Becoming a student in your 50s

How does it feel to be a career-changer starting teacher training? And what support is available? We’re glad you asked... This year, we’ll be following some of our 2022 career changers as we support them through Initial Teacher Training. The best part? You'll get to read them too!

3 mins

8/29/2022 4:03:00 PM
Caroline Davis Blog Article Banner (3)

Over the next year, our social media and content exec, Robyn, will be checking in with our Now Teachers about how they’re feeling and their experience of teacher training.

First up, we have Caroline Davis, a former science journalist with over 20 years of experience, who decided it was time to share her passion for maths with young people. 

"The idealist in me hopes to inspire a new generation to embrace maths – not to see it as difficult, boring or irrelevant. To realise its usefulness and discover the pure joy of a neat solution.”  

Teaching part-time was imperative for Caroline to officially switch careers, as it is with many of our candidates, so we helped find an ITT provider that offers this. She is now training part-time with National Maths and Physics SCITT. 


Lovely to meet you, Caroline! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I can imagine you’re experiencing all sorts of emotions right now...

How are you feeling about starting teacher training?

Excited and utterly terrified.  

I want to do this; I have been thinking about it for years. But I didn’t know if part-time teaching was an option and that held me back from applying. Now Teach told me it was, introduced me to a Now Teacher who had trained part-time, and directed me towards training providers that offer part-time.  

They gave me the information and support I needed to take the plunge, so at the grand old age of 50, I quit my comfortable job and committed to a two-year part-time PGCE with NMAPS. 

As I left the house for my induction at my school, I took a selfie on the doorstep and posted it on Facebook. I wrote: 'Obligatory first day at school photo. I am hoping that I get good students and that the other teachers are nice and want to be my friend. Thinking of Mrs. Mottershead, Miss Heneghan, and Mrs. Wilson as I begin my own journey to becoming a maths teacher.’  

It's been almost 40 years since I met them, and I still smile when I think of them. They inspired me to study mathematics at university and to become a teacher. And now I can’t wait to get started.


I do love a selfie, and of course, first day at school photos are 100% obligatory. I don’t think you’re alone in fondly remembering teachers that inspired you, I could certainly name a few. 

Nerves aside, what are you most looking forward to? 

Maths is one of the oldest academic disciplines and is still the language of the world we inhabit. I'm excited to understand how my students think and then share my passion in a way that encourages them to embrace maths. 

I’m looking forward to learning how to command the attention of a room, getting immediate feedback from a live lesson – rather than the silence of an office job – and mostly, being part of a team who will develop and support young people to overcome their hurdles and be all they can be.  


Super inspiring! Maths can be tough for some (myself included) but having a teacher so passionate about the subject should help to spark an interest in students like me. Speaking of hurdles... 

What do you think you’ll find most challenging? 

  • The reality of being a teacher: a lot of hard work and resilience are required in this job 

  • Managing a room of students: behaviour management was one of the reasons I kept putting my application off and is known as one of the biggest challenges for those considering teaching 

  • Remembering maths: my degree was decades ago and the younger grads on my SCITT have a mathematical athleticism I can only dream of recapturing - I even forgot the sine rule existed! 

  • Presenting a 40-minute lesson: my medium has always been the written word and I actively avoided speaking presentations for 25 years in my career 

  • Having the energy to teach: although I’m training part-time and going to work a three-day week, it will still be a significant lifestyle change. No more working from home in yesterday’s joggers...

  • Juggling parenthood with teaching: I worry my social battery will be used up at school and I'll have to hide from my own children when I get home so I can recharge 


All valid concerns, many of our career changers express similar worries. I hope that once you meet your lecturers and fellow trainees, some of these challenges will feel less overwhelming.

Thanks again for speaking with me, let’s check in next week... and good luck! 


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