"Seeing a pupil have a ‘light bulb moment’, achieving something that they thought was impossible makes teaching so rewarding."Carrie Thomson – Curricular Leader of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) and Social Subjects at Liberton High School
The emotional benefits of being a teacher
There’s a certain satisfaction in telling people you’re a teacher. And you’ve every right to be proud. Teachers hold a respected place in society. Many teachers are at the heart of their local communities. It’s a real conversation starter – and as teaching is such a sociable profession, it’s easy to make friends both inside and outside school. Children and young people are fun, and full of surprises, and a classroom has real energy. Best of all, you’ll get to learn as well as teach.
When pupils are engaged, interested and paying attention, they’ll have questions. And whether they’re amusing, unexpected, searching or serious queries, they’ll almost certainly get you thinking. It’s usually a great opportunity to dig deeper into a topic, and learn something new yourself.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers, all the time – it’s ok for you to learn, too. And those probing questions are often perfect for encouraging a debate among the class, where everyone can learn from each other, and gain new perspectives. Young people are often well informed on the latest technology, environmental issues, fashion, music and social media – so you’ll find you’re often on the same wavelength when it comes to starting a lively discussion about current affairs, trends or events. And it’s always good to have those opportunities to share, connect and communicate.
Teachers are usually sociable by nature, and interested in people. They’re often drawn to the profession through a sense of wanting to be of service to others, in a job with real meaning. And a big part of that is being a good communicator.
There’s a real joy for teachers in connecting with young people, and finding that common ground that makes learning exciting and interesting. And you’ll see the visible results of your good work every day. It means you can use your knowledge and intelligence to help your pupils get a great education, and make a real difference in the lives of children and young people.
As a teacher, you can make a positive difference in the lives of your pupils and help them be the best they can be. You can help shape a brighter future for a child or young person, and give them the skills and confidence they need to succeed.
What other career could give you the chance to influence the next generation of leaders, innovators, and game-changers?
Teaching makes a difference, with visible results. So as time goes on, you’ll see for yourself those breakthrough moments of progress with your pupils – how they improve, learn more, and gain a deeper interest in their favourite subjects. These shared experiences are great for building positive relationships with your pupils. The great thing about positivity is that it spreads – so you’ll also build rewarding relationships beyond the classroom, with parents and caregivers, colleagues and the wider community.
As a teacher, your positive ‘reach’ extends way beyond the classroom, right through to the wider community. Very few jobs provide greater opportunity to connect with different people, from all walks of life – including the staff room. It’s why teachers often have a wide circle of connections. And colleagues can often become great friends.
As a teacher, you’ll be surrounded by people with similar interests, shared goals and the same professional commitment. Who knows, some may even become friends for life. And it always helps to have those shared experiences that come with the job – especially the stories, the fun and the laughter.
One of the best parts of the school day will be the light-hearted moments between you and your pupils. Teachers often comment on the amusing banter that makes a class lively and fun. There’s an added advantage in that when your pupils are enjoying a lesson, they’ll find it a lot easier to learn. And that enriches the whole experience for them, and for you.
"I feel like I have a great work/life balance and the holidays are brilliant, which means I can do a lot of travelling too."Maxine McNeill – Chemistry teacher at Bell Baxter High School, Fife
"Seeing a pupil have a ‘light bulb moment’, achieving something that they thought was impossible, or simply seeing that they are excited to see you after the summer break makes teaching so rewarding."Carrie Thomson – Curricular Leader of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) and Social Subjects at Liberton High School
As well as the clear emotional benefits of being a teacher, there are also lots of practical ones. Teaching is a highly respected vocation. And your professional skills and training are valued, right from the start.
The practical benefits of being a teacher
HolidayDays per annum
of pupils still remember the name of their favourite teacher.
* Survey commissioned by the Scottish Government, in partnership with YouGov on 26th-30th Sept 2019.
|From 1 April 2023
|From 1 January 2024
|Salary progression after 5 years
Compared with other professions, teaching is well paid. From 1 April 2023, newly qualified teachers in Scotland currently start on a salary of £31,584 in their probation year rising to £32,217 from 1 January 2024. And as well as a competitive starting salary, annual rises will ensure it stays that way. Once you’re fully registered, your salary will rise by annual increments over the first five years from £37,896 to £47,565, rising to between £38,655 to £48,516 from 1 January 2024. Headteachers can earn up to £109,209 a year, rising to £110,808 from 1 January 2024. Find out more about pay and pay scales.
Teachers have a flexible schedule, working around 35 hours per week with a maximum of 22.5 hours devoted to class contact time. A teacher’s full working year is 195 days. This includes 5 days of in-service training. Teachers receive 40 days’ holiday at full pay.
"When I first did my degree in engineering, I initially had my heart set on going into Formula 1. However, when I started researching the job opportunities, I soon realised this would require a move away from Scotland which I didn’t want. Some of my friends ask me if a dream job came up in F1 now, whether I would consider changing my career. But hand on heart, I can honestly say I wouldn’t take it, even if it meant a pay rise. I love my job as no two days are ever the same, and it feels great to know that you are helping to inspire future generations."Duncan Barclay – Physics Teacher at Inverurie Academy, Aberdeenshire
If you’re driven and ambitious – teaching in Scotland could be the career you’re looking for, and promotion prospects are good. There are many leadership roles in Scottish schools, from principal teacher all the way up to headteacher. Headteachers can earn up to to £109,209 a year, rising to £110,808 from 1 January 2024.
Teachers in Scotland qualify for good pension benefits. The scheme provides a good pension, based on career average earnings. You’ll be enrolled automatically when you start teaching, although you can opt out if you wish.
There are currently two occupational pension schemes for teachers in Scotland. These are the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (STSS) and the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme 2015 (STPS 2015).
For the STSS, normal pension age is either 60 or 65, depending on when you joined the scheme. If you join the STPS 2015, normal pension age is linked to your State Pension age.
In the Spotlight
Maxine McNeill is a 29 year old chemistry teacher at Bell Baxter High School in Fife. She holds a degree in Forensic Science and a PDGE. After graduating, Maxine took a year out to plan her next move. She had been thinking about a career in forensics, and was going to join the Police before making the decision to become a teacher. Find out what changed her mind.
"It’s hard work but I thrive on the challenge that working with such a diverse range of pupils of different ages, backgrounds and abilities brings. Also, I feel like I have a great work/life balance and the holidays are brilliant, which means I can do a lot of travelling too."Maxine McNeill
There’s nothing average about being a teacher
Teachers enjoy good starting salaries, annual leave, working time arrangements and good pensions. It all adds up to make teaching an excellent career choice.