The mad rush of Christmas is over and as we recover from the over-eating and unexpected gifts, thoughts are slipping into our minds about the return to work.
Whether you’re thinking about escaping the office or seeking a completely new direction, there’s no reason why a career change shouldn’t join the fitness and holiday goals in your New Year’s resolutions. And here’s why a step into the classroom should be that career change.
1. Give something back
Teachers can bring this country together. The most disadvantaged and vulnerable children benefit most from good teaching. We need every young person to get a great education so they all have a stake in the future. Everyone can remember a teacher who inspired them or set them up for life (Thanks Mrs Buffery and Mr Peacock!) - why shouldn’t that person be you?
2. You can be creative
You’d be amazed the flexibility you have planning your lessons and ability to bring in your own passions. How do you get a bunch of teenagers through food groups? Let’s have them preparing their favourite recipes and identifying the different parts as they go.
3. Redefine success
What’s a good day right now? Imagine instead the satisfaction when you’ve helped a young person understand that topic they need, or they’ve told you they actually like your subject after weeks of resistance. And you’ll be in floods of (happy) tears on results days when you see the impact you’ve made and they’re heading out into the world.
4. Take on a real challenge
Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint. The days can be long, you have multiple demands on your time, and let’s be honest there’s probably going to be evening and weekend marking. But who wants easy? You’ve got real responsibility to give your pupils the best start in their lives and this will require all your skills and creativity – and that in itself is a great thing. You won’t stagnate in the classroom.
5. Develop yourself
So let’s be honest, teaching doesn’t pay City salaries, but you could earn more than you think. Schools value good teachers, giving you many opportunities to increase your pay and your skill level by taking on extra responsibility and progressing. And the skills are transferable to wherever your career may lead you. What you learn in the classroom will change you forever as well as your students.
6. But also bring over skills you already have
Used to presenting to clients? Presenting to classes will build on this. Managing multiple deadlines? Apply that same tactic to a marking schedule. Your experience and skills in another field are valuable to young people as they think about their futures and plans.
7. You wouldn’t be alone
More and more people are swapping the office for the classroom, and many switchers tell us their skills and experience prepare them well for the very real challenges of teaching. Just under a third of our teachers each year now come in from other careers at all ages – from their late 20s to our first 60-something who started teaching English last September. Plus you and your fellow teachers become united together to get the best for your pupils and the school.
8. You get the best colleagues
Young people will keep you on your toes – but they’ll also be honest, unexpected and often very funny. In what other job could you be asked “who created maths?”, “who keeps the polar bears warm?” and “what would happen if you dug a hole to the centre of the earth and put a shark in it?” – possibly all on the same day.
9. See things very differently
Picture asking your class to explain “Mr White was chilled with fear” in a poetry discussion. Would you expect the interpretation that he must, in fact, be really relaxed? Because when you’re chilled you’re legit laid back… And if a poem is it ‘epic’ does that mean it’s just really good?
Take on an epic challenge in 2018 – apply now for Teach First’s Leadership Development Programme www.teachfirst.org.uk/our-programme