'I Do Not Want to See Disgraced Former Bankers Becoming Teachers. Teaching Now Seems to Command No Respect'
Wilce, Hilary, The Independent (London, England)
It's true that teaching has changed fundamentally since you were at school before the Second World War, and there are many things that would probably make your hair stand on end if you were visit a school today. You might find teachers wearing jeans, or teachers with tattoos and piercings, or teachers speaking with accents that would make you shudder, or gay teachers who are out and proud.
Times change, and schools change with them. One of the great changes in recent years has been the growing number of teachers coming into schools after pursuing another profession. In my experience, many of these teachers are thrilled to find a job that is challenging, collegiate, worthwhile and people-centred, and happily give it 100 per cent. They don't moan and whinge in the same way that life-time teachers sometimes do - they know how excruciating other jobs can be. Some who have come out of the City have been so good that they have won national awards for their teaching practice, and are often so high-energy that they launch new opportunities for pupils on top of their classroom duties.
So I, personally, will be delighted if more bankers and traders now become teachers, especially if they are able to bring some badly needed maths skills into schools - although that, of course, is a questionable assumption. Not all of them will be great at the job, but neither are all existing teachers.
You are wrong that teaching used to be a respected profession. In my experience, it was exactly the opposite. When I left university in the 1960s, the university careers office would tell every hapless undergraduate who had failed to get into Shell or IBM or the civil service that they needn't worry because "there's always teaching". Back then, it was definitely the job of last resort. …