Working life

My teaching salary is good. The rewards are even better.

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

Amy Robinson, a recent graduate who teaches year five pupils at Sidmouth Primary School, Kingston upon Hull, talks about how her career in teaching fulfils her life goals and allows her to achieve highlights at work every day.

Teaching salary and rewards

I’m the first teacher in my family. When I was younger I was inspired by my mum, who is a nurse and was always supporting and looking after people. Once I was at school, I admired my primary school teachers and becoming a teacher became my career goal. My mum has a couple of pictures of me with my teddy bears in a circle, taking the register and doing role play. In sixth form I did some volunteering to see what teaching was really like and I absolutely loved it. I knew this was the job for me.

I graduated with a degree from the University of Hull in 2022 after studying Primary Teaching for three years. Once I’d decided to become a teacher, I wanted the quickest route to qualifying – it was a great course that included qualified teacher status (QTS). The placements were my favourite aspect and while I was doing them, I kept thinking, ‘I wish this was my class,’ because I could not wait!


When I was looking at new teachers’ pay, the salary was around £25,000. I would have gone into teaching regardless because I knew this was my forever job, but I thought, if I’m going to do this long-term, I want to have a good salary, so it helped influence me. As I live and teach in Hull I can afford to rent a nice house with a garden, something I might not have been able to do on a lower salary. So, I have a dream job, get well paid and have a nice house to live in! Of my friends who have graduated, five out of seven are also working within the fields they wanted to work in and their starting salaries range between £18,000–£22,000. I feel really happy that this is what I have always wanted to do and that there’s money in teaching. With starting salaries rising to £28,000 this year, the salary is that much more competitive.

Professional outlook

Teaching salaries rise as you progress or take on a maths or history lead, or a specialism. Some teachers might choose to become a special educational needs coordinator (SENco), for example. I don’t know where my career will take me, but there are many options, and I could go anywhere. Although I can’t see myself leaving the classroom any time soon, I would love to mentor trainee teachers – that would be a dream. It’s nice being a new teacher, being guided and learning new strategies and getting ideas from other people, but looking to the future I would also love to lead a subject.

The ups (and occasional downs) of teaching

I thought I would prefer to teach key stage one, the early years, but when I was training, I had a placement with year five pupils (nine to ten-year-olds) and found I absolutely loved it! Now I have my own class and I teach them everything. I don’t know what the next day is going to hold because every day is different, and I find that so exciting. Our school is also very focused on teacher wellbeing – I found that at my placements as well – the school, the staff and the headteachers are extremely supportive.

It was initially tricky to maintain a work/life balance as a uni student because when we were on placements, we had assignments to complete as well as preparing for school. It was a challenge managing the planning for good lessons and then doing uni work on top, for example. But I had my goals and they drove me through, and although it was really tough, I was able to think, ‘this is just a moment in time.’ I knew in six months’ time I would be qualified and it would all be worth it.

As teachers we have lesson planning to do and of course we do have stresses and can work long hours, but I would say the rewards massively outweigh that. Every day you have these little lightbulb moments, and you forget about any downsides because those little things make life wonderful. Yesterday, we had a song as part of a lesson and so rather than just listen to it, I decided we would all learn to sing it; it turned into a song and dance party for five minutes! It was a real highlight. I love what I do. Throughout our university’s open days when I was on the primary teachers’ stand, students’ parents would ask, ‘Are you being paid to say that?’ I would reply, ‘No, I promise you I am just passionate about it!’

Amy at home teaching her first-ever students!

Amy as a child teaching her students

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