Changing career and choosing Now Teach
After more than 20 years as a healthcare analyst I decided to become a teacher. I had always been attracted to teaching but I only considered the decision to change my career seriously in late 2019, when I was working as Head of Medical Devices Market Analysis for Fitch Solutions.
I managed a team of multicultural analysts based in London and South Africa. We produced market data and content analysis focused on the medical device industry at county, regional, and global level.
The company had started a consultancy process to relocate some analysts. Instead of moving, I thought that this was the perfect time to change my career.
I felt that my experience could have a positive impact on the education of young people, while I could achieve a more balanced, enriching and meaningful life.
I carefully assessed the pros and cons of changing my career and ultimately, encouraged by my partner, I went ahead. It was January 2020 when I first contacted Now Teach and Get Into Teaching. I needed professional advice from reputable organisations and both were able to understand and support me.
I continued my research, attended events organised by Now Teach and Get Into Teaching, and talked to their advisers – both really helpful – but it was Now Teach who really understood what I needed as a career changer. For me, it was also very positive to have the support of the Now Teach network of experienced individuals who could understand each other. We all wanted to use our professional experience to provide that extra mile in education.
As a career changer, I believe that it is important that you consider the personal and economic implications for you and your family before applying for teacher training.
I would also advise any aspiring career changers to gain a full understanding of the available routes to become a teacher and be clear about the path they want to take. It is always important to talk to advisers who can offer clear advice when you need it – like Now Teach, who really helped me make an informed decision.
"It was also very positive to have the support of the Now Teach Network - individuals who could understand each other. We all wanted to use our professional experience to provide that extra mile in education."
Experience of training and teaching
The biggest learnings from my training year were to have excellent classroom entry and exit routines, measure the time you spend on lesson planning (including learning to know when a lesson is good enough), and last but not least – make an effort to know your students very well.
On a personal level, and now that I am a teacher, I always make a conscious effort to leave early one day a week. I call it my well-being day. I leave by 4pm latest, which means that I can go to the gym, have a run or meet up for a coffee. I manage to leave early by managing my time efficiently in the school.
I was offered a full-time teaching training position as a Spanish teacher at the Lambeth Academy, run by United Learning, even though my original plan was to train Monday to Thursday; this had been my working pattern for over 10 years.
"I am still mesmerised when my students communicate in Spanish, especially when they make the effort to say something Spanish to me in the corridors."
As a trainee teacher, I benefited from working strongly with my mentor and observing other colleagues as much as possible. The benefits of full-time training were that I maximised my teaching and learning exposure and had a better understanding of the wider school community.
I’m now three years into my career change journey, having recently completed two years an Early Careers Teacher (ECT) at the Grange Academy, part of Future Academies, which feels like a big achievement!
As a teacher, I have a better understanding of what students need but also a better understanding of me as a teacher. I continue to access training sessions delivered by Now Teach and like to read academic papers about education. The latest annual Now Teach conference reminded me about how powerful the Now Teach Network is, and the shared mission that as professionals who care, we all want to provide our best in education.
You'll be known as an early career teacher (ECT) for your first 2 years in teaching. The term early career teacher (ECT) has replaced newly qualified teacher (NQT). During your 2 year induction, you'll receive a package of training and support based on the early career framework (ECF)(opens in new window).
As a language teacher, I am still mesmerised when my students communicate in Spanish, when they make the effort to say something Spanish to me in the corridors, or when they manage to write meaningful pieces in Spanish.
I enjoy being in a school environment and feel that I am supporting the education of young students. Days can be hard at times but even then, time goes very quickly, and then I realise it is time to go home.
Further development and aspirations
I have started the new academic year in a new school, the UCL Academy. My aim is to know my new students better, forge new relationships, and continue to strengthen my teaching and learning practice in Spanish, particularly for KS5 (16–18-year-olds).
I also have a place accepted to attend an NPQ for Leading Teaching, which will support my route to becoming the “best possible” teacher.
After a few years teaching, I only now feel ready to explore other avenues to use my career experience in the school environment. I realise that students value my previous professional experience. At UCL Academy, I would like to contribute to their careers education, enhancing their existing curriculum and ensuring that I can positively support my new students.
"I would advise any aspiring career changers to gain a full understanding of the available routes to becoming a teacher. It is important to talk to advisers who can offer clear advice when you need it – like Now Teach, who really helped me make an informed decision."