Although fostering is open to many, teachers have desirable qualities that can build a stable and loving home. In a recent survey conducted by Compass, we found that 15% of our foster parents come from a teaching background. This isn’t surprising, given that teachers have experience working with children and young people of all ages and backgrounds, making it easy to understand why teachers make great foster parents.
Across the United Kingdom, we need more people with teaching backgrounds to become foster carers more than ever. According to the latest statistics from the Department of Education, there are currently over 80,000 vulnerable children and young people in care. Teachers considering fostering could help reduce this number and have a valuable impact on the lives of children and young people in care.
Teachers have invaluable experience with children.
The main reason why teachers make great foster parents is because of their experience in nurturing the talents of children and young people. Throughout their career, teachers work with children with different backgrounds, cultures, developmental needs and behaviours. Because of this, they often must be resilient and adapt to each child’s needs, creating a supportive environment for them to thrive.
It’s currently estimated that 63% of foster children across the United Kingdom have experienced abuse or neglect. Therefore, a teacher’s experience with children who require behavioural management or additional needs can make them ideal foster carers.
Tessa, our foster carer, says the skills acquired from managing a classroom can be effectively applied to behaviour management when caring for foster children. “When you’re teaching, you’re constantly working with children and gaining insight into how they think and learn,” she explained.
Teachers can advocate for a foster child’s educational needs.
Only 44% of children in foster care across the UK attain a good level of development by age 5, compared to 70% of children in the general population. This makes it critical that foster carers advocate for their foster child’s educational needs, which teachers can do well.
As professionals in the education system, teachers understand how the school system works. This means they can work better with schools to ensure that their foster child receives the support and education they need, greatly improving the academic outcomes of foster children.
Teachers know how to build strong relationships.
Teachers are incredibly skilled at building strong relationships with students and their families. Through this, they can work together to create a safe and supportive environment where children can express their thoughts and feelings.
Many children leave their foster homes because they are unable to build a connection and strong relationship with their foster carers. Teachers who become foster carers can work around this, as they can easily recognise their strengths and weaknesses, leading them to offer their foster child the best support.
Fostering can change teachers’ lives.
Although foster carers with a teaching background benefit foster children, fostering can also be a great transition for many teachers. While the work of teachers is inspiring, it can be an incredibly draining career path.
Our foster carer Tessa always loved her teaching career, but she knew she needed a break from it. Fostering had always crossed her mind, but it wasn’t until her children moved out to university and she developed empty nest syndrome that it became a reality.
Tessa is now an amazing foster carer, working part-time with vulnerable children in an education setting. Tessa has highlighted how much better her work-life balance has become, enjoying her leisure time with her foster children.
Fostering is a vital service that provides vulnerable children and young people with a stable and loving environment. If you are a teacher and feel equipped with the skills to transform a child’s like, you can contact our team or read our FAQs to learn more.