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Why Teach?

Why Teach?With the national teacher’s strike looming large in everyone’s minds this week, teachers have received a lot of press, good and bad.  I’ve heard it said more times than I can count that teaching is a vocation; that it shouldn’t be about the financial rewards so this whole pension debacle is irrelevant – but thousands of teachers will be voting with their feet to prove that is not the case on June 30th.


So why do we teach?  What motivated you to join the profession?


Here are some of the reasons my personal learning network have given for why they became teachers…


Didn’t know what else to do

Some people just seem to fall into teaching.  One minute you’re behind the desk, the next you’re in front of it.  If you’re not sure what else you want to do with your life, then teaching as a profession is one that you’ll already be rather familiar with having gone through the education system yourself, so it can be relatively easy to fall into without ever making a particularly proactive choice.


Always wanted to be a teacher

Some people enjoy the luxury of working out a path for themselves early on – often these people will decide to be doctors, vets or teachers.  Teaching is a profession hugely respected by children as many of their role models are their teachers.  Many teachers will tell you that it simply never occurred to them to do something else.  This was a job they always imagined themselves doing.


Love sharing knowledge

All of us have to play at being a teacher occasionally – it’s a part of the human condition that we’re programmed to work together and help each other.  Some of us hate those teaching moments and find it hard to convey ideas, whilst others relish every moment and simply love to share their knowledge and passion.  For these people, teaching is clearly a good choice of profession.


Wanted to make a difference

Teaching gives you the opportunity to have a real impact on the lives of others.  For people who want to go to work every day knowing that they are making a difference, teaching can seem like an ideal profession.  (Maybe less so on a wet Tuesday afternoon when class 8F simply don’t want to learn about algegra!)



Job for life

It’s not uncommon for people to change professions two or three times during their career these days and it’s common to work in as many as a dozen different companies.  So some view teaching as a more stable career choice, which will last a lifetime – and whilst many teachers move from school to school, it is also not unusual for teachers to remain with just one school for most of their career too.  This stability can be very appealing to some, especially in these uncertain economic times.



Great holidays

There are very few jobs which offer as much holiday as teaching.  Granted, much of it is spent marking and preparing, but the lure of all those holidays is certainly one that draws some people into the profession.


Fits well with having a family

If you have your heart fixed on having a family and you want to be available for your children after school and during the holidays then again, teaching can be a very appealing profession.


Enjoy working with young people

Working with young people is not to everyone’s liking, but for many people this is the only age group that has any real appeal.


Didn’t want to be stuck in an office all day

If the thought of a desk job doesn’t appeal, then teaching is a great alternative.  The only limit on what you can get up to is your imagination (well… and the small matter of your school’s policies!) each day is certainly different.


Love my subject

For those who are passionate about their subject, academia or teaching are the two pathways that are most commonly taken.  Teaching offers the opportunity to grow a new generation of people just as in love with your subject as you are!


Had a teacher who inspired me

I’ve heard this reason given so many times – and it’s a wonderful one.  If you had a teacher who you felt changed your life, why not aspire to be like them?



So why did YOU join the profession?  And if teaching is a vocation for you, does that make you less entitled to strike about your pension?

Please share your blog posts about why you chose to teach here:

13 responses to “Why Teach?”

  1. Avatar Clare Powell says:

    I wanted to teach from being about 10:00, I loved learning and had some great teachers who inspired me. When I was in my final Year at Primary School my teacher told my parents that I wouldn’t amount to anything academically. This made me more determined to teach to ensure other children didn’t end up being written off. Having spent several years teaching in schools I run a Kip McGrath tuition centre and am working to ensure many many students achieve their educational goals!

  2. Avatar Anna Halford says:

    I hadn’t even thought about teaching until I was doing my (badly chosen) A’levels. My best friend’s Father (who was a headteacher) invited me to spend a couple of days with him in his school. From the moment I stepped in to his school of three classes I just knew that teaching was the job I wanted to do. Once I had made the decision I have never regretted it. When the job gets me down (which of course it does at times) I always think back to when I first decided to be a teacher. I feel very lucky to be doing a job that I genuinely love; sure there are loads of things that I would change/do differently, but to work with children, to share their joys and challenges is an incredible privilege. Gove and his cronies need to get their act together to support a profession which is full of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers rather than keep pushing to see just how much rubbish we will all take. And I’m not a green newbie who wears rose tinted spectacles!! I qualified in 1991 and STILL don’t want to do anything other than teach. It is a huge part of my life and I am proud of that!

  3. Avatar Noreene Chen says:

    Love to be a part of the learning….theirs an d mine!

  4. It’s funny – I never thought about teaching as a kid but in my early twenties realised that everything I’d done had gotten me ready for it. Subject-wise I had a love of science, really enjoyed figuring things out. I’d spent a little time in journalism so had learned to share ideas, pass on informatrion clearly. I’d been a youth leader for years, and helped instruct climbing. I’d just finished a year training and supervising volunteers in care work.

    There’s nothing quite like teaching for a challenging job, different every day. It’s often frustrating, but it’s never boring!

  5. Avatar Anna @kiteflyer67 says:

    I had some great teachers who nurtured, supported and had fun. I also had some very bad teachers who couldn’t show me other methods, who got frustrated with me, who didn’t personalise their teaching, who in short, failed me. It was these inadequate teachers who made me determined to be a great teacher and to help children unlock their learning. To my great teachers “thank you for inspiring me and making it all fun”. To my lazy, inadequate teachers “shame on you”.

    • It’s amazing what an impact a great or terrible teacher can have. We must all have had dozens of teachers in our lives yet there are very few that stick in our memory. Generally because they were inspiring or the absolute opposite. The run of the mill ones quickly fade in your memory.

  6. Avatar Kerry says:

    I remember saying I wanted to be a teacher at about 12 but in actual fact I had been acting it out for many years. My mum was constantly shamed at returning library books covered in ticks and crosses and my dolls were given frequent lessons. I had an uninspiring primary education (being told that there was no point in teaching me times tables as I wouldn’t understand) but a wonderful secondary one. Caring, compassionate and dedicated teachers who knew pupils individually made a huge difference to me and certainly shaped my teahing style and decision to specialise in pastoral care.
    However, when all that is said and done dedicated professionals shouldn’t be punished by poor conditions and changes in employment conditions.

  7. Avatar David Didau says:

    I never considered teaching until a year after finishing university. It was certainly not a ‘vocation’ – rather a job which would be secure, reasonably well paid with nice holidays.

    I have now been teaching 12 years and would not consider doing anything else – I love the ‘danger’ of being in a room surrounded by 16 year olds, never being 100% sure what they’ll do or say next. I love the drama of it all and I live for those lightbulb moments when someone suddenly ‘gets’ something. Sometimes it’s stressful but NEVER dull.

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