Why I Changed Careers to Become a Teacher – Jeanette's Story

I am often asked ‘Why have you gone into teaching?’ or ‘What were you doing before you became a teacher?’, or more frequently ‘What? When did this happen?’. Yes, I am 45, I am a career-changer, married to a teacher (also a career changer), and I am a mum to a 10-year-old.

 I left my Senior Management Sales & Marketing career to do a School Direct PGCE with QTS in Secondary Chemistry. This meant I would be working directly with the lead school (in this case an Academy Trust with schools in my local area, I chose the school I wanted to train at and applied directly to them). In addition, I would have a tutor at university and attend lectures for teaching theory.  I qualified for a bursary as my chosen specialist subject was Secondary Chemistry and I applied for a Royal Society of Chemistry Scholarship, which I was awarded despite my bad A-level chemistry results. It was an extremely quick process; I applied at the beginning of July and a week later I had an interview and confirmed a place. It was that fast!

 Leaving my previous career and entering the world of teaching seems, in some ways, a natural choice to have made. I had spent several years in a corporate job. This involved attending conferences, giving workshops, and training people; students, customers, & colleagues. I already had desirable management and 'people' skills because of my prior career experience. So now, for example, talking to parents on the phone is much easier than phoning up a potential customer to get them to buy something from you. Standing in front of a class of 30 teenagers is much easier when you have stood in front of similar size groups or larger to give seminars or training workshops or presented work in a meeting. It is easier to adapt to different students and languages when you already have many years experience in meeting people from all walks of life. 

What have I enjoyed so far? I love the collaboration that goes on in education. For example, I have found fellow teachers genuinely want to help you with a ‘Here you go- I require nothing back from you- I give this to you to help you’ mentality. Maybe not all, but the ones I am fortunate to know do. Being a teacher fits in perfectly with my ethos; my excitement for science, my genuine love of people of all ages from all walks of life. I believe science is something to be celebrated, and schools are there to enrich children’s lives. My best subjects at school- and I say this to my students- were Art, English and History. Inevitably, they then ask, ‘But why then Miss did you do chemistry?’. ’Well’, I say..’ it is because I find it challenging that I do it, it is because there is more to discover than you could possibly ever imagine’ and that is why I now teach chemistry.

  Do I miss my old career? The money I was earning? In honesty, I have no idea just yet because there is no possible value that you can place on finally being able to be yourself and giving other people the opportunity to be the best that they can be. The best thing about teaching is every single day is totally different. You get a completely different experience with each lesson, even with the same class. The main thing to remember is have fun while you are teaching; if you are enjoying your subject then your students can enjoy it too.

If you are feeling inspired by Jeanette's journey into teaching, our blog 'Why A Classroom-Based Teacher Training Route Might Be Perfect for You!' is an ideal next read. If you have changed careers into teaching or have recently trained to teach, reach out to us on social media; we would love to hear from you. 

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