24 March 2016

Channelling your passion into teaching

Jon Simmons, career changer

From the DfE website:https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/channelling-your-passion-into-teaching

After six years of working in the lucrative world of recruitment consultancy, Jon felt it was time for a new career. Determined to embark on a path where he could channel his passion into helping others, Jon started to investigate a career in teaching.

I had two degrees: Master’s merit in management and a degree in geography, so I was thinking of teaching either business or geography. However, after some hard thinking, my real passion lay in teaching geography. In addition, it was clear to me that geography is becoming a subject that will rise in importance and be in far more demand over the next decade,” says the assistant head.

But there was another motivation that made Jon consider a career with a better work-life balance: “I was working away a lot and spending less and less time with my family. This was another reason I decided to investigate a career in teaching.”

To ensure teaching was the right career choice, Jon took some time off work to gain school experience, initially for two days. Then he followed this up with further school experience days at Arthur Terry School later in the year. School experience not only helps you work out if teaching is right for you, but can also contribute to a successful application.

This experience ultimately helped my decision, seeing first-hand the positive impact good teaching had on pupils – and more importantly, seeing the gratitude pupils had for teachers. This fantastic experience was very useful when applying, as I was able to provide a detailed account of my experiences in my interview.”

Jon admits he had some initial reservations about starting a new career, particularly the financial implications:

This was a huge consideration – but was offset by having access to a bursary. Without a bursary I would still be in my old career. I simply wouldn’t have been able to maintain my rent and loans, and pay university fees without my bursary.”

Subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses are available to refresh your knowledge, so don’t be afraid to apply for a subject you haven’t used in a while.

My main concern was how good and up to date my geographical knowledge would be after not studying the subject for eight years,” he says. “However, it quickly became clear it’s not what you know, but how you deliver it. Teaching isn’t all about showing off how much you know in your subject field – it’s about giving them all the tools and information for them to learn the subject.”

It’s a privilege to play a big part in a young person’s life. A good teacher is crucial to a young person’s development. Let’s face it; we all have at least one story of our favourite teacher going above and beyond to help us when we were at school.”

Many people successfully retrain as teachers every year, and applying for teacher training may be easier than you think. Tax-free bursaries are available and dedicated advisers are on hand to support your move into teaching. Register with us for tailored advice and assistance in beginning your new career.