Dear Matthew: Should I teach?

Written by: Matthew Turner
Published on: 1 Sep 2014

BD’s career doctor on the benefits and strains of combining practice and academia

Question: Many of the people I know are teaching in architecture schools, or have done in the past. For the good of my career, should I try and find this kind of work?

Answer: A friend of mine who is an academic in another field expressed surprise that architecture studios are sometimes run by young practising architects, themselves quite fresh from studying and often with very little pedagogic training. Whether this poses disadvantages is another story, but I guess one advantage is this does avoid the proliferation of teaching by stale academics. It also allows a certain number of openings in architecture schools for part-time work.

It may be something that sounds impressive and status-friendly, but my question to you is what do you actually want to do? Many who teach use it as a way to explore theoretically through their students. Others find it a usefully steady side income for when projects are unpredictable. It can also bring a whole lot of other skills, like team work, public speaking, and intellectual stimulus. However, others find it a real strain and that it can become a complete diversion from pursuing their actual interest: the work of their practice.

So I would say it is fine to be teaching, but do it because you want to and are interested in it, not because you feel you should.

Architect Matthew Turner of has worked at a range of offices as well as being a client adviser, project manager and competition juror

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