Around 1.5 million people could now be thinking about joining the teaching profession – despite not considering it before lockdown, according to a charity.
The charity Now Teach says there has been a 70 per cent rise in numbers of applications in people wishing to become teachers under lockdown.
The top three reasons, according to its survey, were the desire to work with children and young people (23 per cent), the desire to have a social impact (19 per cent) and job security (18 per cent).
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A charity spokesperson said: “Lockdown has led to a marked increase in the status of teachers. Respondents with school-age offspring – who have spent the past two months homeschooling their children – overwhelmingly reported increased gratitude to teachers and respect for what they do.”
The survey of more than 2,000 people (representative of the adult population as a whole) revealed that 25 per cent of people had become more grateful for the work of teachers since lockdown, and that 64 per cent of parents have enjoyed the process of homeschooling.
It also found that almost one in 10 people were now reconsidering what to do with their working lives – but that they were not mostly the furloughed or unemployed but rather “hopeful career changers” still in full-time employment.
Lucy Kellaway, co-founder of Now Teach, said there had been a “leap in interest” in teaching, adding that “the pandemic has shone a light on the emptiness of some jobs and made people want to do something that really matters”.
Sameera Cooper, who worked in catering and ran a pop-up business before deciding to become a teacher during lockdown, said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed by my children’s teachers; they are enthusiastic and committed. This lockdown period has been a real catalyst. It’s made me think, ‘Right, I should become a teacher now’. I want to give something back.”
Khasruz Zaman, who left his career in corporate law two years ago and joined Now Teach in 2019, said: “I previously thought dealing with the 2008 financial crisis would be the defining moment of my professional life, but this pandemic has eclipsed that and provided a fresh perspective on what truly matters.”
Now Teach supports professionals to retrain as secondary school teachers, helping them secure a training placement and then supporting them to complete teacher training.