I had a successful career in banking and retail and would have never considered tutoring – or indeed teaching – if it hadn’t been for members of my church approaching me to tutor children in the community. The experience helped me to develop key skills and a deep understanding of young people. I would advise anyone who wants to become a teacher to consider tutoring young people like I did to see if it is the right fit for you.
I worked full time for three years as a tutor to home-schooled children in a classroom environment and this experience piqued my interest in teaching.
Working with children
My career change started when I returned to the UK. After a successful career working at Diamond Bank Plc in Nigeria, I decided to move into the retail sector. It was during this time that I started working as a childminder and drama coach in my spare time. I have always been very passionate about drama, and I studied it at school. I got into the National Youth Theatre and was there at the same time as Daniel Craig, so it was great to be able to share my love of it with young people and prepare them for competitions and plays.
I then worked full-time for three years as a tutor to home-schooled children in a classroom environment and this experience piqued my interest in teaching. The classes ranged from two to five children and covered early years, reception through to Year 6.
I taught children the full primary curriculum. I also helped children through the common entrance process, specifically with creative writing and maths. When I looked into what subject to teach at secondary, maths was my first choice as I had studied engineering and I had a strong background in finance.
My first day in the classroom
I still remember how horrible my first day of teaching was because I was put into a new classroom with a layout that was completely different to the one that I had grown accustomed to during my training. I had created a detailed lesson plan, but I wasn’t able to use it. I spent the first few minutes of the class rearranging the students, which caused a lot of delays. I became overwhelmed but fortunately, I was able to recover and get the class back on track.
I also had to learn to manage the students’ behaviour. I had trained with Ark Teacher Training which focused heavily on behaviour management, so I felt confident about it. One thing I found very useful was counting down to silence: ‘silence on three, two, one.’ Also, I remember reminding myself that I was the boss and that they were in my classroom, which helped raise my confidence.
Now Teach and our Network
I joined Now Teach because I wanted to meet more career-changers like me, and I am so glad I did as we were able to encourage and support each other throughout the training year, especially that daunting first term. It was very full on as I was juggling teaching, training and trying to set up my routine but by Christmas I had got my bearings.
I was also able to meet my fellow Now Teachers face to face at the regular meetups that Now Teach organised, as well as at the graduation day. I was very fortunate at my school because there was already another Now Teacher from a previous cohort working there, so the staff were used to career-changers, and this made everything at the school a lot easier for me.
Becky went to school in the UK, but then studied and worked in Nigeria before returning and retraining as a teacher. If you’re not from the UK but feel inspired by her story, then have a look at the eligibility criteria for teaching.