How to become a teacher

Do you want to make a difference? If you feel called to the teaching sector there are a few things you need to know.

In order to teach you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Education Degree(Bed). Most universities offer this programme as a four-year, full-time degree.

During the course you will learn about key classroom subjects, teaching methodology and gain valuable teaching experience.

The degree qualifies you to teach at any school in South Africa and entitles you to register with the South African Council for Educators (SACE).

Students who enrol for the BEd will need to choose between Foundation Phase, Senior Primary and Secondary level teaching.

The foundation phase covers Grades R to 3. Also known as early childhood development, this level is ideal for people who have an interest in interacting with toddlers. Like wise the senior primary phase refers to Grades 4 to 7 and the Secondary phase includes Grades 8 to 12. These phases are better suited to indviduals who wish to instruct students at a more senior level.

Once you have received your bachelor degree you will be required to register with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Legally teachers must be registered with SACE before they can be employed as educators.

There are other study options for those who don't qualify for the BEd programme. You can obtain a teaching qualification by doing short, online or distance courses. For example Unisa offers a range of educational programmes such as multi grade teaching methodologies, education management, sports psychology programmes and more.

There are also many funding opportunities. These include self-funding; bursaries from government departments, bursaries from corporate organisations or personal loans.

The Department of Basic Education is eager to help students acquire a teaching qualification. The biggest government funding tool for teachers is the The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme. These full-cost bursaries are available to eligible students. Recipients will be required to teach at a public school for the same number of years they have been funded. For more information go to the Bursaries Portal

According to a media report released earlier this year, South Africa could suffer a major teacher shortage if it does not produce more educators over the coming decade.
'An estimated 30000 new teachers are needed over 12 years, taking the total from around 426000 in 2013 to 456000 in 2025 to meet increased pupil enrolment.' - Timeslive.

This is good news for prospective teachers who are concerned about employment opportunities. Teaching positions are primarily advertised though government departments and websites.

By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing