Many Now Teachers tell us that spending time in schools helped them decide that teaching was right for them and made their interviews a real success.

We always recommend aspiring Now Teachers organise a school experience visit or, if this is not possible, explore our School Insight Library

school experience visit

Many of our candidates haven’t been in a school for a long time, so spending at least one day in a secondary school is key to ensuring that you understand what it’s like to work as a teacher.

Now Teachers say this is the single most important step you can take in changing career to teaching.

We also suggest you visit more than one school because they can be very different; this experience will make sure you are aware of this diversity and make your application stronger.



Contact local schools

Schools are busy places but many teachers are willing to share their experiences with you. If you have links locally, ask a nearby school if you can arrange a visit.

You can also find schools in your area using the Schools Web Directory.

Get Into Teaching

The Department for Education’s Get Into Teaching service provides a school experience service. You register for free and they pair you with local schools.



There are a number of things that Now Teachers say helped them during their in school experience:

• Observing at least one entire lesson in your chosen subject area

Speaking to a newly qualified or trainee teacher

Talking to students in different year groups

Touring the school

Meeting staff working in your areas of particular interest, such as your subject, special needs or careers advice

Reading the school’s Ofsted report before you visit

Attend the morning staff briefing, if possible

Due to the uncertain situation with COVID-19, visiting a school is not always possible, so we want to give you some further resources to understand what teaching is really like.


We’ve selected a library of articles, videos, reports, and podcasts to give you an idea of what it’s like to work in school and be a trainee teacher.

We have focused on what our Now Teachers say mattered most to them.

What are schools like?

You may not have spent much time in a school since you were a teenager, so getting an idea of what state secondary schools are like is really important.

This is a really helpful and concise introduction to the English school system from academies to qualifications by the education world’s weekly newspaper, TES.

Insightful view into the ups and downs of a day in a science classroom full of teenagers.

Now Teachers describe their busy day around the school as career-change trainees

Now Teachers were full of praise for this. The full series is not available right now but clips from each episode give a good introduction.

Very different from ‘School’ in tone, while still giving a full picture of school life and working with teenagers across England.

How are lessons delivered?

These videos show what your lessons could look like. There are a variety of teaching styles and these lessons are more ‘teacher-led from the front’ instead of students working together, but you will find out more about your school’s teaching culture at interview.

Students at Key Stage 3 are aged between 11 and 14; Key Stage 4 students are aged between 14 and 16.

English lesson: 

History lesson: 

Online Lessons

Teachers across the UK have been working hard to produce online lessons for young people at home during the lockdown. These are obviously very different from classrooms but will give you an idea of lesson structure and content.

An online school created in response to the lockdown, the lessons are based on videos and quizzes for most subjects and age groups. They have also produced videos for trainee teachers where experienced teachers explain how they planned and delivered online lessons.

The BBC is providing daily lessons for children aged 5 to 15 in a range of subjects and will include some famous faces in coming weeks.

If you want to get an in-depth view of your subject’s curriculum and what you will teach, Seneca Learning includes resources for curriculum and student revision.

What is teacher training like?

There are different types of teacher training but Now Teach trainees have many shared experiences as career-changers. These are some of their stories.

Radio 4 series about Now Teach co-founder Lucy Kellaway’s first year. It’s honest and a great listen.

Short film by the Financial Times about a Now Teach trainee’s first year and her decision to leave her job.

Near the end of their first year, Now Teachers share their thoughts.

How does behaviour management work?

Once they are in school, Now Teachers say student misbehaviour is not the huge challenge they feared it would be. Schools treat behaviour as a priority and your training equips to calm and manage classes. These links explain some of the tools you will be given as you train.

From the Government’s school behaviour expert, this gives a great introduction and then delves into detail. We recommend pages 12-17 and 22-29.

Short article explaining some of the simple things teachers do to make sure students have the right environment for learning.

A teacher gives his personal reflections on how he learned to calm students down before the lesson even starts.

Education: the bigger picture

Our podcast about education, career change and why they both matter.

We put this document together to help convey some of the key things you should know before you join.

A selection of Ted Talks from teachers around the world

A key report in explaining the link between poverty and educational achievement

Report explaining the gap in achievement between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers

The 2019 Education Lecture from UCL Institute of Education.

Outlines how teachers do more than just teaching to help students learn

A primer on how to stay on top of education issues and why it matters

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