Topics on this page:
- Is teaching just for those who can’t think of what else to do?
- What qualities make a good geography teacher?
- What other experiences or life skills are useful?
- What benefits are there in geography teaching?
- Will there be jobs available after I have trained?
Is teaching just for those who can’t think of what else to do?
Certainly not! The long-standing joke about ‘those who can’t – teach’ is certainly not true today! Try to get some experience of a geography department in a school to get a flavour of what happens in the vibrant atmosphere of a successful classroom and you will see that a good teacher has skills that have been learned and developed over a number of years. This can only happen if they are certain that they wanted to be a teacher.
What qualities make a good geography teacher?
There are lots but perhaps some key qualities are:
- Being enthusiastic about geography – this will rub off on your students
- Enjoying working with children/young people and the ability to make connections with them
- Understanding the importance of geography to every young person’s future
- Being organised and committed
- Having resilience but also a sense of humour
- Willingness to try out new ideas with students
What other experiences or life skills are useful?
Working with children or young people in various ways – e.g. helping with younger pupils when at school, youth club/scouts (or similar organisation) leader, sports coach/instructor.
You may have worked with children overseas, perhaps in a gap year, or recently volunteered to help in schools. People who have had an opportunity to travel or who have worked professionally in a geography-related career also find these experiences can help them teach the subject more effectively.
How can I get experience of geography in school?
You may start by visiting your old school, or one where you have a link. But before you apply for training you should get some more ‘in depth’ experience in one or more schools. You can find schools that are offering experience if you register on the Get Into Teaching website to access the scheme.
What benefits are there in geography teaching?
Stand out moments include establishing positive relationships with pupils and getting to play a part in shaping their futures; connecting with colleagues and establishing great working relationships.
One of the main benefits is the personal satisfaction you get from making a real difference to children and young people’s lives. You play a part in shaping their futures and it is very rewarding when the ‘light dawns’ as a result of your teaching and the new experiences you have introduced them to.
Many geography teachers will tell you that they especially find this from fieldwork. Teaching is a very creative job; every day is different and one in which you can use your love of geography. It is also a career for establishing great working relationships.
Go to the DfE Get Into Teaching to find out more about the benefits of teaching as a career.
Will there be jobs available after I have trained?
Good geography teachers are in demand as geography is increasingly popular and a core academic subject of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).
You will, of course, have to apply to schools and be interviewed and you may need to move to another area for a job that suits you best. Almost all geographers find jobs although, of course, this cannot be guaranteed as you will be applying along with others.