Secondary school teacher - Modern foreign languages

MFL teacher
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would inspire and motivate young people to learn other languages so they can make connections and communicate with people from other countries and cultures.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

As a Modern and Foreign Languages teacher you’d teach your pupils how to develop their skills in talking, listening, reading and writing in a foreign language such as French, Spanish, German or Italian. You might teach more than one language.

Learning a foreign language will help young people explore other cultures and get a better understanding of their role as global citizens.

You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Modern Languages and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • Prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • Assess students’ progress and mark their work
  • Set homework
  • Manage classroom behaviour
  • Discuss students' progress with parents and carers
  • Organise study trips, social activities and sports events.

You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Working conditions

Hours

Teaching takes place for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. You are likely to spend several more hours outside of these times, planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent evenings and training.

Environment

Secondary school teachers often have a base classroom. However, from time to time they may have to carry books and equipment from room to room. This is subject to the space available in each school.

Travel

You could do supply teaching where you work in different schools for short periods to cover the absences of permanent teachers.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Working as part of a team
  • Using other languages
  • Helping people to learn
  • Working on your own
  • Being creative
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You'll need an honours degree in one or two of the following languages: 

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Mandarin
  • Russian
  • Spanish

To become a qualified teacher, you'll need to complete the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Modern Languages (SCQF Level 11).

Your degree should contain 80 credit points in the language you want to teach. If you want to teach more than one language you'll need 80 credit points for your second language choice. 

You'll need to have lived for six months in a country where your first language choice is spoken. This time is reduced to three months for your second language choice.

Native speakers who have a degree in their own language can train to teach their native tongue.

If you have a degree with three years of study in a language other than your native language, you can train to teach this language plus your native language. 

To enter a language degree usually requires National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers at BBBB, including the language you want to learn.  

Useful subjects

Courses require Higher English and National 5 Maths and the modern language you wish to teach.

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the ability to work with children or young people, communication skills and experience using languages will be helpful.

You will be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as well as your own subject.