Why teaching? Teachers have highest starting salary
CAO Countdown: Survey shows primary teachers have the best employment prospects of any group of undergraduates
Gone are the days where the occasional lazy teacher could simply kick back and get students to read the textbook
Teaching remains a prestigious profession in Ireland. The relatively high CAO points reflect that young people believe that it offers good career prospects. The long summer holidays, Easter and Christmas breaks are a draw - and many people outside the education profession may scoff at them - but teaching can be hard work, particularly for those working in less wealthy areas of the country: when they’re in the classroom, teachers are always on and, outside the classroom, planning, paperwork and corrections never end.
The job of a teacher has changed significantly. Gone are the days where the occasional lazy teacher could simply kick back and get students to read the textbook. Although some second-level students reading this will undoubtedly have had this exact teacher, teachers are more accountable than ever and, particularly at primary school, junior cycle and transition year, are expected to actively engage with their classes.
Teacher unions say that better pay and conditions would entice more teachers to the profession
However, many of Ireland’s qualified teachers are being lured abroad by better pay and conditions in the middle east, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and China. The Government has signalled that it will examine the two-tier pay structure in the profession, which sees those recruited after 2011 on a lower payscale than their colleagues. Teacher unions say that better pay and conditions would entice more teachers to the profession.
Last year, points for primary teaching at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick rose from 466 to 474, at Marino from 451 to 462 and at DCU from 462 to 464. Maynooth’s Froebel primary teaching course remained the most popular, with points rising from 485 to 499.
A recent survey from the Higher Education Authority found that education graduates have the highest starting salary of any group of graduates, earning €38,701 within nine months of graduation. They also had the best employment prospects of any group of undergraduates, with 81 per cent in full-time employment and 11 per cent in part-time employment.
It’s worth noting that primary teachers leave college fully-trained for a specific vocation: only three per cent go on to further study or training, although many teachers return, later in their career, to education postgraduates.
With the exception of a few undergraduate courses for second-level teachers - notably UL’s science teacher and PE teacher courses, as well as DCU’s science teaching course - secondary teachers have to do a two-year postgraduate training course to gain their qualification.
With a continuous stream of initiatives and curriculum reforms, teachers are expected to engage in continuous professional development throughout their career.