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Should I wait?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by klarissaxc, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. klarissaxc

    klarissaxc New commenter

    I’m a recent English grad, 21 years old, and have been thinking of becoming a teacher for a while. I’m currently working as a TA at a secondary school before embarking on a teacher training scheme. I have been enjoying it, though it has been tough (the school I’m in has extreme behaviour issues, needs improving on ofsted etc). However, after speaking to a few people (including a few colleagues at the school) I’m wondering if I should wait before pursuing QTS. I’ve been told that I’m crazy for wanting to become a teacher at this age, and that I’m far too young to teach in schools, let alone secondary, given the poor behaviour that exists within our state schools. Some people have advised that I should return to the profession when I’m a bit older and have some more life experience to better prepare myself for some of the mental challenges that come with teaching. I would just like some opinions on the issue. Is 21 too young to become a teacher? Is it best to pursue teaching once I’m a bit more mature and experienced in ‘life’?
  2. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    21 isn't too young, no. The main problem with starting young - I was mid 20s - is the length of time you'll have to do it for unless you plan a career change later in life. Someone your age is going to be working until your late 60s. I've done more than 20 years and still have plenty left to go and that can feel quite daunting. You can definitely take your time about it as you are so young so if you aren't sure then leave it another year. The job you're doing will give you great experience as well.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. observer1

    observer1 New commenter

    Age shouldn't be an issue. It all depends if you can han handle managing a number of students in multiple classes.

    In addition to this, you'll need to balance your work load with your out of school life.
    It would be alot of harder if you had young children.

    It really depends on the person. I've seen old teachers make teaching look easy and others struggle every day.

    I've seen young teachers take everything ok the chin and other young teachers slowly wilt away and burn out.

    As a TA you're in a good position to see the classroom dynamics. Ask yourself honestly if you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life/career
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Once upon a time most people started their teaching careers aged 22 following a degree and PGCE or a B.Ed.(Hons.) course.

    However, I am not sure I would encourage someone to choose teaching as a career now. Not unless they are absolutely determined, passionate and going into it with their eyes wide open. It is now a highly stressful career, remuneration is not great and many new teachers only last a few years before they are exhausted and want to get out of the profession.
    agathamorse and Shedman like this.
  5. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    My personal opinion is to go for it if its what you're interested in. You can always turn around after and say you tried and didn't like it.
    When I was training, so many older teachers kept being negative and highlighted how much they didn't like doing lots of the things they had to do. Ignore them. You make your own path and follow it. I had a great time teaching in the UK. Now I'm having a great time teaching abroad, earning a load of money and going on holidays all the time. I work hard but it means I earn my breaks.
    Feel free to private message me with any questions or energy boosts. Having a positive mindset - even when things are grinding you down - is key.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    As Becky70 says in post #2, your may have over 40 years of working life before you. If you trawl through the threads then there are many posts from teachers who feel a bit trapped because they don't really know about other careers for which they may be suited and don't know about how to change to a career outside of teaching. The current teacher retention figures are bleak:


    This report dates from 2015 but things haven't changed that much since then.


    The point I'm trying to make is that teaching may not turn out to be a long term career option for you and if four or five years or perhaps further down the road you decide to change careers then as you've only ever worked as a teacher or as a TA you may be at a disadvantage in your job hunting. We all know that being a teacher gives you loads of transferable skills and that ex teachers are probably one of the best workforces an employer could hire but when job hunting every advantage you can get counts. You can apply for teaching at any point in your career and with your qualifications and experience in schools then you'll be snapped up. However, it may not be so easy to leave teaching if that's all you've ever done.

    You are still young and would be considered for many graduate training schemes or entry to other professions. Pinning your future working life on teaching at this stage in your life may lead to some regrets later on but there again there are countless teachers who've spent a lifetime teaching and have had successful and rewarding careers.

    You work in a school so why not speak about your plans to teach with your teaching colleagues and get their take on the profession. You see and share their classroom experiences but so much of modern teaching is concerned with things outside the classroom like planning, pastoral, marking, reports, paperwork etc. If you do decide to proceed with a teaching career, make sure you are fully informed about all aspects of the job and I hope it works out for you.
    agathamorse and ViolaClef like this.

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