Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Pros and Cons of Teaching: Making a Difference

Are you interested in becoming a Teacher, but not sure about what exactly is involved?

Do you like kids but are not sure if you want to deal with them all day every day for the next 40 years?

Are you tempted by the generous holidays but put off by the stress levels and relatively low pay?

If so, have a read of the below and see how interested you are afterwards!

In this post, I will go through the following 23 pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Job satisfaction
  2. Consistent schedule
  3. Summer holidays and time off
  4. Being part of a community
  5. Good professional development
  6. Opportunity to make a big difference
  7. High demand for Teachers
  8. It gets easier!
  9. You can work anywhere in the world

Cons:

  1. It can be frustrating
  2. It’s challenging
  3. You can be underappreciated
  4. The workload
  5. Time consuming
  6. Lots of paperwork / admin
  7. Lack of support from parents
  8. Lack of support from administration
  9. Salary
  10. Pressure to produce results
  11. Bad Behaviour
  12. Stress
  13. Repetition
  14. Steep Learning Curve

Pros:

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #1: Job Satisfaction

In a 2019 Teaching and Learning International Study, over 90% of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs.

Helping a student to understand something they previously could not, or seeing them improve in an area where they were struggling can be extremely rewarding.

It might not happen often but when it does it can make it all worthwhile!

Also, for secondary school teachers getting paid to talk about something you are passionate about all day long is something many people never get to do in their jobs!

Apple for the Teacher

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #2: Consistent Schedule

Compared to other professions, a teacher has a relatively consistent schedule.

You have timetables, lesson plans and can more or less plan out what your days and weeks will look like.

In other careers, you can get caught working late hours, and have very little control over how your days pan out, due to various demands and deadlines.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #3: Summer Vacations and Holidays

Most schools also have extended time off several times during the academic year and two-three months off in the summer.

8-12 (depending on schools) weeks paid holiday is a huge perk!

Other careers do not offer such breaks throughout the course of the year.

You will typically have approx. 25 days holidays which you have to make last for the whole year.

In some schools, September is often the only month in the year in which Teachers don’t have any holiday.

Teachers work approximately 170 days per year, compared to the 230 worked by someone with a more 25 days off.

This is a big incentive for those still undecided on whether to pursue Teaching

Summer Holidays

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #4: Being Part of a Community

You will be surrounded by your fellow teachers who are all dealing with the same issues as you i.e. bad behaviour, getting your message across, etc.

Having a ready-made crew of colleagues that you can ask for advice and discuss any problems with is a huge help and something that you may not have in many other professions.

There is also a lot of collaboration in teaching.

You work with students on a daily basis, but also with other teachers and parents to ensure the student reaches their maximum potential.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #5: Professional Development

There are lots of chances for professional development in teaching. You learn from school leaders, other teachers, and your students.

By watching your fellow colleagues teach during classroom visits, you can pick up tips, tricks and methods and use them with your students.

Ever wonder how long it takes to become a Qualified Teacher? or how long it takes to become fully qualified Doctor, Lawyer, Vet, Engineer, Accountant? If so check out my post on How Long Does it Take to Become a…

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #6: Opportunity to Make a Difference

Teachers have a great chance to make a big impact on kid’s lives.

Apart from their parents, they are possibly the other adults that they spend the most time with while they are young.

By setting a good example for their students, and passing on knowledge about their subject and life in general, they can help shape that young person’s perspective on life.

Not only do you get the chance to set your students up academically, you can set them up socially as well!

Many people will never have the chance to have such a profound impact on another person’s life!

You are using your skills and talents to give something back to society, something a lot of people would love to do, but find themselves stuck in a job or career that they hate!

Adult Teaching a Kid

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #7: High Demand For Teaching

There is always a need for Teachers, and so they will always be in high demand. The projected gap between trained Teachers and numbers of Teachers needed is more than 100,000+ and is expected to grow even more in the next 5 years

Although, there may competition for a permanent positions or specialty areas, flexible teachers should never have much trouble finding a job.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is a great example of an area where there is a high demand for great teachers.

There is great security in the long term in the teaching profession.

Are you unsure about which career path to follow? You have a vague idea what you might want to do, but are not really sure?

If so, check out my free online course on ‘How to Find Your Perfect Career’. It is 5 tried and tested exercises that I’ve used to take me from jobs I hated in my 20’s to a job I LOVE now!

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #8: It Gets Easier

As you progress in your career, you learn to leave work at school more, you get better and faster at grading homework and tests, and learn how to set clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do.

You get better at managing your students, don’t let troublesome students get to you as much, and become more aware of what to ignore.

Also, you realise when you should you change schools to find a better environment and how to recycle last year’s lessons.

Learning to accept you can’t do everything, and it’s ok to not be perfect makes things a lot easier too!

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Pro #9: You Can Work Anywhere In The World

Teachers who want to live and work overseas can usually do this pretty easily.

If you can demonstrate a couple of years post qualification experience, it should not be too difficult to get a job in an international school.

The demand for English teachers is also growing in many countries. 

Teaching abroad can also be quite a lucrative move, with many Teachers moving to the Middle East due to the generous salaries and free accommodation that often comes as a perk of the job.

Plane

Cons:

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #1: It Can Be Frustrating

You need a lot of patience to be a Teacher, as your students will test it to the max!

Young people learn at different speeds and you have to be able to take this in your stride.

It can be tricky when one student understands what you are teaching and then the student next to them has no idea.

Over many years, these frustrations and the nature of the job can lead to cynicism and a negative attitude.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #2: It’s Challenging

While the weekly schedule of a teacher may be well planned out, no two students, lessons, or days are alike which always keeps you on your toes.

Teachers also rarely get breaks in their day to check their personal email, so some online shopping, or chat to their co-workers, something others take for granted.

Nowadays, teachers are expected to be everything and anything for their students: Teacher, mentor, social worker, counsellor, subject matter expert, and role model. It’s not easy.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #3: Unappreciated

Teachers usually are undervalued and unappreciated.

The perception that teachers become teachers simply because they can’t do anything else real!

It is often not taken as seriously as other professions, despite it being a very hard job!

Without Teachers to look after and teach kids, it would be extremely difficult for society to function, something parents sometimes can often take for granted!

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #4: Workload

Some people think that Teachers have months off during the summer to put their feet up and get paid for it.

In reality, they spend some of that time marking exams, doing professional development work and preparing for the following year.

Teachers can feel like they spend more time marking papers, doing admin and attending meetings instead of teaching time in the classroom.

People don’t become teachers to spend their days doing a mountain of paperwork. This ever-increasing workload often eats into their family time, and it can be hard to find a good work/life balance.

A Teacher's Paperwork

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #5: Time Consuming

Many teachers arrive before class, stay late, and work on weekends and evenings. Lots of prep goes into each day and the work doesn’t stop when the school year ends.

They also don’t “get out early” (teachers actually work an average of 53 hours per week

Summers are spent organizing and cleaning the room and/or attending professional developments.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #6: Paperwork

Marking homework / exams and lesson planning are time consuming enough.

In addition, teachers have to complete paperwork for absences, personalized learning plans, and discipline referrals, and classroom reporting.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #7: Lack of Support from Parents

If you have good parents who are supportive of your efforts and engaged in your child’s education, your life is a lot easier.

However, sometimes the parents can be worse than the kids!!!

Many parents will complain about what you do, argue with you and not take responsibility for their child’s learning.

This can hamper your efforts and become very draining.

Difficult Parents

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #8: Lack of Support from Administration

Teachers can also find themselves disagreeing with the administrative staff in their schools.

Administrators make decisions based on regulations, and costs and these often impact on what work teachers have to do and how they can do it.

If Teachers feel like the administrators are working against them instead of with them, it can add to their frustrations, and eat into their positivity and passion for the role.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #9: Salary

Teachers never become rich from teaching.

Considering the workload and the responsibility involved, the salary is not that great.

Some teachers even are not paid during the summer, so may have to find a summer job to pay their bills.

Teaching is definitely a vocation which people don’t go into for the money.

Often, to earn a really decent salary you will have to leave the classroom and move into senior management.

You will never be given a company car, health insurance, gym membership, bonus, etc.

What are the best paying graduate jobs in the UK? To find out check out my blog post Graduate Salaries UK: Find out the best paying roles [Infographic]

Con of Being a Teacher UK: The Salary

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #10: Pressure to Produce Results

There is ever-increasing pressure from schools on students achieving high test scores.

Teachers can do their best to coach and motivate their students, but at the end of the day it’s the student who is sitting the test, and it can be stressful for Teachers having to hit their ‘targets’ all the time.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #11: Behaviour

You will have problems with behaviour in both primary and secondary schools.

All the subsequent disciplinary stuff is also a pain.

Kids can be very unforgiving especially if you have low confidence or are having an off day.

Some students will abuse you verbally and even physically.

Female Teachers can especially get a tough time, in the boys school that I went to, every Teacher had a nickname, some of them particularly cruel.

New Teachers also got a hard time and lots of abuse, which is something you don’t really have to put up with in other professions!

Disciplining students can take up disproportionate amounts of a teacher’s time and energy.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #12: Stress

Teaching is a tough profession, it can be mentally draining and physically exhausting.

In a survey done by the ATL Teacher’s union, Teachers reported experiencing stress (80%), exhaustion (69%), disturbed sleep patterns (66%), anxiety (57%) and headaches (47%).

Along with keeping control of the classroom, teachers have to figure out how to get the results they are expected to get in a system that regularly works against them.

Some say that Teachers need all the time off they can get just to de-stress and recharge their batteries.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher: Stress

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #13: Repetitive

Teaching can be repetitive. Depending on the age group you teach you may find yourself teaching the same thing year after year.

Or if are teaching older students, you may find yourself teaching the same lesson multiple times a day.

Due to regulations, inspections, etc. there is not much freedom to move outside statutory curriculum areas and be creative to keep it fresh.

Other professions can be monotonous too, but usually you can look for another job or go into something a bit different after a couple of years. In Teaching you can become a bit stuck.

Some people take on more admin type roles within their school to mix it up a bit but these too can be repetitive after a couple of years.

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher UK – Con #14: Steep Learning Curve

The first two years as a Teacher is definitely the hardest.

You’ll have to learn dozens of names, how to mark, how to manage the classroom, how to give more time and support to struggling students and how to deal with school administration and parents.

You have to make all your own resources from scratch, and plan every lesson for the first time which can take a lot of time.

In a study carried out by the BBC, 80% of people who qualify as teachers go into the profession and one in three teachers quit within the first five years.

You’ll have to learn dozens of names, how to mark, how to manage the classroom, how to give more time and support to struggling students and how to deal with school administration and parents.

If you found the above advice helpful and want more, check out the advice of 100 graduates 10 years out of university in my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’.

You can get the free ebook version here.

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Hi, I’m Paul. I’m a Finance Director with 14 years experience working for big multinational companies.

I interviewed 100 graduates about their career paths and advice for a young generation.

This blog aims to help young people figure out their career paths.

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