Smarter Scotland: Teaching makes people…

Smarter Scotland on why teaching in 'STEM' could be a great career move for you...

Teaching is continually voted one of the most satisfying jobs in the world. Varied and rewarding, there are plenty opportunities for self-development and career progression. Scotland is looking for all sorts of teachers but particularly in chemistry, computing, home economics, maths and physics.

And a great salary, conditions and a generous pension await those who move into teaching: newly-qualified teachers earn £35,763 after five years, with head teachers in Scotland’s largest schools earning up to £86,319.

Why should you think about training to teach? A few teachers share their experiences.

David Buchanan (pictured above) moved into teaching after graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical and Process Engineering, then working as project manager in the private banking sector. After almost two years in the classroom, he is sure he made the right choice.

I feel I can inspire the next generation into careers in STEM

“Due to my appreciation and experience of the many great applications of mathematics, I feel I can inspire the next generation into careers in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths],” says David. “Being able to draw on examples from engineering not only helps the understanding of mathematical principles but also makes lessons more engaging for students.

“To anyone thinking about a career as a STEM teacher I would highly recommend it. There are few careers where you are fortunate enough to be a part of something that is always evolving and regularly appearing in the news with new discoveries or breakthroughs.”

Gillian Angus

Gillian Angus (pictured above) has been teaching for 10 years, “and no day is the same,” says the Hazelhead Academy teacher. “The students I teach are a mix of abilities so I differentiate the lesson in order to cater for them. As a teacher you learn what works and what doesn’t and you understand how to develop your lessons in order to make them more interesting for your pupils.”


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Having graduated in engineering and working in sports development, Stuart Law (below) became a physics and science teacher, and hasn’t looked back. “The job requires you to be super organised to keep on top of all your work but it’s ultimately great fun, really interesting and very rewarding,” he says .

Stuart Law

“You’re challenged every day by great questions that young people ask. It’s amazing when you can see the pupils having a lightbulb moment, just like some of the great scientists before them!”

You’re challenged every day by great questions that young people ask

And Helen Murray (below), who switched career from being a scientist in an environmental monitoring laboratory and now teaches chemistry at Bucksburn Academy, has good advice for anyone who is tempted by the idea of being a teacher, but isn’t sure.

Helen Murray

“My advice to anyone thinking of becoming a Science, Design and Technology or Maths teacher is to spend some time observing in your local high school and see whether you think you could juggle all the demands of being a teacher,” she says.

“It took me a while to adjust to the idea of strict routine where everything is dictated by the bell but you quickly realise that every class is different which means every day is different, and I think that is one of my favourite things about the job.”

For information, materials and advice about becoming a teacher or just what being a teacher is like, visit