Is teaching the right job for me?
A vast – and diverse – range of people choose to become teachers, and they do so for a variety of reasons. However, there are some qualities that it is useful to have in order to be successful in the profession.
As a person
Most importantly, you should enjoy working with children and learning how they think. Teaching is about interaction and connection: you’ll need be able to empathise easily, and to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
You’ll need to be organised, and to be able to prioritise effectively. Whether at primary or at secondary level, you’ll be working in a team, so will need to be dedicated and reliable.
Teaching can be challenging, so you’ll need to be driven, and determined to do the best for your pupils. Similarly, you’ll need to be able to reflect on your own practice, and to pursue professional-development opportunities where you think they will benefit you or your school.
As a teacher
Teaching is about improving the lives – and life chances – of young people. You should have a strong belief in the power of education to drive social change. The thing that will get you out of bed every morning – even when it’s raining and you have a double period with Year 9 first thing – is a real passion for creating opportunity in young people’s lives.
You’ll be interested in pedagogy, and will have the potential to shine in the classroom. You’ll understand the role and responsibilities of a teacher, and have a sense of how classroom management might fit into that.
As a subject or phase specialist
You’ll probably think that your subject or phase is by far the most interesting there is...
You’re likely to be brimming with knowledge about your subject – or relevant experience, to give your teaching breadth and depth.
But knowledge itself is not enough. While an understanding of your subject may come naturally to you, you will need to be able to explain it clearly for those to whom it doesn’t. This may require an analytical way of thinking, or you may be someone who can seize the initiative where it will complement your teaching.
Your subject or phase knowledge will also be underpinned by high standards of English and mathematics. During your training year, we’ll need to check that your ability in these subjects is at the right level.