Judging from the number of enquiries on our advice line, careers in teaching have never been so popular. But is it for you? We look at just some of the benefits teaching has to offer….
There are many reasons why teaching is a popular career choice. Here are just some of them.
Making a contribution
Firstly, it isn’t called the noble profession for nothing. Educating future generations – not just passing on knowledge, but also essential life skills – is surely up there with the most socially worthwhile things we can do.
Passing on your enthusiasm
Talking of knowledge, if you’re passionate about a course subject, what better than to spend your working day talking about it? You’ll be infecting younger minds with the same enthusiasm you have. And teachers often say that they never stop learning more about their subject – inquisitive pupils’ questions can see to that!
If you love children….
Then there are the people you work with – the children themselves. Fascinating, surprising, unpredictable, rewarding, challenging – but never boring. It goes without saying that this is a great job if you like being around children. Many people who have brought up their own children realise how much they enjoy helping children develop, and start thinking about a teaching job. And being around children and young people can help keep you young in outlook, as through them you can keep in touch with the trends and ideas of future generations.
A rewarding job
Job satisfaction features high up the list with teaching too. Many teachers describe the sense of personal reward they feel when they try a new approach and a pupil finally grasps something that has confused them for some time. Whilst it can be rewarding to coach gifted children to produce great work, it can be equally satisfying to find a way of connecting with a child that has previously been uncooperative.
Creativity and autonomy
Teaching is also a creative job into which you can bring your own personality and ideas. Yes, there is a national curriculum you need to teach, but you decide on which approach to take. When that door closes and you’re in front of the class, you decide what’s going to happen.
Aside from the job itself, teaching can offer a work/life balance that suits many people. Although there is after-school lesson preparation and marking, (the working day certainly doesn’t finish at 3:30pm….) the working hours can be family-friendly. If you have kids, you’ll be on holiday when they are for summer holidays, Christmas and Easter, plus the half-term weeks. So that’s around a dozen weeks in the year when people in other jobs have to arrange childcare – you don’t. And if you don’t have kids, the long summer holiday could provide a great opportunity for travelling, volunteering – whatever you like doing.
Pay and benefits
A teacher’s starting salary compares well with other graduate professions. Once you have achieved qualified teacher status (QTS), you can expect to start as a newly qualified teacher (NQT) in England and Wales on £21,588 a year (or £27,000 if you work in inner London). You will receive extra money if you take on additional responsibilities, such as special educational needs. Experienced teachers can earn up to £64,000 in London and £56,000 outside London.
You will also have opportunities to increase your salary by moving into management roles such as head of department, deputy head and head teacher. You will also be eligible to join the teachers’ pension scheme.
A stable job
Teaching is also a relatively stable job. Although some school budgets have been affected by local authority spending cuts, the long-term future in teaching is stable. One thing’s for certain, there will always be children to teach.
Is teaching for me?
Of course, the only way you’ll really find out if teaching is for you, is to try it. In fact, to get onto most teaching courses, it is essential that you have shadowed or observed a teacher for a good period of time. You could also volunteer as a teaching assistant. You can arrange this by contacting schools directly.
There are many different routes to getting the ‘Qualified Teacher Status’ you need to get into teaching. You can do an undergraduate degree, a postgraduate course, or even train on the job. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students are eligible for the standard student support package. If you do take the postgraduate route, there are training bursaries for some subjects, and you’ll get more the higher your class of degree.
Find out more
You can find out more about teaching on the Teaching Agency’s Get into Teaching website.