Teachers are very important to society because they are responsible for educating the next
generation to be thoughtful, active and responsible citizens. Teachers may work in primary or secondary fields
and are responsible for planning, implementing and reviewing educational programs. A teacher in secondary
school specializes by subject, for example Mathematics, Science or English. Teachers in the primary education
field may specialize in early childhood education or middle schooling.
A Typical Working Day
A teacher arrives at school early and plans and prepares for the school day. Teachers
usually plan units of work that last for 6 to 8 weeks and refine this process on a daily and weekly basis.
Teachers must cater for many different learning styles and ability levels to ensure that they are effectively
encouraging active learning.
Teachers spend the day talking with students, lecturing, asking questions and demonstrating
ideas and concepts. Teachers need to be extremely energetic and good at relating content so that it makes sense
to children or teenagers. Increasingly, teachers must use technology to foster the learning process and enhance
student’s ability to engage with ideas and information.
Teachers monitor the playground, attend staff meetings, meet with parents and work
collaboratively with management, guidance officers and other stakeholders in education.
Teachers organize sporting and cultural activities and excursions. They assess and evaluate
student work – marking forms a large part of a teacher’s duties. Teachers have a legal duty of care for the
children who they supervise and must ensure that they approach learning in a politically correct and unbiased
Teachers require a university degree and secondary teachers need a specialism in the area
that they wish to teach. In the United Kingdom there are many teaching positions available. Teaching shortages
often occur in particular areas around the country. For this reason, teachers who are willing to teach in any
location and in any school have excellent job prospects. Many teachers currently working are expected to reach
retirement age over the next 5 years, so it is expected that there will be many vacancies available in this
Teachers who excel at their jobs are often offered the opportunity to become Head of
Department, Deputy or Head Teacher. The government sponsors programs to promote teaching excellence and keep
good teachers in the classroom.
Skills and Abilities
Teachers need to enjoy working with children. They should be extremely organized and possess
very strong interpersonal skills. Teachers work in a team-based environment and must be able to work
collaboratively. The educational system is hierarchical in structure and there is a strong culture of following
rules and regulations and conforming to the expectations of senior management. Teachers need to have very good
communication skills – a sense of humour is very useful.
Training and Education
Teachers need to have a university degree majoring in the specialism that they wish to teach
and they also need to undertake a PGCE – Post Graduate Certificate in Education.
All teachers must pass a probationary year, where they learn and work under the supervision
of a more experienced teacher. Once teachers pass this period they are able to gain Qualified Teacher
Teachers must pass very strict police checks to ensure that they are suitable to work with
children. Teachers must be registered with the General Teacher Council and maintain professional standards in
order to remain certified.
Is Teaching Right For Me?
Teaching is a very demanding and rewarding career. A genuine love of education and an
ability to connect with children are essential.