Friday, 15 June 2012

Observations of the unemployed #006

The notion that teaching is now a fall-back career.

In an attempt to help me think outside the box and think about transferrable skills I made an appointment with the National Careers Service at my local job centre in the hope that they might be able to help me.

In short, they couldn't.

He waffled around and suggested things that I was already doing/I told him things that he didn't know about and then he said my most hated thing, which is something which so so so many people have said to me;

"Have you thought about teaching?"

I don't know if I'm on my own here but I find this such an odd thing to say. To me teaching is a vocational career - you either want to do it or you don't. It's not something that you do because you can't think of anything else and you have a degree.

Maybe it's because I know teachers, so I know firsthand how incredibly difficult it is to be a teacher and also that there aren't actually a lot of jobs out there. I find it worrying that people seem to be of the opinion that you can just become a teacher with the click of your fingers. I find it even more worrying that this man appeared to think that I was qualified to be a teacher because I have a degree and a Masters degree - not that I have any desire to be a teacher, or indeed any skills - apparently getting through 4 years of university is enough.

This guy was not the first person to say this to me and I have heard other people talking about it in much the same terms. In fact my brother the other day was talking about his career and said, in such an off-hand manner that I nearly fell off my chair, "And then when I get in my 50s I'll probably quit and I'll just become a teacher." Ok then. We'll see how that goes.

I shudder to think that the youth of today are being taught, not by people who really had a passion to educate our youngsters, but because they were made redundant and thought "Oh I might as well teach."

That's what I mean about it being vocational. I'm 29. I know that I don't want to teach right now and I think our education system deserves better than that.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. If you wanted to be a teacher, surely that's what your dregree would have be in? My degree is in translation and interpreting and when I struggled finding a job in the field, everyone's suggestion was to be a teacher. Err, I think not. Teaching is most definitely not a fallback career - you either have the teacher 'thing' or you don't.

  2. As much as I admire your respect for the teaching profession and admit that that would be an ideal situation, I think teaching has always been a fall-back career.

    When I graduated nearly 20 years ago it was definitely a widely-held opinion that if you got a 2:2 then teaching was your best bet.

  3. I've just read all your lack-of-job related posts and I agree with everything you've said! The 'hows the job hunt going' implying that you're not trying hard enough is the worst thing. I've just moved to London and it is HARD. I had my first job centre appointment yesterday and I'm SO excited to see the suggestions they come up with...

    Good luck!

  4. Can I just say how much I agree with your point of view here! It really really really infuriates me that people have this opinion-they just have no idea. When I first came out of University studies and my scholarship year abroad, ALL my family and people were pestering me saying, "Do a PGCE, get it under your belt!" and at that time, I adamantly said, "NO! I do NOT want to be a teacher and I think that you should only make that decision if you REALLY want to do it and right now, I don't! I'd be a BAD teacher if I did do it!". They kept on at me but I was adamant. It was only 3 years later after having got involved with church youth work and being the administrator for the music animateur course at music conservtoire, attending schools workshops that I suddenly thought that actually I wanted to do it, I was ready and I felt I had a lot to give. Even now though, even despite my knowledge it was a good decision and that I am doing good, I just wonder what life would be like if I was still in music admin. Like this morning when I had a stinking headache and had to get through 4 lessons on my feet. It's exhausting and I have been infuriated by the way some people who shouldn't be in the job (not at my school, at others I know) are getting paid money and they just don't care about the kids and the job! Sorry, rant over- it's not at you, because you are a wonderfully wise person who actually appreciates the situation as it is! You stick to your guns!x

  5. Oh my god! I don't know what to say...the teaching industry to my mind is already fcuked up enough...let's just add some people who don't care about it but can't think of anything else to do...yeah great idea. Grrrr....and here is someone who'd probably like to teach but looks at the system and how hard it is and how hypocritical it is and no! xxx


Go on. Say something. You know you want to...