Tips for Teachers Who Want to Get Ahead



It’s not an easy profession to get promoted in, so any tips that will help a long serving teacher make that next step is very much welcome.

This list is courtesy of


Firstly, wear a suit. This may seem self-evident in most jobs, but not teaching: a profession that prides itself on cerebral, rather than sartorial, credentials. The worn elbow-patches of legend may have disappeared, but there’s still a sniffy attitude to suits amongst some teachers, together with a tendency to wear slightly shabby clothes.


Get ahead of your colleagues in IT. This is not as difficult as it sounds. For a profession supposed to be passing on plenty of knowledge, most teachers are pretty ignorant when it comes to IT – and certainly know far less about it than their pupils.

Yet schools, just like any other businesses, are increasingly run on IT expertise. Daily routines, timetables, reporting, are all now reliant on IT systems. With these skills at your finger-tips you’re bound to prosper. Being proficient in IT brings another advantage. More and more day-to-day business can be done on a computer – so it cuts out the need to deal with difficult colleagues.


Thirdly, specialise. A generation ago, the ethos of the Renaissance-style all-rounder – the “schoolmaster” and “schoolmistress”, good at everything – still ruled. Not only were teachers supposed to be excellent in the classroom, they were also meant to be equally at home on sports pitches, in an orchestra, or on the stage.

Now, with so much emphasis on exam results, league tables and the constant pressure to perform, times are very different. There’s less scope for the “jack-of-all-trades” approach – more need for the focused teacher, whose classes and courses run like clockwork and whose results are totally reliable.

So rather than strutting around in sports kit or strumming a cello, this means spending more time attending exam board “inset” (in-service training) sessions, becoming adept at spotting the techniques examiners require for success. It’s deadly dull – but every school needs its exam specialists.


Next, try and be nice to everyone in the staff-room – or “common-room”, as it’s called here. Teachers can sometimes seem unfriendly. Not surprisingly, as most of us are too frazzled after classes to small-talk much. When I started, it was quite common for older staff to keep a disdainful distance from younger teachers, still less chat to them.

In contrast, those aiming for the top should take the time to talk to colleagues, young and old alike. That way, when that first promotion arrives, they will be genuinely pleased for you, rather than mutter behind your back.


Lastly, always carry a mobile phone. Despite being one of the few professions that doesn’t really need them, they make you look important . Just make sure it doesn’t go off in lessons.


Click on the link to read my post Mindless Theory Not Benefiting Young Teachers

Click on the link to read my post Care About Your Students or Find a Different Career

Click on the link to read my post I Can’t Recall Anything Useful About My Teaching Course

Click on the link to read my post Why Principals Overlook Young Teachers


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: