For millions and millions of people all over the world, the opportunity to become a teacher and to influence an entire generation of four that matter) of young people is the culmination of a lifetime of work and a dream they’ve had their entire lives.
This is why so many people are concerned about whether or not a simple slipup and a blemish on their permanent criminal record is going to preclude them from becoming a teacher in the first place or require them to leave their position as a teacher if they were already hired on in this position.
While the rules, regulations, hiring practices, and legal requirements are different from one area of the country to the next – as well as from country to country – there are some simple and straightforward basics that carryover regardless of where you are on the planet or what teaching position you are interested in pursuing.
Hopefully we are going to be able to shed a little bit of light on the situation and give you the kinds of answers you are looking for.
Shall we dive right in?
Teaching in the United States (specifically California) with a drunk driving conviction
If you are looking to pursue a degree or a career as a teacher in the United States, you are going to be subjected to a more rigorous background check than most other individuals in most other career fields.
You are going to have to go through the traditional background check that everyone that has the opportunity to work with children or minors will have to go through, but you’re also going to be asked a series of probing questions into your background during the interview and application process as well.
In the state of California, you’re also going to have to go up in front of a Committee on Credentials review and face disciplinary action as a teacher or applicant for a teaching position if you have any of the following on your criminal record:
A conviction of a DUI isn’t necessarily going to involve an automatic suspension of your teaching position or a disqualification from the application process, but it isn’t going to help separate you from the rest of the potential candidates, either.
Multiple convictions will certainly look unfavorable on your application, though on the flip side convictions from a significant amount of time in the past – without any recent convictions – may not be judged quite as harshly as recent ones will be.
It’s important for you to be upfront and honest with full disclosure in regards to any and all situations regarding your criminal background or instances where you’ve come into contact with police officers or the court system. Disclosure and honesty will always be better received than deception.
Teaching in the United Kingdom with a drunk driving conviction
Teachers in the United Kingdom will have to go through an enhanced version of the Disclosure & Barring Service checks, though they aren’t going to have to go through the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974.
This enhanced version of the DBS check is going to dive deeper into criminal convictions and cautions, though these should have already been disclosed during the traditional training course or application process. A DBS check (formerly referred to as a CRB check) is going to penetrate deeper and deeper into your background, and will reveal information about your convictions as well as instances where you weren’t convicted.
All violent criminals, those with serious sexual assault convictions, those with serious drug convictions, and any convictions or cautions regarding violence towards children or vulnerable adults will be immediately disbarred from pursuing a career in teaching and will also be automatically suspended from their teaching position if they already held one.
Minor convictions are not always going to trigger these kinds of reactions, and those with a single DUI (especially if it was from years and years ago) usually aren’t going to face significant punishment or find themselves disqualified – provided that they disclosed the information before it was uncovered during the DBS check.
As in the United States, honesty is always the best policy. Disclose your information on your own, explain your situation fully, and you shouldn’t have to worry about pursuing your dream career in education.