Top 10 Reasons To Leave Teaching: Number 6: Low Status

The status of teachers in the UK can be summed up in the popular sentiment, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” Most people think that this is the case, and obviously consider themselves to be one of ‘those that can do’, simply from the fact that they are not a teacher. This puts teachers at an immediate disadvantage, and I think every teacher can think of one set of parents they have met who certainly made no secret of the fact that they feel this way.

I think teachers also occupy a grudge based status in the popular eye, as every person can remember a teacher that they didn’t like, and that they perceived to either be very scary and pick on them or completely ruin a subject because they were not liked. As with a lot of things that happen in childhood, this never truly leaves some people, and teachers are afforded the status of being hate figures, to be ignored as being killjoys and sadists who enjoy the act of telling off.

Similarly, teachers are not only allocated a low social status, but also a low status in terms of earning potential. It is widely accepted that teachers have lower salaries than comparable jobs in the private sector, and a lot take on additional work to help make ends meet. When you consider the workload that an average teacher has, this is a totally unreasonable thing to expect a teacher to do.

I think it’s down to personal experience as well, in that everyone has had a teacher and has been to school, that makes everyone think they know what teaching is like. Personal opinions of life as a teacher, related to misconceptions about the job, mean that it’s something everyone thinks they are an expert on. This waters down and lowers the status of any messages a teacher is trying to get across, and makes sources of help and support a lot less adequate.

Teaching is as essential to the running of the country as the Police, the NHS and the armed forces, and should be a high status job that gains respect from all.

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