So you want to become a teacher

Written by leo.woodhead

A popular choice and one often seen as a ‘vocation’ is teaching. As a role it can be highly rewarding and equally challenging. Hence, making the decision to become a teacher should be met with due care and attention. We can all remember the teacher at school who seemed to hate kids and was always grumbling about their job. You don’t want to be that teacher, do you?

In this post I want to go over some of the things that you should think about before taking the plunge to become a teacher.


Is teaching right for you?

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether teaching is right for you. Have a look at the list below and see if the qualities and attributes sound like you.

  • A strong passion for learning and development
  • Enthusiasm for the subjects you want to teach
  • The ability to develop good working relationships with a wide range of people
  • The ability to organise and manage time
  • A confident public speaker
  • Excellent communication skills
  • The ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour
  • Patience and a good sense of humour


Get some teaching experience

Before getting on to a teacher training programme, the best thing to do is to get some experience of what it’s like to work with young children. It’s easy to assume that you would enjoy it or be good at it. However, the reality can often be completely different to the image that you have in your head. Below I have included some info on the variety of techniques you can use to get a taste of working with children in a school setting so you can test out whether teaching is right for you.


  • Talk to people you know – If you already know some teachers, have a chat with them. See if they can get you in to either work shadow or volunteer as a teaching assistant. 
  • Ask your old school – Pop into your old school and see if they are willing to offer you any shadowing or voluntary experience. (Let’s just hope they liked you when you were at school.)
  • Make an appointment at a local school – If you haven’t got any contacts in a school you will need to make an appointment to pop in for a chat. Schools will be more than used to receiving requests for experience so try not to worry. Do bear in mind that it can sometimes take quite a while to organise experience as it can be very popular with prospective students and parents.
  • Ask your children’s school – Your children’s school may be more willing to take you on so pop in and have a chat with the head teacher.


Availability of teaching posts

Researching job availability in your local area and within your chosen specialist subject or age group is important. If you are hoping to stay in your home area, it is a good idea to get in touch with local schools to see how the land lies.

You can have a look at the following websites for further information about teaching and to search for jobs to get an idea of what the job market is like in your area.

Education Guardian

Times Educational Supplement


Local council websites


Are you on the verge of deciding to train as a teacher?


Have you had a long fulfilling career as a teacher or did you train as a teacher and realise it wasn’t for you?


Get involved in the discussion and tell us your stories.

About the author


Leo is a Sociology graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University. A career coach, with 7 years’ experience in advice and guidance, he has now turned his hand to writing and social media development. He balances his time between career coaching, writing and his passion for rock climbing. Connect with Leo on twitter @thecareersblog