10 reasons to get into teaching

With teaching as a profession in the spotlight as a burnt out profession for the ‘stress epidemic’ that it is currently experiencing, Dr Sarah Charles and Dr Alison Hardman, Senior Education Lecturers at the University of Derby, give us their top 10 reasons to go into teaching.

According to a survey conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) union, two of the most popular reasons for becoming a teacher were down to enjoying working with children and a desire to make a difference. More than half though said they enjoyed the “light bulb moment” that they witnessed when a student realised that they “got” something for the first time. These are just some of the reasons why teaching is a great profession to go into, here are our 10 top reasons for becoming a teacher:

1. Help children and young people to navigate and make sense of our diverse world.

As global citizens, children and young people need to be equipped with essential life skills to ensure that they can face the challenges of 21st century, to be successful in life, work and living. As a teacher you have the ability to impact positively on your community, your country and the wider world.

2. Develop the joy of learning

By weaving the magic of learning into teaching, you have the capacity to develop, in your learners, an appetite for learning and a thirst for knowledge. Teachers seek learning opportunities in everything – not just inside the formal classroom but beyond. Teaching presents an opportunity to try out new and exciting approaches. Education is not about “filling a pail but the lighting of a fire” (William Butler Yeats).

3. Never the same day twice

There is no chance of Groundhog Day. By working with young minds, not machines, the variability in your daily working is vast with each new day bringing its own challenges and rewards. There is never a dull moment in teaching.

4. Transforming lives and supporting social mobility

Quality education opens doors. The quality of teaching has been shown to be one of the most important factors in improving academic success of learners. You have the opportunity to improve the life chances of each and every one of your learners to ensure that they meet their full potential.

5. Team spirit

Within the teaching profession there is a strong sense of commoradory, being in it together. You are part of a professional learning community where there is cross pollination of ideas and the sharing of current and effective practice. At a local level, you will become a valued member of your school community working with a range of local services and parents.

6. A chance to change the future

Teaching is a most rewarding profession. The more you put in, the more you and your learners will get out. As a teacher you have the potential to make a lasting difference. In the words of Henry B. Adams, “A teacher affects eternity.”

7. All civilised societies rely upon knowledge and learning to thrive and survive

The importance of education can never be underestimated. As a teacher you will contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding about the world – past, present and future. “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource” (J.F.Kennedy, 1961)

8. It is a profession which affords security

By training to become a teacher, you are entering a profession, which in comparison to other jobs, provides a high level of security as there will always be a demand for qualified teachers. Once you have gained Qualified Teacher Status, you can also use this qualification to teach in many different countries around the world, opening up a wealth of opportunities and experiences. Many international schools look favourably on candidates whom have qualified within the UK.

9. Career progression

Once you have qualified as a teacher there are career development opportunities to support your long term progression. From being a subject lead to Head teacher, access to continuing professional development and further qualifications, such as the national professional qualifications, will ensure that you do not become stagnant. Such opportunities serve to ensure that you will have a satisfying career

10. Holidays

Although these should not be the primary driver for entry into the teaching profession, the holiday entitlement afforded to teachers far outweighs many other professions. For many entrants into the profession, the holidays provide invaluable time to spend with their families.

Join the conversation

  • amy

    Hi Dr. Charles and Dr. Hardman,

    I found this article after reading your wonderful guest blog entry. I want to thank you for talking about how unsustainable and difficult it has become for teachers. I crave an ordinary life.

    Your work is incredibly important in bringing the issues of teacher burnout and stress to the forefront. My favourite line was, “Which other profession requires such a multiplicity of diverse and demanding roles simultaneously and relentlessly?” I almost cried when I read those words. I drink lots of coffee and take ibuprofen most days after work, mainly to be able to “be there” for my own family. I keep thinking that there is something I am doing wrong. I’m beginning to think that it is actually NOT me, and rather the profession itself. Thank you.

    I also loved the comparison with the Mary Celeste, the ship that has become synonymous with unexplained desertion. Fortunately, you very thoroughly explained that teachers’ desertion is really no mystery.

    I am also grateful that 2 academics (not sure when/if you left the classroom) took the time to speak for teachers. We don’t seem to have much of a voice, which is heart-breaking. My job would be much easier if bosses and professors were completely honest about what I was getting into! Again, thank you.

    The comments section was closed there, so I did some Googling☺☺ and came across another earlier post.

    10 days earlier, you posted 10 good reasons to enter the profession. As a 26-year classroom veteran and current teacher, number 6 scared me:

    The more you put in, the more you and your learners will get out.

    I feel strongly that wording/advice like could be potentially damaging. We already work a 60 + hour week. Taken the wrong way, this might urge some to work even more. Already, most of us struggle with work/life balance. I often have to decide whether to get 6 hours of sleep, take care of my own school age children, or mark 50 notebooks demanded by my head. I feel this kind of comment should be mitigated somehow.

    You have voices and have used them on behalf of teachers. As a 26 year veteran, I would love future topics such as – 10 Specific Actions Heads/Governing Bodies Could Take, or Post-Classroom Careers. The situation is not changing very quickly, though an awareness has begun. I thank you for your role in that.

    Amy E.

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