Studying Vocational School Teaching Abroad

What do car mechanics, florists and medical assistants have in common? They attend vocational school as part of their training. There they acquire theoretical knowledge about their training subject and in general subjects relevant to their profession. Some find it a chore to go back to school, others find the lessons fun. That depends to a large extent on the person standing in front of the blackboard: the vocational school teacher. This can be a lateral entrant who worked for a few years after graduating and is now passing on his knowledge at the vocational school. Most teachers, however, have graduated from vocational schools.

Studies for teaching at vocational schools

The course for teaching at vocational schools trains teachers for

  • Vocational schools
  • Vocational preparation classes
  • vocational high schools
  • Vocational schools
  • Technical schools
  • Technical colleges

Structure of the course

In terms of content, it is usually divided into two parts. The prospective teachers dedicate half of their studies to the professional subject they want to teach later. These can be subjects as diverse as electrical engineering , economics or nursing sciences . The other half of the course comprises a general educational subject such as German , religion or mathematics and educational subjects.

Differences and similarities within Germany

Since the training of teachers is a matter for the federal states, the structure of the study program can differ slightly from one state to another . In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, it is possible to choose two vocational subjects or two general subjects instead of one. In some federal states, studies take place at universities, in others, on the other hand, students study at universities of teacher education, some of which cooperate with universities of applied sciences. The Abschlüsse differ: In some states, the study concludes with the First State Exam, in others, the students complete a bachelor’s and master’s program.

In any case, subject didactic studies and school internships are part of the class. In addition, students have to work for one year in a profession that corresponds to their subject area in order to be admitted to the preparatory service or traineeship. The preparatory service is the last stage of training to become a vocational school teacher.

In addition to the independent teacher training courses, some federal states also offer supplementary courses for individual professional groups that qualify for teaching. In Thuringia, for example, qualified engineers can acquire the pedagogical and technical qualifications that are necessary for the first state examination in four semesters.

Requirements for studying to become a teacher at vocational schools

According to MEDICINELEARNERS, the aspiring vocational school teachers should primarily be able to instill enthusiasm for their subject in the students. Since they will teach students with a wide variety of qualifications and social backgrounds in their later professional life , pedagogical skills, patience and empathy are required in addition to specialist knowledge .

Occupational fields

After they have completed their studies and have been working for at least a year that corresponds to their subject area, most vocational school teachers do preparatory service. The so-called legal clerkship takes 18 to 24 months, depending on the federal state . During this time, the students work at a vocational school or a similar institution. You sit in on colleagues’ lessons and give lessons yourself under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Their technical and didactic skills are tested in regular class visits.

After the preparatory service, they can enter the regular school service as civil servants or employees . In addition to their teaching activities, they can take on other tasks and, for example, advise and train their colleagues as specialist advisors or look after trainee teachers as mentors. It is also possible to work as a counseling teacher.

Professions outside the school system

Those who do not want to go to school as a teacher can, for example, work as a career counselor or work in personnel management in large companies. The knowledge of vocational school teachers is also in demand with publishers that produce training media or school books.

Those who do a doctorate have the opportunity to embark on an academic career and go into university research and teaching. The step abroad is also possible. In particular, teachers with specialist training in engineering are in demand in development cooperation.

Benefits of studying abroad for prospective vocational school teachers

In order to be optimally prepared for teaching, it is advisable to spend one or more semesters abroad. While studying in another country, it is not only prospective foreign language teachers who improve their language skills . Other teaching content provides a new perspective on the respective subjects. In addition, the prospective teachers collect important additional qualifications. Intercultural skills , such as communicating across cultural differences, but also soft skills such as assertiveness and flexibility are ultimately becoming increasingly important in everyday school life.

Studying Vocational School Teaching