Don’t become a teacher, warn most teachers

Victoria WalderseeData Journalist
April 15, 2019, 5:57 AM GMT+0

Three quarters of teachers in Britain say the work-life balance is worse than they had imagined - and most wouldn’t recommend the job to a young person

Four in ten teachers would not choose their profession again if they could start over, and more than half say it’s unlikely they’d encourage young people to follow their career path, reveals the latest YouGov survey. Just one in four teachers (23%) would recommend the job to a student.

Making a difference

When asked what the positive aspects of the job were, the vast majority said being able to make a difference to children's lives (82%), doing a job that’s different every day (67%) and being able to challenge yourself (52%).

When asked which aspects would put them off recommending the career, most said the large workload (93%) and long hours (84%).

Just over half (55%) said their own career experiences would make them unlikely to recommend becoming a teacher. Half (49%) also identified the poor salary.

Work-life balance

Three quarters of teachers (73%) say the work-life balance is worse than they'd imagined when they decided to go into the job. Conversely, one in four (23%) say it’s actually better.

Those newer to the profession are more likely to reply favourably: four in ten (42%) of those with one to five years service say their work-life balance is the same or better then expected, compared to just one in five (22%) of those with 16 to 20 years service.

Primary school teachers report most negatively

The survey reveals more strain among primary school teachers across all questions: nearly eight in ten (77%) Key Stage 1 teachers say their work-life balance is worse than they'd imagined, compared to six in ten (63%) Key Stage 5 teachers.

Six in ten primary school teachers (58%) would advise against going into teaching, compared to half (47%) of secondary school teachers.

The same proportion (62%) say their experience of teaching makes them unlikely to recommend it, compared to just over four in ten (44%) secondary school teachers.

‘I wouldn’t do it again’

Just under half (44%) of teachers say that knowing what they know now about the profession, they would not decide to go into teaching again if they could go back to the beginning of their career.

A third (36%) still would. This figure is higher among newer teachers with just one to five years of service, who over half (55%) would do it again.

Photo: Getty

See full results here