2020 and 2021 have been tough on everyone, but not quite like it has for key workers. One particular group of key workers close to my heart are teachers. Why? Well, I’m not just a blogger; I’ve been an English teacher since 2014, the year I first started training to teach.
Teachers have been at the brunt of complaints in the media over the last year, but they have been as dedicated and strong as NHS staff. Teachers have tirelessly worked day and night to ensure young people have the best opportunities during this challenging time, and have still provided face to face support for key workers’ children. Teachers have made home visits, ensured young people have had online access, offered mental health support.
Unfortunately, this post is going to be horribly biased, but I hope at the very least it will leave you with a respect for educators, if not convince you to consider training to teach.
Teaching is a job for life
The first reason is a little selfish. We all want job security, especially in a world and economy where people’s livelihoods are a little uncertain. Teaching is a career choice, a job for life.
It’s worth noting here that to train to teach, you’ll need a degree, but unlike other jobs, you don’t necessarily need a degree in the subject you want to teach. One you pick your specialisation, whether it’s primary education, or a specific subject at secondary level, you’ll end up with a qualification that lasts a lifetime. There’s no need to apply for licences or have booster training courses, no. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
Many people I know have qualified, taught for a few years, changed careers or started businesses, then returned to teaching in later life. After all, it does have a pretty good salary ladder and excellent pension scheme in the UK.
And you can teach anywhere! Once you have your PGCE, you are able to teach in almost any country in the world, whether it is English language in a local school, or your specialism in international schools. Amazing for those with wanderlust.
Help others achieve their dreams
Many of us remember one teacher who supported us in times of need, or convinced us to chase our dreams. By training to teach, you could be that person for someone else.
‘Change a life’ the Get into teaching ad says. It is true – we teachers are fundamental in changing the lives of young people. We enable them to have opportunities that their parents and grandparents might not have had. They also say ‘those who can’t do, teach’ and though I don’t strictly agree, I understand the saying. Teachers might not have followed their own dreams but are able to give young people the education, support, and life advice for them to do it instead.
We’re also there to protect young people. Often it’s teachers who pick up on evidence of abuse, and make the call to save a child’s life. We know that children who experience trauma are less likely to have successful relationships, or hold down jobs in later life, so the support of a teacher might stop, or slow, a child’s route to an unhappy adulthood.
‘Teachers get too much holiday’… ‘You can’t complain with all your holidays’ … ‘Oh, are you on holiday again?’ Just three of the many comments I hear from non-teachers all the time. Yes, it is a fact that teachers get roughly 65 days (13 weeks) holiday each year, more than most any other job in any other industry.
Let’s be realistic – as a teacher, you will likely work overtime during term time, and spend at least some of your holiday catching up on work. You might be planning for next half term, marking assessments or projects, or even running revision sessions in school. I would usually stay late two nights a week, spend Saturday mornings, a minimum of two days within a half term or two week holiday working, and one week of the six week holidays. That brings 65 days down to around 50, and if you add on all the time you work at home out of school hours, brings it down to about 40 days. Of course you might work even more if you have extra responsibilities. Plus, if you don’t have children of your own, you can only take holidays when the kids do, so you have to pay premium prices to travel.
Can you really complain though? Teachers get an entire summer off every year. Why isn’t this a selfish thought? Those teachers with kids get to spend quality time with their children in between terms, and we know that family time is so, so precious.
But really, the reason you should consider training to teach is that you would love it. You’ll smile; you’ll laugh; you might go home and have a little cry sometimes, but you’ll be back the next day and find something new to smile about. And if you qualify but find it’s not for you? You can always take a break and come back in a few years’ time!
Think about it!