Image of Amy Mitchell
Amy Mitchell

Time to reboot your teaching career? Five ways to help you decide

So you’re one of the 50,000 former teachers who’d consider a return to the classroom?* The fact that you’re even reading this is a great first step.

We’re guessing you still have quite a lot of thinking to do before taking the plunge? We chatted to our Head of Programme Insights, Amy Mitchell, about what might help to make up your mind. Here are her top five tips:

1. Know your reasons

Have a big old soul-search about why you left the profession in the first place, and write it all down. Be completely honest with yourself. Were there personal circumstances affecting your decision at the time? Were you finding it hard to give your career the focus it needed in amongst other things going on in your busy life? Were you experiencing specific challenges in relation to the particular school in which you were working? 

Now think hard about why you might be keen to go back. Have your personal circumstances changed? Are you living in a new area? Has something happened to give you a renewed passion for teaching and education? In other words, can you cross anything off your first list?

Ultimately you need to make sure your reasons for wanting to go back into the classroom are strong enough to outweigh the challenges you might face. 

2. Get back into school

Don’t assume that the things you didn’t enjoy when you used to teach are still the same – our schools and their systems are constantly changing and evolving. Only by visiting a local school will you be able to see first-hand what’s changed and what’s the same. Of course there’ll also be new challenges and pressures, but chances are you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be immersed within these inspiring micro-communities, so remind yourself. 

3. Get fired-up – about your subject and current debates

Rediscover what you loved about your subject and think back to some of your favourite lessons. What would you do differently? What experiences have you had since leaving the profession that you could draw on to inform your practice in the future?

Also start to get your head around the latest issues in the education sector. Have a look on Twitter, or consider attending one of the many (many!) education conferences to re-engage with current research and thinking. Do these issues and debates get you fired-up and passionate to get stuck in to make a difference? 

4. Identify what makes you tick

In the time since you left teaching you’ll have had the chance to better understand what motivates you, what you need (and don’t need) from a workplace and, ultimately, what makes you tick. The big questions are these: is it teaching that makes you tick? And can you imagine living the rest of your life without ever teaching again? If you can answer both of these, you’ve probably made your decision. The question you need to ask yourself next is: if not now, then when? 

5. Don’t doubt your doubts

Still having doubts? Here’s a thought: are those doubts actually a bad thing? At Teach First, we know that choosing whether to get back into teaching or not is a huge decision. But we also know that schools tackling the greatest challenges need teachers who’ve put the greatest thought into making this commitment. By investing in the time that this life-altering decision deserves, you're probably exactly who they're looking for.

If you’re considering reconnecting with teaching, we can support you. This year, our Reconnect with Teaching programme is operating in secondary schools in London and the South West, covering science, maths, English, geography and MFL. You can apply at any time of year and start at the beginning of any term. Apply now and you could be placed as early as January 2020. Find out more and register your interest


*Source: Teach First/YouGov poll

Copy to clipboard caution chat check-off check-on close cog-off cog-on down first-page home-off home-on info last-page mail minus mobile more next pdf person play plus prev question radio-off radio-on return search trail up filter facebook google+ LinkedIn twitter YouTube Instagram Share This TF_ECEF_lock-up_full col_RBG