How to Become a Teacher
If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, there are a couple of things you’ll need to know:
What age group/s do you want to teach?
What subjects do you want to teach?
Before you go any further, stop and think about what age group you want to teach. Do you want to be dealing with sticky toddlers or hormonal teenagers?
Age groups are clustered into phases as follows:
Foundation Phase (5 to 9 years old): Grades R – 3
Intermediate Phase (10 to 12 years old): Grades 4 – 6
Senior Phase (13 to 15 years old): Grades 7 – 9
Further Education and Training (FET) Phase (16 to 18 years old): Grades 10 – 12
Studying + Subjects
Next, you’ll need to think about what you actually want to teach. Mathematics, English, Afrikaans, Physics, Chemistry…the choice is yours.
Whatever subjects you ultimately decide on, now you need to think about what you’re going to have to study. There are two ways to study to become a teacher:
a 4-year Bachelor of Education (BEd) or
a 3-to-4-year Bachelor degree, followed by 1-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
Both of these routes allow you to be registered as a qualified teacher.
If you’ve opted for the 2nd route, you’ll need to construct your degree accordingly. In order to study towards the PGCE, you will need to take certain courses during your undergraduate degree:
In order to teach Foundation Phase, you will need to have passed Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy in Matric and have your Bachelor’s degree.
In order to teach Intermediate Phase, you will need to have passed Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy in Matric and have your Bachelor’s degree in 2 of the following:
mathematics and statistics;
environmental and geographical science;
historical studies and archaeology;
information systems/computer science;
human movement studies
If you want to teach high school level subjects you will need to have studied 2 teaching subjects during your degree, with a minimum of 2 years of study in each.
That can all be a bit confusing, but hopefully you’ve made sense of it.
Once you have your degree, you will need to register with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Legally, teachers must be registered with SACE before they can be employed as educators.
Here are a couple of links to university websites to help you get started in becoming a teacher:
- University of Cape Town – PGCE
- Unisa – PGCE
- Stellenbosch University – PGCE
- University of KwaZulu Natal – PGCE
- University of Johannesburg – PGCE
- Unisa – BEd
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology – BEd
- University of the Western Cape – BEd
The Department of Basic Education is eager to help students acquire a teaching qualification. The biggest government funding tool for teachers is 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 Funza Lushaka Teaching Bursary