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Why changing career now shouldn't stop you teaching maths

November 15th 2015

Changing career is a big decision at the best of times. The possibility of moving from a position of relative financial security to one of uncertainty, from a position of success to that of being at the bottom of a steep learning curve and of having found the balance between career and family to one of new imbalance all needs careful consideration.

Colin Addison is 2 1/2 months into our school-led teacher training programme and describes his decsion-making process and the reasons why he is still convinced he made the right decsion to change career and become a maths teacher with Teach@Weydon. 

What subject have you chosen to teach and why? 

Mathematics. Throughout my own education and since, I’ve always enjoyed maths. With my own children both starting to do more challenging maths at school, I started to look again at the material being taught in secondary and found that I still had that same interest and passion for the subject.

What were your reasons for wanting to become a teacher?

I was looking for a more satisfying and fulfilling career, one that provided variety, challenge and the chance to make a difference really. The opportunity to help and support young people through a key stage of their lives provides all of those things. Also, working with like-minded colleagues was an important draw.

What was your background before deciding to teach? 

I started my career with corporate IT providers in different sales and marketing roles. Then I spent time in online marketing, eventually running my own business in that sector for a number of years.

Can you summarise your journey from your previous career into teaching?

Once I had decided to investigate seriously the options of changing to a teaching career, things moved fairly quickly. I attended some roadshow/ seminar events to find out about the training options available to me and also spent time in different secondary schools locally as part of the School Experience Programme. Then once I had worked out the practicalities of incorporating the training programme in with my current family commitments, I found a school-based programme that had an established and successful Maths stream and went right ahead!

Can you give us an overview of the training?

I selected school-based training as I decided it would provide me with a more relevant and interesting route into teaching rather than a university-based course. The Teach@Weydon SCITT that provides my training is all based at one school, which is convenient, but it also gives me easy access to many highly capable and experienced teachers. This is proving invaluable: everyone teaching the course and in the school is very supportive.

What support do/did you receive / what do/did you enjoy most about the training? 

The support I am receiving is excellent, both from the staff leading the training course and my new teaching colleagues in school. There are several other students taking the same course as myself locally, so we are able to support each other and I also have direct access to some teachers who took the same course last year. The course itself is both challenging and interesting and being delivered by people, who are currently teaching, makes everything very practical and directly relevant.

Did you have any concerns/worries before applying to become a teacher?

No major concerns really.  I did think about the financial implications carefully, and also whether I would find the transition to spending my whole day in a classroom full of children a challenge I could adapt to. There is no doubt that it is a challenge but a very enjoyable one so far.

What were your main considerations when thinking about changing career?

Finding a career option that would be satisfying and fulfilling, rather than just financially rewarding. Also selecting an option that allowed me to gain additional professional qualifications without having to attend an education institution full-time.

What would you say to someone who’s considering changing career, but has concerns/doubts?

Firstly spend some time in schools through the School Experience Programme – visit a range of different schools and talk to as many teachers as possible. Then also speak to some teachers who have recently gone through a similar training course to the one you are considering – even better if they have made the same kind of career change to the one you would be making.

If you had an access to a bursary what are their benefits of obtaining a bursary?

The bursary scheme for me was essential – The decision to start my training would have been much more difficult without it – I’m not even sure I would have been able to do it.

How does your potential career progression as a teacher compare to your previous job/s?

Well running my own business was very different to teaching – everything has changed for me. I’m surrounded by lots of talented colleagues and every day is different. The career progression options available to me are quite varied I think – as a maths teacher, I expect there to be plenty of teaching vacancies available tome once I qualify. Later I could look at teaching sixth form or focus on a progression within school leadership. A career in teaching should also provide options to work anywhere in the country should I wish to in the future.

What is it you like most about being a teacher? 

I’m enjoying the challenge of learning a completely new skill –it’s certainly not been easy finding myself teaching a class of 30+ children within just a few weeks of starting my training. But being in a classroom, helping the children learn new skills and experiencing them being enthused and motivated in class is very satisfying.

Do you have any examples of light bulb moments where you’ve helped a child understand a particular challenging topic? If so can you provide an example?

I recently spent some time in a primary school and assisted a class of Year3 children with a maths topic. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to see their enthusiasm fired up and how motivated they were to succeed.  It was amazing when the children came into school the next day, all excited about continuing their work with me.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting into teaching?

I would certainly recommend that you don't consider your choices or make any decisions in isolation. There are so many sources of information and advice out there: research things online, speak to training providers, speak to existing teachers, take advantage of the School Experience Programme, but also speak to friends and family about how they see you succeeding as a teacher. I did all of those things and the number of positives I came back with made the decision very easy for me.

Follow @TeachWeydon on Twitter now for regular updates on school-led #TrainToTeach programmes

If you found this useful, you may like to read 'Why choose a school-led teacher training provider?'

Filed under: Teacher training Posted at 17:28

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