For anyone who’s ever thought about a new job in teaching, now could be the perfect time to take action. 

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has set out plans to attract and retain the next generation of teachers. His strategy includes a series of measures, including early career support, reductions in classroom workloads and opportunities for flexible and part-time working. 

It’s hoped the new initiative will deliver on his commitment to champion the profession – and build on the 30,000 classroom teachers the government aims to recruit each year, support the 450,000 teachers already working in schools and boost academic outcomes for pupils. 

Under the proposals, new teachers will receive a two-year package of training and support at the start of their career, including a reduced timetable to allow them to make the most of their training. Meanwhile, a new one-stop system for candidates, aims to simplify the whole process of applying to become a teacher. 

Measures to reduce teachers’ workload include doing away with laborious tasks such as data entry, simplifying the accountability system to clarify when a school needs intervention or support, and working with Ofsted to ensure staff duties are taken into consideration as part of school inspections. 

Of course, the teaching profession is already hugely attractive to a broad range of candidates of all ages and backgrounds. But what does a typical day in the life of secondary teacher look like? 

Well, the first thing to note is this isn’t a typical clock-in-clock-out job. While being a teacher is deeply rewarding, it can also be challenging and often involves longer than planned workdays.  

A typical year sees teachers at school 195 days, including five which are in-service training, with 13 or more weeks of holidays on full pay – but the notion of short days and long holidays is, unfortunately, mythical. 

Teachers may have a defined rota, with set hours devoted to classes, but the working day is usually longer. Often a teacher arrives up to an hour before the first bell – at 8.30am or 9am – to make sure everything is ready for the day’s lessons. 

A break for lunch isn’t always a leisurely affair: much of the time can be spent catching up on work strategies with colleagues or even getting ahead with exam marking.  

Afternoon lessons take place from until 3pm to 4pm, depending on the school, but this is not the end of business. There may be parents to meet, class schedules to prepare and assessments to be completed. There are also regular staff training sessions. And some weeks you may have to be Dr Who – bending time and space to fit in mentoring teaching assistants, taking after-school classes, overseeing detentions and attending parents’ evenings. Most teachers will be happy to leave school at teatime on a ‘normal’ day. 

Often there is time spent at weekends, too, planning and creating lesson plans, while even holidays are used as time-out periods: a pool-side hammock can be the perfect place to analyse the previous months’ work and pinpoint areas for improvement. 

If all of this sounds like a tough gig, that’s because it can be: it takes real dedication, drive and passion to succeed in teaching. The upside is the profession comes with many benefits. No day is ever the same – most teachers will tell you to always expect the unexpected. And as you share your passion for your chosen subject, there will be many times when you feel the satisfaction of witnessing students have that lightbulb learning moment. 

On top of this, you’ll also be helping youngsters grow into responsible, well-adjusted adults – yes, it’s a teacher’s mission to change lives for the better. 

There are many different routes into teaching, and you should choose the one that’s best suited to you. First you must have a degree and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Training (ITT).  

If your goal is to teach youngsters at primary level you should have the minimum requirements in GCSE English and maths, plus GCSE science – and then there’s the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. As well as state schools, there are opportunities to teach in academies, independent schools and free schools in England without gaining your QTS. 

Ultimately, what does a teacher enjoy most about their working day? The sheer joy of enriching the lives of young people with knowledge and skills – and watching them grow into mature, confident school leavers. 

Want a new career with built-in job satisfaction? If our Job Spotlight has illuminated possibilities for you, take a look at all of the latest teaching vacancies on offer online now.