Degree and university: BSc in Business Studies with Computer Studies, Brunel University.
What do you actually do?
My job title is Teacher of Information Communication Technology. I teach ICT up to GCSE level and I also help run the Under 15s’ football team.
Were you always interested in teaching as a career?
Even during my last year at secondary school I had a vision of becoming a school teacher! Prior to teaching, I worked my way up in retail anagement before deciding it was time for a rewarding career change.
How did you find out about the teaching sector?
I did some initial research, and spoke to a friend of a friend who worked as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA). It was only when she told me how rewarding and enjoyable her job was that I began to take a serious interest in the profession. I then applied for a position as an LSA in a local secondary school. After 6 months’ experience as an LSA, I was fortunate enough to be offered a place on the Graduate Training Programme (GTP) within my local Designated Recommending Body (DRB). I then spent one year in a near-perfect middle school, before moving to my current place of work.
What do you most like about what you do?
I really, really love the reward factor. I enjoy going home and reminiscing about the day’s teaching. Of course, you are going to get good days and bad days, but I always reflect on the good parts of the school day. For example, I enjoy a good relationship with all my pupils and we can laugh and joke together as well as getting the work done. For me, every child matters and every one of my pupils brings something special into school. Within my teaching experience, the most important thing is that you have made a difference to a child’s life. This involves just being there for them, not only in my capacity as a teacher, but also relating to pastoral care. It is important to share the good things in their lives and to provide advice as well as maintaining a high quality of teaching – all these things help to make that crucial difference to a child’s journey through school.
Are there any downsides to what you do?
There will be days where you will feel down for a number of reasons. You may come across a particular group or child that you find challenging to teach. My approach is quite simple: I never let them get to me, simply because I maintain my positive energy for challenging groups or pupils. This is a method I will continue to exploit as it is currently working well.
What are the most important skills you need to make a success of teaching?
Firstly, you have to have a passion for teaching and the required knowledge to teach expertly in your field. You certainly need to enjoy being around people and therefore excellent people skills are certainly a must! You should have the ability to maintain a smile and a light sense of humour in class, even during the tough times. Another key element of successful teaching is the ability to be organised. You must ensure that your lesson plans are prepared in advance and maybe practise delivering a particular lesson in front of the mirror (as I do). Ensure that you are assertive yet fair to every single child so you are treating them all equally and with a confident, direct approach. Above all, enjoy what you teach and ensure you provide feedback to any questions that may be asked during a lesson.
What advice would you give to graduates coming into this sector?
Ensure you network with other teachers to share best practice, as every teacher has a different pedagogy.