Why a degree in education might be right for you, at any stage in life

Are you feeling unsure of what career path is right for you? Are you looking at changing jobs, or taking your life in a different direction? Perhaps you have considered teaching — a career that shapes lives, makes a real difference and is endlessly rewarding. Teaching certainly has its difficulties, but with the right attitude and motivation, you might just find that a career in teaching is perfect for you, your family and your future. Teaching boasts many attractive advantages such as variety, job security, a decent salary, long holidays, and family-friendly work times. If these are priorities for you, teaching may be a great option. Read on to learn more about whether a degree in education is the right career move for you.

Do you have good communication skills?

Teaching requires, perhaps more than any other profession, excellent communication skills. If you are craving a job that relies on relationship building and positive communication, teaching is a career for you to consider. Teaching is a very sociable job that requires you to have the ability to speak confidently and coherently in front of large numbers of people, providing compelling and inspiring lessons for students. Communication is crucial for a teacher to build formative relationships with students that encourage their learning and participation within the classroom. Especially at a time when teaching is often moved online, it is vital to have advanced communication skills that can engage students through distance learning.

Do you have patience?

The value of patience in the education sector cannot be stressed enough. When working alongside children of various ages, it is important to be able to ‘keep your cool’ and maintain control in a classroom. Students will often test your patience — forgetting their homework, talking in class, misbehaving in the corridors, etc. But it is your responsibility to guide them and provide a positive learning environment without getting flustered. It also takes patience to allow students to learn at their own pace. For example, it may take some students longer to learn certain content, or they may need more assistance with writing an essay.

Adults, too, may test your ability to be patient! Schools can be stressful environments, so you may find last-minute schedule changes and tedious meetings can be frustrating.

Do you have good organizational skills?

Another skill that will make you suitable for a career in education is being prepared and well organized. A large portion of your workload will be administrative work that involves IT skills, marking work and lesson planning, so good time management is essential to ensure you stay on top of things.

Do you have a passion for your subject?

Teaching requires a real passion for your specific subject or area of study, and this is one of the many reasons why teaching is a lifetime vocation for so many people. Teaching allows you to approach your passion in a new way, passing it down to future generations, encountering new ideas and methods, and watching students develop their knowledge and self-esteem. This makes teaching an extremely rewarding career for those who are excited by a subject and would thrive in an atmosphere of continuous learning and exploration.

Do you enjoy working with young people?

It may sound obvious, but to work in education you must be enthusiastic about working with children and young people, and approaching their learning in a holistic way. To be a teacher is a huge responsibility, as it means acting as a guide and role model for future generations. You would be surprised by the number of staff in schools who do not appear to enjoy working with children at all, thus creating a negative and detrimental atmosphere for students’ development. A degree in education can open you up to many careers working with young people, so before making any big career decisions, ensure that working alongside children 24/7 is something you can fully commit to.

Do you have resilience and energy?

A career in education is both intellectually and emotionally demanding, with its fair share of challenges. As a teacher, you need to have the ability to manage difficult behavior and situations, all while handling the stress that comes with this responsibility. It is important that you can deal with these occurrences whilst maintaining a caring approach to your students and their wellbeing. A positive outlook is essential for a classroom teacher, as it creates a positive environment for learning.

Are you willing to be flexible? 

The teaching profession is subject to regular change. Whether it is a revised curriculum or a new schedule, you will have to be able to accommodate the frequent changes in your routines and techniques as a teacher, to keep up to date with evolving ways of learning. If a classroom’s environment is too rigid, it leaves no room for growth and discovery. The key is to find a balance between structure and excitement — it is important to be flexible when the occasion warrants it. This creates an opportunity to cultivate fun within the classroom and allows students to be proactive about their own learning.

A degree in education can be flexible in itself, with options to branch into many different areas of teaching. When you further your training with a master’s in education, even more opportunities for career advancement become possible. Institutions offering courses like these are widely accessible, such as Exeter’s two-year online MA in Education.

So, is a degree in education right for you?

A degree in education is an excellent option for those with a passion they want to put to good use. Teaching is a career that suits those who are sociable, communicative, enthusiastic, and excited about learning. Teaching is a career open to a wide variety of people, accessible to those in different stages of life, with varying previous careers and experiences.