The UK is struggling with a national teacher shortage. While teaching has never been easy, the number of teachers falling out of the workforce has increased. According to UK National Statistics, almost 34,000 teachers left education in 2020 alone. As for current teachers, they don’t plan on staying for long.
According to the National Education Union survey from 2021, 35% of teachers said they will not be working in education by 2026. This massive walkout of teachers results in a massive shortage of teachers in a field where the rate of secondary students is set to increase. The department of education predicts that the number of secondary school students will increase by 15% by 2027.
Following this trend of teachers leaving the industry, demand for teachers has continued to increase. So if you are looking for new teaching candidates that can inspire the minds of a new generation, here are some of the most in-demand teaching skills they will need to do well.
Ten most in-demand teaching skills
With a national teacher shortage, qualified teachers willing to work in education is the most in-demand skill schools are looking for. However, some more specific skills will help give teachers an edge over the competition.
1. Subject specialism
Schools want to see teachers who specialise in specific subjects. So teachers who are good with different topics, especially maths and physics, will always be in demand.
Plus, schools with a staff shortage are more likely to try out teachers on specialised subjects, even if they don’t have formal experience in those areas. Teachers who put in the time to brush up on specific subjects will likely have a better chance of landing jobs.
2. Ability to work in challenging environments
Unless they specialise in a specific subject, teachers don’t have much choice when it comes to schools. But teachers who are willing to work in “challenging” schools, such as schools in low-income or rural areas, will always be in high demand. Even if they don’t specialise in a specific subject, a willingness to work in a variety of environments can offer a serious leg up.
Flexibility is one of the most important skills that any teacher needs, especially in light of recent events. Teachers should be capable of moving from one way of teaching to another, including in-person and remote learning.
Of course, adaptability isn’t just about changing circumstances. Teachers who show dedication, like staying at school a little longer to finish their work or help out a struggling student, can set themselves apart.
Teaching can be stressful and comes with a substantial workload, so candidates who can thrive under pressure and adapt to whatever’s thrown their way are in high demand.
4. Experience teaching
Experience in any field can be a huge positive, but nowhere is it more apparently advantageous for teachers. Some things come to a teacher with age and experience, and even a year or two of experience can have you teaching in a personal classroom.
While in-demand, a teacher may be making their debut into teaching, so they do not have much experience. However, having little experience in teaching should not put them off from applying. Sometimes schools want a subject matter expert and are willing to overlook their lack of experience.
Teachers have to juggle classes, marking, lesson planning, and even personal responsibilities during their day-to-day jobs. Those with strong organisational skills will be able to better manage all of their responsibilities and duties.
Plus, a big part of teaching is helping students stay organised. Teachers who struggle with organisational skills will have a harder time keeping their students organised.
6. Conflict resolution
We all know students love to push new teachers’ limits. Students often test a teacher’s authority by undermining what they have to say or disrupting lessons. So teachers who excel at resolving conflicts before they get out of hand will be better equipped to jump into the classroom.
Plus, students are bound to have verbal brawls with each other. So teachers who can diffuse these situations quickly without losing too much learning time will be higher up on schools’ shortlists.
Leadership qualities always make a teacher more appealing. Part of the job is working with students with different learning styles and needs. Teachers need to inspire confidence in the students they teach and encourage them to learn.
Teachers with good leadership qualities will be better equipped to fully engage students and offer them positive reinforcement. This is an especially important skill for teachers in secondary schools, where students are beginning to decide on the next steps for their lives and need extra guidance and support.
Confidence is an essential skill for any job candidate, but it’s vital for teachers. Standing at the centre of a classroom and holding everyone’s attention is tough, and teachers need to be able to handle the pressure. Regardless of whether their students are children or adults, they should comfortably stand before a class and deliver a lesson.
More confidence also allows teachers to answer questions that students might have or better deal with disruptions in class.
Not all students understand concepts in the same way, so teachers must be creative with their approach. Finding solutions to tricky problems will help teachers positively influence their students and help them learn in their own way.
Creative problem solving is also infectious, so the more creative a teacher is, the more creative their students will be. Creativity is one of those win-win skills for students and teachers, and can also help boost many of the other skills we’ve mentioned in this list!
We’ve saved the most important skill for last: communication. Teachers need to communicate with students simply and effectively. They should be able to explain different concepts easily, and they should find creative ways to share ideas with different students.
Communication is key when teachers need to confer with other teachers or school administrators. They need to be comfortable conveying issues in the classroom and giving updates on student progress. Plus, teaching is all about problem-solving. So candidates eager to work with fellow teachers to refine their approach will do better in the long run.
Stay on top of the latest recruitment trends
Looking to stay informed about teacher shortages, in-demand skills, education recruitment or recruitment in general? Then head to the crooton blog where we talk about a wide range of recruitment topics including the state of education recruitment, how to best appeal to Generation Z candidates, and how to reduce bias in your interview process.