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Is a career in primary teaching right for me?

Is a career in primary teaching right for me?

So you want to teach in a primary school?

Let’s look at the skills you’ll need to join this truly rewarding career.



You’ll need to:

Enjoy being around children.

This might seem obvious but it is definitely a must-have! If you’ve never spent much time around kids, try volunteering at a local primary school. You’ll soon find out if the thought of being surrounded by children all day is for you.

Be good at communicating.

You’re going to have to switch between explaining a skill to a child, to asking another adult to help you, to getting your voice heard in a staff meeting. Being able to communicate well is a vital skill for teachers.

Be organised.

Teachers tend to get excited by stationery (just see this tweet from our very own ‘laminator man’ for proof!) and there is a reason for that. Teachers have a million-and-one tasks they need to keep on top of. No one wants to drown under a sea of post-its; organisation is a key skill for managing a primary school classroom.


Have energy, stamina and resilience.

Teachers work hard to provide the best education they can for their children. Think you understand column addition? Try explaining it in more ways than you thought possible to really test your understanding!  

Be a leader.

Your class and the other adults you work with will look to you for leadership every day.

Be a team player.

Teaching is a team game. You will need the support of the school community to help the children in your class reach their full potential. Don’t be afraid to go on the journey together.

Be creative.

Children learn best when all the areas of their brain are stimulated and they are having fun. Creative lessons are enjoyable and memorable (and they tend to require less marking! Win!).


Be a problem solver.

You’ll need to problem-solve creative solutions more often than you think as a teacher. Demonstrating your resilience to problems will give your class a great model to follow.

Be empathetic.

The children and adults you work with will all have the occasional bad day. Show them you care and help them feel valued in school.

Now you know some of the skills a primary teacher needs you can decide if you are ready to join this life changing profession. Head this way to UCAS find different routes into teaching.

And if you do decide teaching is the right career for you make sure you follow our NQT Tips board on Pinterest for loads of ideas that will help you in your first year of teaching!

Catherine Lynch

Hi! I'm a former primary school teacher and resource creator at PlanBee. I'm a qualified Play Therapist and I am interested in mental health and wellbeing in schools and government education policy. I enjoy creating practical lessons, especially topic lessons that have a science or English focus.

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Twitter: @planbeecath

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