
When you deal with children of varying ages, academic levels and backgrounds, it’s critical to possess a number of skills beyond the academic world to help you navigate the various challenges and situations that may arise day-to-day. These include:
Explaining what you mean and ensuring everyone you teach understands you is one of the most important parts of being a teacher, which means strong communication skills are a necessity.
You may need to come at things from a different angle to ensure your message is getting through to those you’re teaching, so having a natural flair for communication will come in useful if you’re thinking of a career in education.
As well as an understanding of the subject(s) you’re teaching, you’ll also need to comprehend and respond to the various questions and demands you may receive from those you teach.
That doesn’t mean you need to be a genius in every subject, but it does mean you need to have an interest in the world around you and the education system as a whole.
Ability to deal with conflict
Whether it’s a conflict between children, or children struggling with being asked to do certain things by you or even another teacher, patience and an ability to calmly resolve conflict is an invaluable skill for all teachers.
Good literacy and numeracy skills
All good teachers have a solid education themselves, and even if not teaching maths and English directly, have a confident grasp over basic principles such as spelling, grammar, addition and subtraction.
The children or adults you teach will learn from everything you do, which is why it’s important you can showcase these fundamental skills.
Adaptability is a useful skill for most jobs, but especially in the unpredictable world of education.
Whether it’s changing tack in a lesson to bring a subject to life, adapting a plan to teach your class an important lesson, or reacting to everyday challenges such as arguments and sickness, adaptability is one of the most important skills a teacher can possess.
Empathy is essential for teachers who want to get the most out of their students.
It may be empathy for a situation a student is going through at home, a tacit understanding of how they’re being treated by their peers or patience if they’re struggling with keeping up with the class — in all of these scenarios, empathy is crucial.
Teachers are leaders. And without strong leadership skills, it’s likely you’ll have difficulty keeping your class engaged and motivated.
Strong leaders don’t have to shout and scaremonger to be understood. Instead, they command the attention of the classroom and demand a quiet respect that means students look up to them and listen to what they have to say.