In the field of education, few occupations are as sought-after as creative writing. Many people consider it to be the ultimate “career lark,” and for good reason. Not only does it provide a fulfilling learning experience for students, but it also can lead to lucrative employment opportunities. However, as interesting as teaching creative writing may be, there is a lot that goes into it. Below, we take a look at what a starting creative writing teacher makes, how to get the job, and what you can expect once you’ve accepted it.
The Great British Library
If you’ve ever studied at a British university, then you’ll know the value that the great British library puts on teaching. Located in the heart of London, the institution was established way back in 1823 and, over the years, has acquired an incredible range of books. Despite its size – it currently holds over 150 million items – the library still impresses students and professors with its interdisciplinary approach.
Even if you’re not particularly enamored of literature, you can still enjoy this magnificent collection. With its broad range of journals and magazines, you can truly immerse yourself in content from all corners of the globe. The British Library’s website features a handy guide to help you find any book or literary work effortlessly. Looking for an amazing graphic novel to read? You can find hundreds of options in the library’s collection.
As exciting as the opportunity to teach creative writing may be, it’s not all rosy. While there are some highly regarded creative writing degrees that can land you in a golden classroom circumstance, many teaching positions are fairly low-paid. According to the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the median salary for primary school teachers in England was £45,000 in 2018. For comparison, the NUT also notes that the median salary for secondary school teachers in the same year was £49,000. You can also look to data from the Office for National Statistics for similar information.
In choosing a career in education, you’ll need to bear in mind that there are typically lots of competing offers. Many schools and colleges are chronically under-funded, which means there are literally thousands of positions that the public sector could fill.
The Stressful Part
One of the most stressful aspects of being a creative writing teacher is trying to find the right balance between creative freedom and maintaining academic integrity. If you’re serious about being a good teacher, then it’s essential that you find a way to instill creativity and productivity in your students while also upholding academic standards. When you have a classroom of 20 or more eager, driven students, keeping them organized and motivated can be quite the challenge.
As a lecturer in creative writing, you’ll have the unique opportunity to explore the subject matter that you’re passionate about. If you have a wealth of knowledge in a specific area, then why not share it with the world? Of course, you’ll also need to ensure that your students are equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge to achieve the highest levels of creativity. This can be highly demanding, especially if you’re a new teacher and don’t have much experience to draw upon.
The Enjoyable Part
On the more enjoyable end of the spectrum, there are lots of job opportunities for aspiring teachers in the UK who specialize in creating educational apps and games. The British Library’s website notes that since 2015, it has been developing educational apps for students in the UK. In addition, if you’ve got an Android phone, then you can help generate important data that helps doctors and researchers better understand certain diseases. In partnership with the medical research charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the library aims to create an app that can record and track patients’ symptoms as well as their responses to treatment. By identifying key data points and using that information to create individualized medicine, the library hopes to improve patients’ lives and fight disease. One of the jobs that the library itself is particularly excited about is the Teaching Resources Assistant role. This is a newly created position at the library that aims to provide “training and support to develop and enhance our role as a digital literacy partner in teaching and learning.”
Working as a Teaching Resources Assistant allows you to use your teaching expertise to shape and mold digital learning materials for use in schools and universities. The British Library is committed to providing high-quality teaching materials to all teachers, regardless of experience, so that everyone can access informative and educational content. The library is also keen to encourage teachers to develop their digital literacy skills so that they can use powerful tools like Google Editions and others to create digital books and other learning materials.
With so much positivity, it’s easy to overlook the fact that being a creative writing teacher is a lot of work. However, if you’re dedicated to your students and love what you do, then why not consider a career in education? Many people find it highly gratifying to help others achieve their goals, and with so much opportunity in the UK, now may be the right time to invest in your future.