Classics teachers prepare and give lessons in classical languages (Latin) and the culture and literature of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. They may also teach classical studies. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence and prepare pupils, aged 11 to 18, for national exams.
They normally teach another subject as well as classics.
You could be:
- using a variety of teaching techniques such as whole class lessons, discussions, projects and individual research
- using a range of materials including textbooks, worksheets, computers and audio-visual aids
- organising and directing the whole class and helping individual pupils as required
- setting assignments, projects, tests and exams, preparing and carrying out continuous assessment, marking pupils’ work and writing reports
- keeping good order in the classroom and dealing with discipline issues
- doing administrative work including keeping a register of pupils
- preparing for and attending parent-teacher meetings and staff meetings
- sometimes supervising out of hours activities such as visits or social events.
Teachers in Scotland are paid on a national salary scale. The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher is £26,694 (April 2019).
If you do your probationary period on the Teacher Induction Scheme, and are prepared to work anywhere in Scotland during that probationary year, you can also apply for the Preference Waiver Payment. For secondary school teachers, the payment is £8,000 before tax and national insurance.
After your probationary year, your salary will increase to £32,034 and increase an increment each year up to £40,206.
If you teach in a remote school or on certain islands you may get an additional allowance. £2,157 for a distance island and £1,515 or £2,841 for a remote school.
Where a teacher is employed in a remote school on a distant island both the remote schools allowance and the distant islands allowance are paid, in addition to the teacher’s normal salary.
A principal teacher earns between £43,836 and £56,571 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £49,716 to £95,931 a year, depending on the size of school.
Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.
- You would work in a classroom and possibly sometimes take pupils to visit sites of classical interest.
- Your working hours are based on a 35-hour week and are usually 9.00am to 3.30pm or 4.00pm.
- You would probably teach for 22.5 hours a week, so you would have some time for preparation and marking or assessment in school. But you would often have to do more at home, in evenings or at weekends.
- You would have 13 weeks holiday each year, but would probably use some of this time to prepare the next term's work.
- You would have to prepare for and attend parent-teacher meetings, which are usually in the evening.
- You should be aware that teaching is a mentally and physically demanding job.
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You can qualify to teach a classical language (Latin) or classical studies, or both. You must have a degree in classics or a similar subject and a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
Most classics teachers also teach another subject, so ideally your degree choice should allow you to be trained in another teaching subject.
- For entry to a degree course you normally need 4-5 good Highers. Depending on the university and degree choice, you may need a Higher in a classical language. To study classical studies you may not need any previous knowledge of Latin.
- You must also have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths at all universities with the exception of University of Edinburgh.
- Your degree should normally contain 80 Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit points relevant to the subject you wish to teach, and 40 of the credit points must have been studied at SCQF Level 8 (second year undergraduate level) or above.
- To teach Latin you must have at least 80 credit points in the language.
- To teach classical studies alone, you must have 80 credit points from the following subjects: ancient history, classical archaeology, classical civilisation, classical studies.
- To teach Latin plus classical studies, you must have at least 80 credit points in the relevant language plus 40 credit points from the following subjects: ancient history, classical archaeology, classical civilisation, classical studies.
- You should normally also have 80 credit points in another teaching subject, again with 40 points being at SCQF Level 8 or above.
- For entry to a PGDE, you need an approved degree together with Higher English plus Maths at National 5 - some institutions specify at B. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths at all universities with the exception of University of Edinburgh.
- There is not currently a PGDE Classics or Latin available in Scotland.
- You can study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Latin with Classics at Cambridge University and King's College London, and the PGCE in Classics and Classics with History at the University of Sussex.
- There is a lot of competition for places in these courses. It helps if you have experience of working with children or young people.
- Check the university website for details on how to apply.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Newly qualified teachers who want to teach in local council schools must complete a probationary period to demonstrate that they meet the Standard for Full Registration of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). Those who wish to teach in independent schools may also require to be registered.
You are guaranteed a teaching post with a Scottish local authority for a full school year to complete this probationary period.
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- an interest in child development and an understanding of how children learn
- patience and adaptability
- enthusiasm and energy
- a firm and assertive approach when necessary
- good organisational skills
- a sense of humour and a positive outlook.
You need to be able to:
- hold the interest of pupils of all abilities and encourage them
- work on your own and as part of a team
- stay calm under pressure
- get on well with other staff members, parents and carers.
- You will do in-service training (often provided by local councils) throughout your teaching career.
- You might also take part time courses in specialist aspects of education, run by universities.
- You may be promoted to be a principal teacher or head of department.
- You may then become a depute head teacher and then a head teacher.
- You might move into related work such as learning support teaching, further education lecturing, advisory work, education authority administration or schools inspection.
Most teachers work in local authority schools but there are also jobs in independent schools, British schools abroad, such as schools for the children of British armed services and in private tuition.
Job vacancies are normally advertised on local authority websites or look on the myjobscotland website.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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