What do you need to succeed?
Teaching needs enthusiasm and creativity. You need to genuinely want the best for all your pupils and have the ability to prepare and deliver lessons that are relevant, interesting and accessible.
Teaching’s challenging too – from the first time you stand in front of a class until your very last lesson – constantly pushing you to find new and inventive ways to present your specialist subjects.
So what do teachers do all day?
Schools in Scotland follow Curriculum for Excellence. Within that overall framework, each teacher must plan and deliver lessons to suit the needs of all the pupils in their class.
With a focus on learning that’s based around real-life contexts, lessons should be interesting, meaningful and memorable. As well as planning and delivering lessons, teachers also:
- work with other teachers across the school
- evaluate each student’s progress and mark their work
- maintain good behaviour in the classroom
- discuss progress with parents and carers
- organise study trips and other events.
How to apply to become a teacher in Scotland
Your route into teaching depends on where you are in your life and your career right now. Here is some information on how to apply to become a teacher in Scotland. Find out how to apply
Lynn Robertson – Home Economics Teacher at Cults Academy
“I came to teaching after having worked in other jobs and this gave me many transferable skills I could bring to the classroom. I had always enjoyed imparting knowledge, training and counselling staff and knew I wanted to work with young people so teaching felt like the ideal career.
"Being a Home Economics teacher is very rewarding as you are teaching young people essential life skills, giving them the opportunity to learn to cook healthy meals from scratch and, most importantly, showing them the enjoyment this activity can bring.
"If you are considering a career in teaching I would say take some time to come into a school to see what it is really like and speak to teachers about the profession. It is a varied, fast paced job which allows you to work with and have an impact on a large number of young people."
Zoe Halliday – Geography Teacher at Douglas Ewart High School
“I love teaching Geography. It’s a modern subject that’s relevant to pupils, covering topics such as climate change, and it teaches pupils to have a respect for their natural environment and shows them the vast timeline of the world. I enjoy the time with pupils, exploring my subject and encouraging them to be enthusiastic about it.
"I want to help my pupils succeed and get as much out of school as possible. I run after-school clubs three nights a week and contribute to wider school events. I think it’s great for pupils to see their teachers taking a genuine interest in them and their lives, not just their performance in the classroom.
"There are lots of opportunities for career progression in teaching and to keep challenging yourself. It’s the kind of job that if you want to keep learning then you can. Every day is different when you are working with young people."
Rachel O’Connor – Home Economics Teacher at St Kentigern’s Academy
“I chose teaching as I wanted to work with young people and make a difference. I always bring enthusiasm and passion for my subject which I pass to my pupils. I want them to learn, become independent and use the life skills I’ve taught them. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing pupils instinctively use the knowledge or skills you gave them.
"I had a brilliant experience of Home Economics at school and my teacher encouraged me to go into teaching. It’s a fun and fast paced subject which encourages you to be creative. For example, old recipes can be adapted and new ones invented. Lessons give pupils a sense of achievement as they have a final product at the end.
"If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher I’d say do it! If you're passionate about your subject, and you want to make a difference to young people’s lives then teaching is definitely for you."
Kate Riddell – History Teacher at Hawick High School
“I worked as an administrative assistant before becoming a teacher but found office work tedious and knew I had more to give. I chose teaching because I really enjoyed working with people and wanted to make a difference to young people’s lives.
"Teaching History can sometimes be quite challenging as students often ask why they need to learn about the past. Once I explain the skills they learn in class are invaluable and show how they’re relevant to future jobs then they do get on board.
"I’m enthusiastic and hardworking and I genuinely care about the students. I’m not just their History teacher but also someone they can confide in and come to if they’re worried about anything. If you’re willing to work hard, can time manage well and are committed to young people then I’d recommend teaching to you. It’s an extremely rewarding career."
Chelsea McDonald – Health and Food Technology Teacher at Notre Dame High School
“I originally graduated with an honours degree in Fashion Marketing and worked in retail management. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my years working in the fashion industry, I never felt I had the chance to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. I therefore made the life-changing decision to become a teacher and I have never looked back.
"Being a teacher is an exciting career and brings me a real sense of fulfillment. In teaching Home Economics, you are providing valuable lifelong skills and promoting prospective success for all. It is important to me that every pupil I encounter feels valued. I aim to be a role model, encouraging, motivating and inspiring the pupils to become the best version of themselves. If I can make one small difference to their lives, whether that be academically, socially or personally, then that’s something to be celebrated."
What makes a good teacher?
While every teacher is different, the best share certain attributes:
- They are enthusiastic specialists in their chosen subjects
- They are committed to developing each individual child’s full potential
- They have a good sense of humour
- They are patient and dedicated.
If that sounds like you, it’s time to become a teacher.
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