Teaching Is “One of the Least Popular Jobs in the UK”
1 The UK government has just published a report on the future of secondary-school teaching (pupils aged 11-16), and the conclusion of the report is that many secondary schools now face great difficulties in finding people who want to be teachers, Since the 1980s, the number of graduates who say they would “seriously consider” teaching as a career has fallen sharply, from 64% in 1982 to just 17% today. The report suggests that urgent action needs to be taken in order to encourage more intelligent young graduates into teaching.
2 The main drawback of secondary teaching, according to the report, is the low salary. Earnings in teaching are much lower than in many other jobs, and this means that fewer and fewer young people decide to be teachers. Joanne Manners, 24, is a good example: “I graduated in maths last year, and I was thinking of doing a teacher-training course to become a maths teacher — but when I looked into the details, it became clear that teaching isn’t a very lucrative (赚钱的) job these days. I saw I could earn twice as much if I worked in marketing or advertising, and so I decided not to become a teacher”.
3 It’s not just about the money, however. The survey concluded that another reason why people don’t want to be teachers is that some teenagers behave very badly in school. A lot of schools have problems with discipline, and it seems clear that children do not have the same respect for teachers as in the past. Here’s the view of Dave Hallam, an accountant from London: “I think parents are to blame. They should have stricter rules with their children at home and also teach their children to have more respect for teachers”.
4. “I love teaching; it’s my passion. I’ve been a secondary-school teacher of Spanish for ten years now, and although it’s a very demanding job, it’s very satisfying. When I see my students passing their Spanish exams, or singing along to Spanish pop songs, it makes me feel so proud,” says Brian Jones, who works in a secondary school in London. So what does he think the government should do to encourage more people to become teachers? “My view is that the government should reduce the burden of work on teachers. I find that I always have too much work to do.”
5 The report is clear that the problem of teacher shortage is a very serious one. It says that the government should raise teachers’ pay significantly, to catch up with workers in other professions. It also suggests that the government could launch a nationwide publicity campaign, with some advertisements on TV and in the newspapers, to show the positive sides of teaching to young people. Another solution could be set a maximum number of hours per week that teachers can work, in order to reduce stress on teachers. “Hopefully,” the report concludes, “these solutions can improve the poor image of secondary teaching, and increase the number of young people who want to become teachers in the future.”