The 'bankers to teachers' phenomenon

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Twelve months of recession and redundancies have contributed to a shift in peoples’ attitudes to what they want from their professional lives, according to a Future Foundation report for the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

In an effort to understand the 50 per cent increase in enquiries to teacher training over the past year, Added values: why professionals could be turning to teaching asked people from the banking, management, architecture and legal sectors whether their career priorities have changed since the recession began a year ago.

The findings reveal a significant decrease in the importance of factors like ‘makes people envious of me’ (-18 per cent) and ‘having manager in my title’ (-15 per cent), while ‘softer’ values including ‘having a job with variety’ (+33 per cent), ‘inspiring people’ (+ 20 per cent) and ‘making a difference’ (+20 per cent) see major increases.  Other values gaining ground include: ‘learning new things’ (+33 per cent) ‘acceptable stress levels’ (+25 per cent) and ‘time for leisure pursuits and hobbies’ (+10 per cent).

Researchers also asked the groups whether they would be interested in becoming teachers. The 50 per cent who answered positively were also the ones most likely to have reported a shift in the values listed above.

Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the Training and Development Agency for Schools, said: “This report shows that, while teaching is certainly not the job for everyone, there is a large pool of people who have the right motivations for changing careers and entering the classroom.

“What is particularly exciting about this report is that those who would consider teaching are those who value variety, making a difference and being inspirational at work - which are all fundamental pre-requisites for being a good teacher.

“Teaching is now the career of choice.  As so many more people are applying for teacher training, we are in the luxurious position of being able to choose from the best. My advice to those who want to enter this exciting, graduate profession is to get experience in a school to see whether you are up to the challenge.  And, if you think you are, get your application in early before places go - because they will.”

James Carter, a former head-hunter, left City life for the classroom in 2008.  He is now a newly qualified teacher working in an inner city school in Haringey.

James said: “As part of my job I was horizon scanning any way and I could see how badly the recession was going to hit us. I’ve always wanted to go into teaching, but was attracted to the money and lifestyle in the City. I decided to seize the opportunity to give something back and work in a profession that I was really passionate about. Since the change, I have never looked back."

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