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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 15:26 GMT
From classroom to the rat race
More graduates are opting to teach
School teachers might be forgiven for thinking they were caught in a stampede of people rushing to get into teaching from other professions.

There have been several recent high-profile converts to teaching, including the former Labour spin-doctor Jo Moore and Tony Blair's chief speech-writer Peter Hyman.

He is said to be the man behind the "education, education, education" slogan.

Graduate recruitment is up and the "use your head" campaign aimed at persuading people to leave the rat race for teaching has had a high profile.

In addition, some City firms are backing a scheme for graduates to spend two years teaching before taking up a job in finance.

But not everyone finds what they are looking for in the classroom.

Three years ago Steve McCormack turned his back on his job as a BBC news correspondent to teach maths in London secondary schools.

He blames the workload for his decision to return to broadcasting.

"Teaching can be brilliant. There are some magic moments that illuminate the daily grind, but for me the relentless workload - day in, day out, day and night, weekends - was too much.

I was in floods as I hugged my closest friends, about to embark on what could prove to be the most expensive folly of my life
Rich Peters

"I have done some difficult jobs in journalism but I had never done a job which touches how difficult and all-consumingly wearing teaching is," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio Four.

The Teacher Training Agency (TTA)says many people do find the satisfaction they are craving in teaching.

Mary Doherty, the director of recruitment at the TTA, said: "What we are finding is that people do look forward to the pleasures and using their heads to engage with young people.

"Many teachers find many golden moments in a day."

Steve McCormack found teenagers' attitudes difficult.

"Too many kids come into classrooms in the wrong frame of mind.

"It's a daily feature for most secondary school teachers that they are fighting against attitudes - poor motivation, indifference, hostility - so that the teaching does not happen enough."

He paid tribute to people staying in the teaching profession.

"There are some fantastic teachers around schools in this the country who have been doing the job for five, 10 and 20 years.

"They are performing miracles. They are the real heroes and heroines of our society but sadly too few people stay in the job longer than two or three years."

Ms Doherty said would-be career-changers should not be put off.

"They should phone our teaching information line and come on a taster course and find out what it is like but also speak to the other teachers who do stay in the profession and make an enormous contribution to society," she said.

More apply for teacher training
05 Feb 04  |  Education
Teaching targets City workers
05 Jan 04  |  Business
'Me generation' turns to teaching
04 Aug 03  |  Education
Third of teachers plan to quit
07 Jan 03  |  Education
Tempting graduates into teaching
23 May 02  |  Education

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