Why teachers matter

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Welcome to the teaching profession. You have taken the decision to begin your journey as a teacher and, as such, to start a career working with children and young people that you will soon come to realise is truly the most fulfilling, demanding and exciting job you could have chosen.

I became a teacher when I was 21 and, apart from taking a career break to look after our two daughters when they were small, I have been a teacher ever since. Looking back over this long career, I can honestly tell you that my life has been enriched. I have worked in secondary and primary schools as well as becoming an adviser and then leading a failing school to sustained success. I engaged in research with several universities and have published books. The stories from my career that mean the most to me, however, are those that include children, families and colleagues.

As a teacher, you will have a great deal of influence. You become a role model as soon as you assume the title of teacher. Children in your class may go home and proudly quote you at the end of the day.  Parents will ask your advice, colleagues will be keen to work alongside you and ask for your input, and your first assembly with hundreds of eyes upon you as you speak for the first time or present something with your class will feel like a West End stage experience. Your first parents’ evening will be something that you are not yet ‘grown-up’ enough to lead and yet you will. Parents, colleagues and children will thank you for the difference you are making and you will begin to understand the reason why teaching is like no other profession.

This hub is intended to open your eyes to the rich depth of knowledge and experience that you will build over time and to inspire you to make the most of your membership of your professional body, the Chartered College of Teaching. This is an organisation that focuses on the core skills of pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and leadership. We are raising the status of teaching throughout society and will be with you every step of the way as you seek to plan and develop your career.

As a new teacher, one of the most important areas of your development will be to build and deepen your professional knowledge, practice and behaviours. The Chartered College will support you in extending your subject- or phase-specific expertise. You will want to know about research findings nationally and internationally that may impact on your effectiveness as a teacher and, most crucially (because we know you will be busy), we will offer you case studies and inspirational examples of research-informed practice. We shall keep you up to date online, providing access to our award-winning termly journal, Impact. MyCollege, the member only area of our website, offers a range of resources to support your professional learning, including summaries of original educational research and downloadable practical guides on key educational topics.

The day-to-day reality of working in classrooms can come as a surprise. You will have become adept at being a student, but changing role to that of teacher makes the familiar become strange. The range of skills that you will need to develop as a teacher can be challenging, but we are here to help you. In preparation for Chartered Teacher status, which you will be eligible to consider three years post-qualification, we have developed the following set of professional standards:

  • Professional knowledge
    • Deep knowledge of subject area/specialism
    • Critical understanding of subject-specific or specialism pedagogy
    • Deep knowledge of most effective pedagogical approaches
    • Design implementation and evaluation of assessment
    • Knowledge of education trends, debates and policy
  • Professional practice
    • Productive classroom environment with a culture of learning
    • Plans and delivers excellent lessons and sequences of lessons
    • Ensures that every child learns and makes progress
    • Develops a collegial approach
  • Professional behaviours
    • Critically evaluates and reflects on their own practice
    • Commits to relevant career-long professional learning
    • Exhibits collegiality by supporting and learning from others
    • Demonstrates high standards of professionalism
    • Engages critically with research and evidence.

Alison Peacock's top ten recommended actions to achieve respect

The role of teacher is incredibly diverse and complex. You can see from the standards above that expectations of you will be high and that the skills you will develop will continue to deepen throughout your career. As a teacher new to our profession, you will have a great deal to learn. Some skills may develop more quickly than others, but the reality is that part of the joy of being a teacher is that you will never ever be bored and there will always be so many new things to achieve. Some of the children and young people you meet will challenge you to the core but others will adore you. Some of your colleagues may make the job look incredibly easy or may be impressively able to command attention from their pupils with a click of their fingers. Others will cause youngsters to glow with pride simply because they receive a look of approval. The reality of building your presence within the classroom and wider school may seem daunting but, once you start to understand that the respect you command needs to be earned and there are key aspects of your behaviour that will help this, everything gets easier.

As a new entrant to the profession, you have so much to offer through your insights as a student and as someone able to view the work of the school objectively. Hopefully you are also full of energy and are keen to innovate. You will soon begin to see that, whatever motivated you to become a teacher, the consequences of this decision mean that you begin to gain the opportunity to build hope and inspiration in others. You may have decided to teach because you have a powerful sense of wishing to help others succeed or because social justice is at the heart of your values. If your principle motivation is because you enjoy learning and wish to spend more time in your particular field of expertise, there will be a multitude of opportunities for you to engage in this.

The reality is that society needs great teachers and, as a professional body, the Chartered College of Teaching is here to support you in becoming an expert, inspirational colleague. You have the opportunity to become the person that others look back on later in life and inwardly thank for making the difference. We will work with you every step of the way throughout your career as you seek to be the best teacher you can be. There can be no doubt that teachers transform lives. Thank you for making the decision to become a teacher – you are part of the future for our children and young people.

Explore the full range of member benefits on the Chartered College’s website: chartered.college.

About the author

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. A
    Angela Murphy

    This is a wonderful read. I concur with everything that is said in this article. Teaching is an exhilarating career. New entrants – know this – you have chosen the best career the world has to offer. Enjoy it!

    I really like the 10 recommended actions to achieve respect bookmark.

  2. z
    zola allem

    Thankyou for this positive booster! As a new training teacher I have struggled with being critical of all the small things that I do wrong. This has helped realise that not everything will be perfect at the beginning, and i will develop along the way.

  3. S
    Sakira Arthur

    Enjoyed reading this article; felt like a real honest portrayl of a teaching career. The highlight for me definitely are the 10 steps to achieving respect, which can be used both with students as well as other colleagues as well. These relationships are so important moving forward, especially in this training year.

  4. G
    George Michels

    Thank you, this was a great read. It’s helped to cement my reasoning for becoming a teacher, and knowing that there is always help no matter how far into the journey we are is so important. The top 10 actions for respect are especially helpful when starting out!

  5. G
    Gina Plimley Gadd

    This is a lovely article to read at the start of my training year – it acknowledges the challenges ahead, the hard work that will be required of me, and the high standards of professional behaviour that will be expected of me, but also reassures me that support is close at hand and the rewards for putting in the effort are truly exciting and inspiring!

  6. L
    Luke Mazingham

    This article was a really good and enjoyable read. Knowing that you can have such a positive impact on a child’s life is one of the main reasons why i want to teach. I’m looking forward to learning new skills and challenging myself each and every day.

  7. B
    Bethany C Cutter

    This article was an extremely informative, interesting read! Our jobs as teachers extend far beyond the confines of teaching in a classroom – we are in loco parentis and therefore have to take all aspects of that responsibility seriously whether that be the teaching side or the pastoral side. These students look up to us and we need to make sure that what they are looking up to makes them want to be the best versions of themselves thus propelling them forward to the future career and life that they desire.

  8. M
    Melanie Fearn

    Insightful read, thank you. The realisation of teaching is that of hard work but a change of career challenge I am looking forward to.

  9. A
    Abigail Cox

    I really enjoyed reading this article, and have found it incredibly reassuring. Doing my training year feels like such a rush of so many different emotions and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and doubt myself. Reading this has reminded me of why I wanted to go into teacher training in the first place, thank you.

  10. M
    Michelle Coles

    This article strengthens my appreciation that I have been accepted onto a teacher training course. I know that it’s going to be hard work, and at times it feels daunting, but I am fervently excited for the challenge. Thank you for summing up that feeling perfectly.

  11. M
    Miss Bethany Gibbs

    A physically exhilarating read: as an early career teacher finding passages about my potential is incredibly exciting. I look forward to my own professional journey navigating the listed challenges and learning opportunities.

  12. J
    Jessy Harman

    A well written summary of key aspects both personal and professional, that are important to remember. It has helped to remind me that not everything will fall into place straight away and as long as I remain focussed, I will continue from strength to strength.

  13. F
    Farahnaaz Rajub

    This article definitely reflects how I feel about becoming a teacher. I want to play all these different roles in the students lives and make an impact.
    It’s so interesting to see how diverse a teacher is and the challenges that comes with it.

  14. r
    rebecca gaunt

    Thank you so much, I found this article a very interesting read. One thing what made me really think and have wrote down are the ten recommend actions.

  15. D
    Dame Alison Peacock

    Thank you for all this positive feedback. Becoming a teacher is a complex and difficult process that is nevertheless hugely rewarding. Good luck to all as the term progresses.

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