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Imagine you're being interviewed for a job and you're asked to tell about your profession. You're a professional, let us say a teacher, because you studied in a pedagogical university. What is the right way to say that?

I'm a teacher by/according to/based on my education.

What preposition should be used while using exactly this word order?

Thanks!

  • 1
    It's not a logical idea to me. Would you say you're a doctor because you went to medical school? – Jim Reynolds Dec 1 '14 at 16:04
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    There is a phrase I'm a/an teacher/lawyer/plumber by training. I think people use this to say that they learned or prepared to be (a professional) but never practiced it, or no longer practiced it. I just think I'd use a completely different approach to describe this in a job interview. I'm a teacher and graduated from a teachers college. Teaching is important to me because.... I enjoy teaching because.... Anything but I'm a teacher because I went to school to be a teacher! – Jim Reynolds Dec 1 '14 at 16:12
  • @JimReynolds looks like a good answer. And as for if it's an important thing to say, I think it depends on the place or culture. In some places what you've been formally trained to do can be an important part of your identity. In a job interview, I don't know. – Dan Getz Dec 1 '14 at 16:23
  • @DanGetz I completely agree, and notice that Guz is Russian. If his interviewer is Russian, then he may well want to say this. If his interviewers are a panel of Russians, Brits, and Yemenis, then he will probably get the job because of his good looks. – Jim Reynolds Dec 1 '14 at 16:55
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I'm a teacher because that's my job. That's precisely what makes me a teacher, I do it for a living [or for free, but nevertheless I do it daily/weekly etc].

I became a teacher through education & specific teacher-training

So, I'm not a teacher because of my education, although I couldn't have become one without it. I'm a teacher because of my career-choice, enabled by the relevant education & training.

Had I gone from teacher-training college to a job in gardening & home improvement, I would be fully-qualified as teacher but I would not be a teacher.

  • 1
    What Jim says ... but without the hyphen. – StoneyB Dec 1 '14 at 18:56
  • Yes, I understand you cannot become a professional just by getting a degree, but I wanted to express the idea that @JimReynolds mentioned in his comment to my question - that you were trained to do something, but you're not actually do (or you may do) it. – Alexander Guz Dec 1 '14 at 19:42
  • I think the great hyphenation debate is somewhat transpondian. I always feel more comfortable with a nice hyphen joining the ideas, though i'm no grammarian ;) – Tetsujin Dec 1 '14 at 21:10
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I would suggest one of two choices. The first option, as suggested by Jim Reynolds in the comments above, would be:

I'm a teacher by training.

This is the standard idiomatic way to say that you've studied (and, typically, by implication, completed your studies) for a particular occupation. You could substitute "by education" for "by training" here, if you really wanted to, but at least to my ear, that doesn't sound quite as common or natural.

(I decided to check my intuition with Google Ngram Viewer, and it seems to generally agree, ranking "X by training" above "X by education" over the last 100 years or so. Interestingly, refining the query shows that the this idiom seems to be most often applied to a few specific professions, the top two being "a lawyer by training" and "an engineer by training". As these are both well-known examples of professions where a formal degree is an essential and often legally mandated requirement for practice, this is perhaps not so surprising.)

As Jim points out, using this expression can sometimes carry the implication that you have not actually yet worked, or do not currently work, in the profession that you studied for. This does not really have anything specifically to do with the idiom as such — it's simply that, with the explicit qualifier "by training" included in the sentence, the reader may assume that the qualifier is actually necessary, and that therefore, by implication, you are not (currently) a teacher in some other sense.

Generally, you don't need to worry about this too much, since the intended meaning should be clear from context, anyway. That said, if you wish to make it absolutely unambiguous that the reason you're stressing the "by training" part is to put emphasis on your formal degree in the subject, I would suggest simply rewriting the sentence to explicitly say so:

I have a degree in pedagogy.

Of course, you should substitute the specific official (English) name of the degree you have, and perhaps include the name of the institute you received it from

2

To address the phrases you asked about, any of the following is grammatically correct:

  • "I am a teacher by education"
  • "I am a teacher by my education"
  • "I am a teacher according to my education"
  • "According to my education I am a teacher" (although "according to my qualifications" would be more on the mark)
  • "I am a teacher based on my education"
  • "Based on my education I am a teacher"

You can put a comma before "I" in each of the cases with reversed order.

Whether these statements are true or not depends on your definition of "teacher" as discussed in other answers. I think all of these cases automatically imply that by "being a teacher" you must mean "being qualified as a teacher", not necessarily that you currently work in the profession or ever did. But a pedant or an actual practising teacher might well disagree with that meaning.

Because it's unclear whether they can be true, i.e. that education alone makes you a teacher, I don't think any of them is a particularly natural way of putting it. To my ear "I'm a teacher by education" is best of these options. The phrasing directly suggests that a "teacher by education" is a different thing from "a teacher". Next best is something like, "According to my education, I am a teacher, but in fact I never worked as one".

In your circumstances it would be more natural in English to say "I trained as a teacher", since this avoids the whole business of the slightly unusual (and arguably inaccurate) meaning of "teacher". Or specifically in a job interview, say, "I qualified as a teacher" to emphasise that you do have all the certificates!

It's also a bit more natural to talk about "training as a teacher" (or doctor, or philosopher, or brick-layer) rather than "being educated as a teacher", because "training" implies a bit more active use of skills. You might say "I was educated in medicine", and "I trained as a doctor". For teaching, this results in the confusing phrase, "I was educated in education", probably best avoided :-)

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I'm a teacher by virtue of my education.

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I think the simplest way to express this is to say, "I studied teaching, but now I am a/an x" or "I have a degree is in 'x', but now I work in 'y'."

For example, "I have a degree in teaching, but I work in IT." -or- "I studied literature, but now I work in merchandising."

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If you say that you are a teacher because of your education, that means that you didn't want to become a teacher, otherwise you'd say you became a teacher because it was your dream, or it seemed like a sensible career choice or whatever.

Since you got an education which left you no alternative but to become a teacher even though you didn't want to, that then has unfortunate implications. Where you forced into the study? Didn't you think things through before you started? Were you misinformed about the career opportunities granted by the study?

Is this really what you want to say?

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