I worked for an IT company for two years after I graduated and decided that I didn’t like getting up every morning for the sole purpose of making someone else richer. I only get one life and I want to use it to do something meaningful. I decided I wanted to become a teacher, and I decided to go via the Teach First route. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach forever so I liked the idea of giving it a go and seeing if I liked it or not.
I strongly believe that education is so vitally important and it’s not until you get older that you realise that not everyone gets the same opportunities. It was all luck that I was born into a reasonably well off family, went to a half decent school in a half decent town and got to go to university. It’s so important that everybody gets those opportunities no matter who they are or where they’re from.
Right at the end of my first year I had the external assessor come in and observe my Tear 10 class. They were brilliant in that lesson and it was really nice to talk to someone who had never met these kids before about how well they were doing. It was an awesome moment. I had put a lot of energy into that class, getting those kids to a place where they could behave like that and it was really nice to hear it.
One of the funniest things a student said came from one of my Sixth Form students who was discussing Barack Obama winning a Nobel peace prize. He had a very strong opinion on why Barack Obama had won this peace prize, his peers were unclear, but he explained that they had to give it to him as he was an American as last time they had given it to ‘bare [means lots] Mexicans’ so this time they had to give it to an American to even it out.
Towards the end of my teaching, I was teaching Sixth Form where you can really see impact. I took a class of Year 12s through to Year 13 and by that point the class had shrunk from 22 to six. But these six kids were delightful. It was really good seeing them apply to university. I think you can make the argument that all six of those kids would not have gone to university without the help and support I gave them. Simple things that I took for granted, like filling in a UCAS application, they relied so heavily on my support as they didn’t get it from home. That’s clear impact.
I’m still working within schools. My current role as Data Manager is looking after the assessment side of the school and I try as much as possible to spend time not just number crunching and looking at spread sheets but talking to heads of departments and senior leaders about how we can improve teaching and learning based on what we’ve seen through the data I collect. I am also thinking a lot about how we can recruit scientists into teaching.