After a challenging year, many of us are keen to do something more meaningful day-to-day. With thousands of public sector roles, training to teach could be the ideal start – or switch – to a thoroughly rewarding career.
‘I feel blessed to be in a career where I make a difference in kids’ lives’
For secondary school science teacher Jagpreet Hayre, 27, it was the dedication of two former sixth form leaders that inspired her to get into teaching.
‘That’s when I understood just how important teachers are,’ says Jagpreet. ‘I always knew I wanted a career that was dynamic and different: something where I could make a real difference. When I was in sixth form, I had two teachers who really pushed me to achieve things I never thought I could.
That confidence was something I wanted to give to others.’
More than a third of students and graduates surveyed* earlier this year said they viewed teaching and the education sector as one of the most important roles in society.
After completing a zoology degree, Jagpreet returned to the school for a year to work as a part-time tutor and science technician, before taking her postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) to become a secondary school teacher at Dormers Wells High School, in Ealing.
She says: ‘After seeing first-hand how you can influence students’ lives – not just academically but socially – I dived headfirst into teaching. I loved it. It was scary at first, but teaching becomes easier once you get
into a routine of planning, marking and assessments.
‘Every day is so different, and each one is amazing. I especially love having banter with the students.’
Now Jagpreet says she can’t imagine herself doing anything else, and would definitely recommend a career like hers.
Jagpreet says: ‘I didn’t go into teaching thinking about job security; I went into it because I love it. But now that so many people have been made redundant or furloughed, I’ve come to appreciate just how secure it is.’
There are also opportunities for career development. Jagpreet adds: ‘One day, I’d like to go down the pastoral route, such as head of year, because I have a genuine interest in the students’ lives.
‘You won’t find another job like it. I wake up every day thinking, “I am so blessed to be in a career where I’m making a difference in kids’ lives”.’
‘Leaving TV for teaching has made me so happy’
Before becoming a primary school teacher last year, former TV agent Abigail Welton, 30, knew that working with young people was her true calling.
‘Although I loved the media world, I wanted to feel like I was helping people,’ says Abi. ‘One day, I said to a friend: “There is something inside me that makes me want to teach. I need to just do it!”’
Within a month, Abigail had joined a teacher training course, just like thousands of other candidates who enrol each year.
To become a primary teacher, a degree is required, plus a grade C or Level 4 equivalent in English, Maths and Science at GCSE. Once qualified, new teachers can expect a starting salary of between £25k-£32k, depending on location.
Of her experience as a trainee, Abi says: ‘It’s the most nerve-racking feeling when you arrive in the classroom but you have a mentor, which was a fantastic support. Slowly, you start to team-teach, and then take the odd lesson on your own.’
Abigail qualified in July last year, and got her first job at Engayne Primary in Upminster, east London. A broad range of support is available to help graduates into teaching, including tax-free bursaries for selected subjects. In Abigail’s case, student finance helped her to fund the training year, which was ‘worth every penny’.
Now, a year into teaching, she says: ‘Every day I come home exhausted but euphoric about something the children have achieved. There’s no feeling like it.’
Overall, making the career switch has proved a deeply positive decision for Abi, offering varied avenues for progression.
‘There are so many options. I want to stay in a classroom for a while because that is initially why I got into it,’ she says. ‘It was 100 per cent the right decision to make that change. I’m so happy.’
Applications for teacher training starting in September 2021 are now open. The Get Into Teaching service has experienced advisers available to give free support and advice. For more information about teaching as a career and to register your interest visit getintoteaching.education.gov.uk or call the Get Into Teaching line on 0800 389 2500
*Censuswide for Get Into Teaching.
This is UK Government information for readers in England only