What Type of Teacher Do You Want to Be?

Certain you want to be an educator but not so sure what kind? Not everyone is destined for the classroom or lecture hall. There are many paths you can take, leading to different instructional roles from administrator to principal to childhood educator to adult tutor. You can even teach online full-time. The possibilities are endless. All you need is a passion for education. In this article we’ll outline a few teacher types and how to fill each role.

What are the different teacher types?

You can become any type of educator that resonates with you, whether that’s an early childhood, primary, or secondary teacher; a specialist teacher in your chosen field; or a teacher’s aide, TAFE teacher, or non-teaching professional. If you enjoy working with children, try your hand at early childhood or primary school teaching. If you feel more comfortable with older students, become a secondary school instructor. If you’d like to teach uni level in your field of expertise, try becoming a specialist teacher in one of the following areas:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Arts, including dance, drama, visual arts and music
  • Astronomy and Physics
  • Aviation and Aerospace Studies
  • Building and Construction skills
  • Design
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Engineering
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Horticulture and Agriculture Sciences
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Languages
  • Marine Sciences
  • Media, Film and Television
  • Modern and Ancient History
  • Outdoor Education and Recreation
  • Philosophy and Reason
  • Psychology
  • Robotics, coding and digital solutions
  • Special Education

You could also support another teacher by becoming a teacher’s aide or assistant; deliver tertiary and further education instruction for a TAFE institution; or work as a nonteaching professional such as a speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or school nurse.

Which teachers are in high demand?

Teachers are in high demand across Australia as student numbers surge. According to Teach Queensland, teaching a high-priority discipline is a sure way to guarantee yourself work in the teaching field. These disciplines include STEM subjects like biology, chemistry, engineering, industrial design, and robotics; special education and language studies in rural and remote communities; and senior English at the secondary level.

According to the NSW Department of Education, technological and applied studies (TAS) teachers are in high demand. These teachers cover a range of subjects, including agriculture, industrial technology, design and technology, engineering studies, food and technology, and software design. TAS teachers who are approved to teach design and technology in combination with engineering studies or industrial technology (timber, metal or graphics) are especially employable. Special education teachers and school counsellors are also highly sought after. To become a school counsellor, you’d also need an accredited degree in psychology and post-graduate qualifications in school counselling. STEM teachers are also in demand in NSW, with science teachers approved to teach physics at the top of the list. Mathematics comes in at a close second.

How do you teach online?

If the classroom environment doesn’t call to you, or you’d like to spend some time traveling while you work, try becoming an online tutor or teacher. You don’t need a teaching degree to teach online, but you may need a TEFL certificate or similar, so check the requirements according to the company you’re applying to work for. If you don’t want to work for a specific company, you can take the entrepreneurial route and offer your own private lessons. That way, you can set your own hours and work according to your own teaching standards.

Autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire?

Finally, what style of teaching do you see yourself implementing? Will you be the type of teacher who makes all the decisions yourself, executively choosing the structure of each lesson? Will you be a democratic teacher, involving students in your curriculum design? Or will you be laissez-faire, creating a structure but leaving things very open and experimental?

“The autocratic style is the traditional teacher who keeps the power and decision-making authority in the classroom,” explain the founders of Zizzy Training, an adult learning agency in London. “The teacher provides knowledge for the learners to ‘use’ but doesn’t consult with learners and let them have any say in how the knowledge is imparted. The teacher expects that knowledge is absorbed and gives no thought to understanding.”

The democratic teacher, by contrast, facilitates group participation and discussion, and allows students to contribute to the decision-making process. Finally, you have laissez-faire:

“Laissez-faire developed from a dissatisfaction about the other styles. The laissez-faire teacher expects his or her class to meet their educational desires with little direction and only according to the classroom’s needs, constraints, and educational requirements.”

It’s up to you to decide how much or how little say you’d like to have over your teaching environment.

Where can you find teaching jobs?

Once you’ve settled on the type of educator you’d like to become, you can complete the necessary coursework and start applying for jobs. Some of the best resources for finding jobs in the education field include Teachers On Net, Teach Away, Tes, Indeed, Smart Teachers, Jobaroo, and Jora. If you take a look at job platforms like these right now, you’ll see ads for Early Childhood teachers, Primary teachers, Junior School classroom teachers, Director of Teaching and Learning, Secondary school teachers, learning support teachers, and more.

Becoming an educator is one of the most fulfilling things you can do with your career. What better way to use the knowledge you’ve acquired than to pass it on? Figuring out your calling as an educator will take some time and self-reflection—trust your gut. Once you’ve decided on a direction, you can sign up for a course and even learn online from the comfort of your home. After that, it’s only a couple of steps on the way to your new post as an instructor. Enjoy the journey and feel free to share your experience in the comments below.



Saga Briggs is an author at InformED. You can follow her on Twitter@sagamilena or read more of her writing here.

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