Becoming a Teacher

The legal, ethical and moral implications of entering society’s most fundamental profession

By: Alan Newland


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute nameAttribute value
Size248mm x 185mm
PublishedAugust 2021

Written by Alan Newland, Becoming a Teacher: The legal, ethical and moral implications of entering society’s most fundamental profession is an inspiring and motivating guide to embarking confidently on a career in teaching and, above all, acquiring and developing the essential character traits and values to flourish in it.

Accessible, readable and engaging, Becoming a Teacher draws on Alan’s decades of professional work and academic study in education to set out the key principles for developing and understanding the professional values essential to becoming a good teacher.

The book features a constructive examination of the Teachers’ Standards and shares a series of illustrative scenarios, exemplar strategies and practical resources that will equip trainee teachers with easy-to-understand but justifiable rationales to deal with a range of contentious and sensitive issues that they are likely to encounter during the course of their career.

Alan explores a series of searching questions relating to the philosophical nature of teaching, and offers astute insights that will provoke thought, instil confidence, engender enthusiasm and inspire commitment in those new to the teaching profession. He also shares a range of appendices – covering codes for professional practice, useful links and resources, and summaries and extended discussion of fundamental British values and spiritual, moral, social and cultural education.

Becoming a Teacher therefore serves as a professional studies course reader for trainees and early career teachers, as well as a core text for tutors, lecturers, mentors and CPD leads delivering both the compulsory aspects of the ITT Core Content Framework for all qualified teacher status (QTS) courses and Early Career Framework CPD.

Ideal for trainee teachers in all phases of teaching; for lecturers, tutors and course directors at initial teacher training (ITT) institutions; and for ITT and early career mentors and CPD leads in schools.

Picture for author Alan Newland

Alan Newland

Alan Newland spent forty years as a teacher, lecturer, head teacher and advisor at the Department for Education and the General Teaching Council for England. He now writes and speaks on ethics and professional values in teaching, and presents lectures to thousands of students each year at universities and school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) providers across the country. Alan also runs the award-winning social media network

Click here to read Alan Newland’s blog.


  1. Full of anecdotes and provocations that generate debate, especially for final year students, the strong messages and engaging approach strikes resonance with them.

  2. I have used Alan's book a lot for our professionalism module 'Being a Teacher' and my colleagues also rate it really highly.  It is excellent.
  3. It’s a great book - there are so many aspects of it that give useful anecdotes and perspectives.
  4. In this engaging, thought-provoking analysis, Alan Newland unravels the implications for those who are interested in entering or are still finding their feet in the profession of teaching. Readers will bask in the author’s no-holds barred style as he delves into the moral and ethical roles and expectations of teachers. Alan offers a breath of fresh air in his realistic and insightful analysis of practice, including discussion of a range of legal and ethical issues which impact upon the confidence, awareness and ability of teachers to fulfil their responsibilities.

    The flowing anecdotes, all linked to credible examples of practice and research, focus on the virtues and values of good teaching – with the emphasis firmly focused on knowing a good teacher by the values, trust and influence that they generate and develop. Alan enables the reader to reflect on real issues such as positive physical contact, duty of care, restraint using reasonable force, interventions, confiscation of prohibited items, and addressing mental health issues such as self-harm.

    Becoming a Teacher will be a major asset for teachers to help them develop their awareness, character, common sense, confidence and safe practice. It should be essential reading for all trainee and probationary teachers, and will serve as a helpful reminder to all senior leaders of the need for consistency and relevance when putting policy into practice.

  5. What I love about this book is that everything is presented from authority and experience, not merely opinion. When Alan tells the story of the troubled child and the father who beat him in front of him, he doesn’t waste time stating ‘obviously, this was wrong’ but instead allows us to process how we, as teachers, might respond in this situation. I was initially terrified of the numerous pages of appendices, but Alan clearly states how to approach them and why. I therefore enjoyed the debate on ‘Britishness’. This was introduced during my secondary school days and I remember we hated how it was presented; however, Alan provides a very good argument for how ‘British values’ should be explored in schools – and now I will take his insights on board in my own teaching.

  6. While reading Becoming a Teacher I found myself reflecting on my own beliefs and politics, and I really liked this. Alan’s honesty and transparency makes it easy to imagine oneself in the situations described in the book, and to consider what one’s own reactions might be to similar situations – such as going on strike, which really challenged my thinking. I enjoyed the discussion and reflection sections too, as being confronted with specific questions was really thought-provoking. The book is also helpful in relieving anxieties on how to handle situations in the classroom, and offers a perspective of teaching backed by a wealth of experience and honesty.

  7. I was hooked from the start – the tone, the way it sets out exactly what the book aims to do, how it is structured to enable the reader to dip in and out, and much more. There is great use of further and recommended reading per chapter too. I particularly enjoyed the section on teaching and theory, as I found myself drawn into the question of whether we are reliant on the theory to underpin practice. I also enjoyed reflecting on the incident of children climbing high up in the tree and what the teachers were trying to achieve. This engaged my whole household in an interesting discussion!

    A thoroughly thought-provoking read and a pleasure to engage with.

  8. Becoming a Teacher explores a variety of issues and provides direction on how to effectively navigate them. Alan gives indispensable support by sharing and examining his own teaching, but it is his reflections upon his own values that are so fascinating and relevant to anyone involved in education.

    An excellent book that gives everyone food for thought, and an essential and invaluable resource for new and experienced teachers.

  9. At university we tend to focus on specifics with relatively little time for aspects such as ethics or morality, so this book helps to develop a teaching philosophy and to determine what defines you as a teacher. Becoming a Teacher is incredibly insightful for both ECTs and more experienced teachers, and will help develop wider perspectives on teaching.

  10. I found this book extremely interesting. It is very easy to connect with Alan’s writing, and his personal anecdotes are motivating, inspiring and moving in bringing the book to life. Alan covers broad themes and ethical conundrums related to building character, relating it to professional development and reminding us why we should take certain actions for the betterment of the pupils and communities we serve. The story concerning one of his students’ attitude towards Anne Frank’s diary resonated with me as I teach within an inner-city school in Greater Glasgow – and I’m all too often faced with sectarian views which can at times be difficult to confront. Alan reminded me that it is ethically and morally right to tackle controversial issues in a way that does not lead to further provocation. I think Becoming a Teacher is a fantastic book that could be described as a go-to guide for anyone joining the teaching profession.

  11. Becoming a Teacher gripped me from the first page and at times I had to drag myself away from reading it. I love the personal stories that make your heart drop as you ask, ‘What if I were put in that situation?’ I found the ‘Discuss and reflect’ sections very helpful too – they made me think about my own teaching and I found myself using the questions as talking points within my department at school. The discussions that ensued have helped me see teaching from the perspective of my more experienced colleagues.

  12. I very much enjoyed the interactivity throughout this book, where the reader is encouraged to reflect upon and consider a variety of issues as well as draw lessons from the personal experiences of Alan himself. This offers a personal touch and makes the book easy to relate to. Alan highlights the pressures of teaching, but not to the point that it would put off any aspiring trainees; if anything, it will give them a sense of purpose and an understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. Ultimately, we as teachers are role models – and that’s something, as emphasised by this book, that I am proud to be a part of. I will certainly be keeping a copy for use in my career.

  13. I will be honest, when I first started reading this book I thought: ‘What have I done? I can’t possibly read an entire academic book.’ Well, let me tell you that I was wrong! It is written very thoughtfully without lots of references or jargon, and I really enjoyed how Alan includes anecdotes from his teaching days and time as a head teacher. It really is thought-provoking but also very readable, so you can put it down and pick it back up again without losing your thread. I would highly recommend this book for those who are only just starting their teaching journey or halfway through it like me. Becoming a Teacher is a brilliant book and I think Alan’s words, thoughts and pearls of wisdom will stay with me and support me throughout my career.

  14. In an environment where the teacher dropout rate is high, this thought-provoking book will offer much support to teachers during their early years. I certainly would have appreciated having it during my PGCE and ECT years. The format is perfect to guide discussions with mentors and also to enable ECTs to reflect on a variety of issues they will be confronted with. That said, I also think it would be a valuable read for more experienced teachers.

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was really inspired by the concept of a good teacher being recognised by the values they model. The historical perspective provided is very interesting too, and I also appreciate the reassurance that the challenges I will face as a teacher will build my character – this sends out a message of ‘keep going’ even if you feel you are not at your best at that particular time. I think the book inspires student teachers to uphold codes of practice and standards, not just as a professional prerequisite but also as a moral responsibility.

  16. This is a really useful book as it gives an authentic insight into teaching, and not just the ‘fluffy’ stuff that we are often shown at university. It strikes a great balance between personal experiences and theory, and it’s full of knowledge that would be really helpful for ECTs too.

  17. I love this book. It is a great and engaging read, and very relatable to the experiences of Scottish teachers. I have taken away a lot from it that I can apply to my practice and how I look at the teaching profession. Thank you!

  18. There is so much in this book I wish I had been able to read before starting my training. Becoming a Teacher is an invaluable guide for trainees and teachers alike.

  19. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Becoming a Teacher. I’m even drawing on some of it in my job applications! But the best part for me is how Alan manages to connect all the guidelines, procedures and protocols around being a teacher with real-life stories. Some even brought a little tear to my eye! Alan’s words remind me of the writing of James Herriot, in being very honest and showing teaching for what it is – and he also discusses topics not found on my PGCE course, such as how to manage criticism.

  20. This is an engaging and very thought-provoking book that would have been great to have had right at the beginning of my journey into teaching. Alan asks questions and encourages the reader to think for themselves, while also providing a genuine account of the experience of teaching. Absolutely brilliant.

  21. The style in which the book is written is fantastic. Alan’s stories of his own experience really grab the reader and he kept my attention throughout.

  22. The introduction to this book is so powerful that it reminds me why I chose this profession. I love that its content isn’t at all patronising and has a sense of humanity and relatability in its coverage of the topic of ethics. The message is that it’s OK to make mistakes, as we are all human, and from mistakes comes great learning and character building – something we are not reassured of enough as new teachers. Becoming a Teacher is inspiring to read and it makes you want to be a better teacher.

  23. Becoming a Teacher is a wonderful read and a perfect ‘new teacher’ gift. Alan’s personal reflections are not only funny but also comforting. He finds the funny side of the mishaps we all experience, from training year and beyond! The book is easy to navigate and covers a great range of topics too, yet there is no pressure to read the entire book – you can dip in and out of it regularly with ease. Its chapters are of a good length and when you get stuck in, you find yourself at the end of the chapter and wanting to read more.

  24. A thought-provoking read that deals with some of the complex issues and dilemmas associated with being a teacher today.

  25. Entering the complex world of teaching begins with an understanding of the legal, ethical and moral challenges of becoming a teacher. Alan provides this in a clear and concise manner, along with solid examples, allowing trainees to reflect on their professional approach and how they can develop their teaching persona and become excellent role models.

  26. This book is an exceptionally timely addition to the essential reading for anyone hoping to become a teacher and even for those moving from classroom teaching to senior management. Never has a book which addresses the fundamental questions of what it is to be a teacher been more apposite. I regard Becoming a Teacher as a must-read text

  27. Alan’s style of writing is very clear and engaging. I like the anecdotes he includes that help contextualise issues. The topics he covers delve into a variety of implications for a teacher’s career and are an essential part of a teacher’s training.

  28. Full of both practical and philosophical advice that is really useful to student teachers, Becoming a Teacher is more than essential reading.

  29. We’ve always found Alan’s visits and video lectures really useful, so to include his book on our ITE courses will be great.

  30. The quality of Alan’s work is well thought through and presented – and, with the increasing use of online tutorials, a course reader like this will be a great stimulus for group discussions.

  31. We are very happy to be adding this book onto our essential reading list. Professionalism and teacher identity is a crucial area for ITE courses, and yet it is one of the hardest areas to instil understanding. I look forward to using this book and signposting our trainees to it as an area of critical importance.

  32. There is very little on the market that covers the wide range of content that Alan covers in Becoming a Teacher. We fully support this book and recommend it as part of our professional studies, school placements and to all our professional mentors. It will be a core text and essential reading for those coming on to the PGCE course.

  33. Alan delivers brilliant, thought-provoking sessions about professionalism. Our trainees always thoroughly enjoy hearing him speak, and I too always learn a lot from him. Now it’s good to have his wisdom and experience packaged together in this book.

  34. I will most certainly be using this book on our courses. The narrative style is lively and refreshing, and portrays a frank and honest discussion of the challenges that teachers face through real-life and authentic anecdotes. It prompts reflection and debate on a number of issues, some of which move us from our comfort zone, but everything is grounded in the real world. I particularly like the reference to character and values and the implications this has for becoming a teacher. I also think its constructive look at fundamental British values and the Teachers’ Standards is much needed and long overdue. There are few books that critically examine the profession in this way.

  35. The publication of this book is great news for all our ITE programmes and for our master’s level modules.

  36. Becoming a Teacher really supports the work we do around professional values and teacher identity, and it will be a very useful addition to our reading lists across all of our programmes.

  37. I certainly recommend this book for our pre-course reading list.

  38. Becoming a Teacher will without question be a core text for our teaching on professional knowledge and pedagogy.

  39. What Alan does in this book is nothing less than magic. With admirable empathy and calm he presents the most difficult and controversial but highly relevant topics, delivering key messages clearly, bravely and with tangible impact without ever sounding patronising, judgemental or confrontational. To have his wisdom on our bookshelf now will be invaluable both for me and my trainees.

  40. We will be including this book on our pre-course reading list.

  41. We very much endorse Alan’s book and are really excited by it. The book’s structure provides a great core text for our course and tutors. It is a critical discussion about professionalism – examining the legal, ethical and moral issues, as well as a positive understanding of the Teachers’ Standards and fundamental British values, very much supporting the development of those new to the profession.

  42. The content Alan covers in Becoming a Teacher is key to enabling trainees to understand their responsibilities as teachers and providing an awareness of professional ethics and British values. Having scenarios for them to reflect upon engages them quickly and raises the key questions concerning them. I will include it in pre-course reading.

  43. Alan Newland’s sessions are challenging, relevant and important. They inspire our trainees to connect with the core purpose of being a teacher. His book will now be part of our core curriculum.

Write your own review