Real world experience – but will credit crunch teachers stick around for the kids?
The so-called ‘credit crunch teachers’ will, according to respondents to a new survey by Hays Education, bring new skills and experience with them to the profession. More than 80 percent claimed to support the increase in teaching applications. However, the survey also found doubts about the motives of those seeking to become teachers and concerns many will leave when the economy picks up.
Martyn Best, Managing Director of Hays Education, said “Interest in teaching jobs has increased during the recession. Naturally, people are looking for the added job security, but they are also taking stock and assessing that they really want from a career – particularly if they have been made redundant and feel let down by their previous employer.”
The government is attempting to attract redundant workers into teaching by offering fastrack qualifications courses. Incentives include golden handshakes to those choosing to teach science or maths. The Training and Development Agency (TDA) has reported an upsurge in teacher training enquiries of 45 percent, and ten percent increase in actual applications since the recession started. Recent recruitment fairs saw a total of nearly 10,000 people through the doors – and the organisation’s flagship Train to Teach fairs in London, Manchester, and Birmingham saw a rise in attendance of around 50 percent.
Geoff Haynes, a former financial director for Barclays stockbrokers now teaches Maths at the Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough. He says: “Making the move from the boardroom to the classroom has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s a real challenge – but I found for me, bringing a subject like maths to life is easier when you’ve got a practical background in it. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to help to make a difference on the young people of today.”
Stuart MacKenzie is a former graphic designer who turned his back on commerce and retrained as a teacher. Stuart, who is now Head of Design and Technology, says “I was a graphic designer working with clients such as Cadburys and Rolls Royce before becoming a teacher. Real-life experience is really helpful in the classroom and adds to the breadth of knowldege that you can pass on to a class.”
A significant percentage of respondents to the Hays survey (34 percent) agreed that recruiting teachers from a wider cross section of backgrounds – including commerce – would benefit the teaching profession. Interestingly, it also seems the tide is turning against some of the common misconceptions of teaching with 59 percent of teachers stating that they were happy with their work-life balance. However the Hays Education teaching survey also found 69 percent believe the new applications are not motivated to teach for the right reasons, stating the new applicants are not experienced enough.
“Our advice is to contact your local school and get some practical experience. See how schools have progressed and find out whether the reality of a career in the classroom would suit you. Then take a PGCE course and explore which side of teaching you prefer. A positive attitude, good communication skills and patience were rated most highly by current teachers. Many people will have learnt these skills in the private sector and once they have the relevant qualifications will find that teaching is a career they can excel in” concludes Martyn Best.
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24 July 2009