Geography teachers prepare and give lessons in a range of topics such as the physical environment, world climate, rural and urban development, settlement and population studies. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence and prepare pupils, aged 11 to 18, for national exams.
You could be:
using a variety of teaching techniques such as whole class lessons, discussions, individual or group projects and field trips
using a range of materials including text books, worksheets, maps, computers, audio-visual aids and interactive whiteboards
organising and directing the whole class and helping individual pupils as required
setting assignments, projects, tests and exams, preparing and carrying out continuous assessment, marking pupils’ work and writing reports
keeping good order in the classroom and dealing with discipline issues
doing administrative work, including keeping a register of pupils
preparing for, and attending parent-teacher meetings and staff meetings
sometimes supervising out of hours activities such as visits, field trips or social events
meeting regularly with other departments to plan interdisciplinary projects.
Teachers in Scotland are paid on a national salary scale. The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher is £31,584 (April 2023).
If you do your probationary period on the Teacher Induction Scheme, and are prepared to work anywhere in Scotland during that probationary year, you can also apply for the Preference Waiver Payment. For secondary school teachers, the payment is £8,000 before tax and national insurance.
After your probationary year, your salary will increase to £37,896 and increase an increment each year up to £47,565.
Where a teacher is employed in a remote school on a distant island both the remote schools allowance and the distant islands allowance are paid, in addition to the teacher’s normal salary.
A principal teacher earns between £51,858 and £66,927 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £58,818 to £109,209 a year, depending on the size of school.
Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.
You would work in a classroom and possibly sometimes outside, on field trips.
Your working hours are based on a 35-hour week, working in a classroom 9.00am to 3.30pm or 4.00pm. You would use the rest of the time for preparation and marking.
You may have to do some preparation and assessment work at home, in the evenings or at weekends.
You would have 13 weeks holiday each year, but would probably use some of this time to prepare the next term's work.
You would have to prepare for and attend parent-teacher meetings, which are usually in the evening.
You should be aware that teaching is a mentally and physically demanding job.
To become a secondary school teacher of geography, you must have a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in geography plus a postgraduate Professional Graduate Diploma (SCQF Level 11) in Education (PGDE) OR a degree in Professional Education (Secondary) and Environmental Geography (SCQF Level 10) from the University of Stirling.
For entry to a degree course you normally need 4-5 good Highers in relevant subjects.
You must also have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
For entry to the degree in Professional Education and Environmental Geography at the University of Stirling you need 4 Highers at ABBB (first sitting) or AABB (two sittings) including English and 1 from Maths, Biology, Chemistry or Physics (Environmental Science or Geography preferred) plus Maths or Applications of Maths at National 5 at B (if not held at Higher).
Your degree should normally contain 80 Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit points in geography, and 40 of the credit points must have been studied at SCQF Level 8 (second year undergraduate level) or above.
For entry to PGDE, you need an approved degree, together with Higher English plus Maths at National 5 - some institutions specify at B. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities offer the PGDE in Geography.
There is a lot of competition for places in these courses. It helps if you have experience of working with children or young people.
For PGDE courses, apply through UCAS.
There are a number of new teacher training programmes available, most linked to local authorities. See Teach In Scotland for full details and to see which subjects are covered.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Newly qualified teachers who want to teach in local council schools must complete a probationary period to demonstrate that they meet the Standard for Full Registration of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). Those who wish to teach in independent schools may also require to be registered.
You are guaranteed a teaching post with a Scottish local authority for a full school year to complete this probationary period.