How to become a teacher

Does the teaching profession have a future, or will teachers perhaps be replaced by computers at some point?? We believe that the profession of teacher is and will remain one of the most important professions of tomorrow and explain how to become a teacher, even if you have not studied for a teaching degree.


What does a teacher do?

Teachers at schools teach children and young people the contents of the curriculum, are contact persons for children and parents and organize the daily school routine as well as excursions and much more. For many children, teachers are also role models, mediators, confidants and crisis managers. The range of tasks performed by teachers is therefore not only very diverse and varied, but also very important for the personal, social and academic development of children and young people. Assuming that a child spends between five and eight hours a day at school, one becomes even more aware of the responsibility that teachers hold. So a lot of the job requires pedagogical and educational skills.

Example of an everyday life of a teacher: Mrs. Muller is at 7.30 o’clock at school, so that she can copy teaching material before school starts. Between 8.00 and 10.00 she teaches the subjects German and History. This is followed by a lesson in an unfamiliar class, in which they have to act as a substitute. Normally, Ms. Muller would use the time to correct tests. After the substitution lesson follows the supervision of the break in the big break. Until shortly after 2 p.m., subject-specific lessons in German and history are again the order of the day. In the afternoon, Ms. Muller supervises the school’s theater club and organizes the school trip to a musical performance. In the evening, tests are corrected at home and parent meetings are held on the phone.

A good teacher needs, in addition to professional and pedagogical competence, the ability to organize and, above all, the joy of working with children and young people.

How to become a teacher?

There are many ways to become a teacher these days. Especially for career changers and vocational school teachers* practical professional knowledge from business, crafts or research are important.

Become a teacher by studying

The most chosen way to become a teacher in a school is to study in higher education. At many universities, the teacher training program is divided into elementary school, lower and upper secondary school, vocational school and special education. All teacher training programs lead first to a bachelor’s degree and then to a master’s degree, after which students can complete a teacher training program at a school. Once you have finally completed your traineeship, you are a teacher of. Teachers. The standard training period is z.B. in Hamburg 6 semesters in the Bachelor + 4 semesters in the Master + 18 months in the traineeship.

Since each federal state offers a slightly different teacher training program, it is important to find out about admission requirements, subject combination options and practical experience before applying for the program. Pages that provide information about courses of study, application deadlines, etc. are available here. inform are z.B.:

How to become a teacher

Image: Yan Krukov / Pexels

With a lateral entry into the teaching profession

Some people may realize their calling a bit later in life and want to switch to teaching after some time in business or research. The so-called lateral entry is an official designation for a path to the teaching profession under very specific conditions. Here, too, different regulations apply for many federal states.

The prerequisite for a lateral entry in most federal states is a master’s degree in a deficiency subject such as z.B. mathematics or physics. In addition, it must be possible to derive a second teaching subject from the studies. A corresponding work experience is also a prerequisite.

There is a shortage of teachers in the so-called shortage subjects, so that a separate educational pathway has been introduced with lateral entry. In some states such as. z.B. Hamburg, you can apply directly for the preparatory service after completing your master’s degree, gaining professional experience and having already gained teaching experience from teaching assignments or. the teacher traineeship and attends additional pedagogical courses during this time. In Hamburg, lateral entry as a teacher is currently possible at general education schools and vocational schools. the gymnasiale upper stage possible. However, this always changes according to need.

In NRW z.B. there are the so-called side-entry programs, which offer even more opportunities to become a teacher on the second path.

More information on the topics of lateral entry or side entry can be found on the websites of the respective school ministries of the federal states.

In addition to the typical lateral entry, there is also always the possibility of taking up another course of study. Perhaps you already have a bachelor’s degree in a potential teaching subject such as history, German or physical education. You could get credit for this study toward the new teaching degree and then focus on a second subject and educational sciences.

become a teacher at a vocational school

Becoming a teacher at a vocational school can be an alternative for many people to take up their dream job as a teacher. Accompanying instruction for all dual-track apprenticeship occupations takes place at vocational schools. These are training courses that are divided into practical and theoretical phases. But vocational schools don’t just teach apprentices – most vocational schools also offer the Abitur (up to 13. classes) or. A vocational baccalaureate (up to grade 12). classes) to. Teachers at vocational schools therefore teach a very wide range of students, which makes for a lot of variety.

The usual way to become a teacher at a vocational school includes a completed apprenticeship and a study with a master’s degree at the university – so similar to the "normal" teacher training program. But even here there are many different exceptions, lateral entry or. lateral entry opportunities or even direct entry. The relevant regulations and requirements vary from state to state.

In Hamburg, for example, there is the possibility of direct entry without a traineeship for z.B. the specialties orthopedic mechanics or ophthalmic optics, since there are no corresponding study subjects. In addition, at least five years of professional experience is required and there must be a particularly urgent need at the schools. For more information on the regulations in Hamburg click here.

Becoming a teacher: Job with a future

As already mentioned above, teachers are not only there for teaching; they support children and young people in case of problems with other students or parents. In addition to the content of the subjects taught, they impart values such as empathy, friendship or diligence. In addition, they can motivate, have an open ear and make learning fun. The fact that this occupation is thus in the foreseeable future replaceable or abdingbar, is for most people out of the question. Children and young people will continue to learn at school in the future – and this is best done with motivated and well-trained teachers.

Furthermore, the Corona pandemic has shown the importance of the school and teachers being. And not only for the children who depend on personal contact and social exchange. But also for parents school and teachers are important, because they take over a large part of the care of the children. If children and young people can’t be taught, many parents can’t go to work.

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