Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up and the likelihood is that at least some of them will want to be teachers. However, teaching is not the only employment opportunity available if you want to work in academia – there are plenty of other roles worth considering.
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Become a Teacher
Teaching as a profession has a lot to offer young people. For starters the employment prospects are usually very good since teachers are always in demand. There is also plenty of opportunity for promotion if you are career driven. Teachers usually earn fairly good pay and can look forward to good pensions if they stay the distance, which is not something to be dismissive about. Vacation time is good in the education sector, although you will have to take your holidays at set times, which might mean you end up paying more. Lastly, and most importantly, working as a teacher means you have an opportunity to mould young minds and really make a difference to the lives of some kids. For some, this is the only reason to enter the teaching profession and anything else is a bonus.
A teaching assistant’s job is to provide support to the teacher. They don’t teach, but they can help the teacher give the lesson by assisting some of the less able pupils or fetching materials and equipment. A teaching assistant doesn’t necessarily need qualifications, but experience is important. Many teaching assistants are parents looking to do voluntary work at their children’s school, but you don’t need to have children of your own to be a teaching assistant.
All schools and educational establishments need administration staff to keep things running smoothly. An admin job in a school is no different to an admin job anywhere else, but you will need to be willing and able to deal with pupils, parents and staff, and have a good eye for detail. Most administrative assistants are expected to work outside of term time, so they don’t enjoy the same amount of holiday time as teaching staff. However, it can be a rewarding job if you want to work in a stimulating and fast-moving environment.
Educational Support Staff
There is always a demand for educational support staff in schools, colleges and universities. Support staff are needed to fulfil a variety of different roles, including the provision of emotional and financial support. Special Needs pupils will require a lot of extra support and classroom assistants and support staff are needed to ensure they are able to cope with school life. There is also a role for counsellors in academia. Pupils can benefit from talking to counsellors about any issues they may have with exam stress, bullying or life at home.
This is just a small snapshot of the many different employment opportunities in a school, college or university. There are many more roles to choose from, so if you like the idea of working in an educational environment, you can look forward to an enjoyable and varied career.