Teaching: “A first class career with second class perceptions”

Despite a “sharp increase” in the number of people coming in to the teaching profession, teaching is still under-rated by the public, according to the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

Research conducted by the TDA suggests the public rates teaching as one of the worst professions for career progression, yet eight out of ten teachers apparently see opportunities as “some of the best in the UK”.

“With teaching recruiting record numbers of people in 2009 the profession is attracting increasing numbers of top quality graduates and career changers. As a result it is becoming more and more competitive,” said Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the TDA.

“It is no longer just a safe job that is alright for a fall-back. It is a profession with increasing status that is getting harder to get into, year by year, because more of the most talented people in this country are turning to it as their first choice.

“However, there is a danger that outdated and old-fashioned perceptions of teaching could continue to put off some candidates. Teaching offers more opportunities for career progression than any other career and competitive salaries, particularly for those who progress to senior leadership.”

Making a career move in to teaching

Wendy Greaves, Head of Maths at Kaskenmoor School in Oldham, Manchester was made redundant eight years ago by British Aerospace. She believes that her experience in industry has been a real asset to developing her teaching skills and often uses real life situations to demonstrate mathematical principles in the classroom.

“Making the move into teaching was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve progressed to be head of department in just three years and hope to rise further as I become more experienced. It’s not just the practical application of my subject that has helped me from my previous role; it’s also more general workplace skills, like communication and management techniques.”

Perceptions on pay

Perceptions on pay are “wholly out of touch with reality,” says the TDA: over 80 per cent of final year students under-estimate the starting salary of a teacher, some believing it to be under half the actual wage. And over a quarter of students thought the starting salary in inner London would be £19,000 or lower when, in reality, newly qualified teachers can expect to earn £26,000.

What’s more, the TDA points out that, according to Higher Education Statistics Authority, the starting salary for teachers in London is over £6,000 per annum higher than the national average, at £19,677. This tops starting salaries in engineering, architecture and careers in science in the capital. The salary for teachers outside London is almost £1,500 higher than the national average.

• What do you think? Are you one of those who see teaching opportunities as some of the best in the UK? Was making the move into teaching one of the best decisions of your life too? What about pay? Do you know many people coming in to teaching from the private sector? Over to you to post your comments….

One thought on “Teaching: “A first class career with second class perceptions”

  1. I am an english teacher in ahmedabad’gujarat,india.I feel teaching is one of the best and the most ancient profession.I think the best intellectuals should be attracted to this profession.It is good for the society also.Only the best teachers can build a strong,progressive and powerful nation.So i firmly belive that teaching should be accepted not only as a profession butalso as a noble task.

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