The pandemic ignited my passion for teaching
Sameera Asad Cooper

I started thinking about changing career when the UK first went into lockdown, and I had to take on the bulk of the home-schooling. I enjoyed it so much that I started looking into teaching but was nervous about the prospect of starting again.

Sameera
Sameera Asad Cooper Headshot For Case Study

Sameera had a successful career in the fashion industry before deciding to take some time out to focus on her family. She decided to become a chemistry teacher after helping her children with their schoolwork during lockdown.    

I started thinking about changing career when the UK first went into lockdown, and I had to take on the bulk of the home-schooling. I enjoyed it so much that I started looking into teaching but was nervous about the prospect of starting again. However, my experience during my training year has shown me that ambition does not change with age. So many people change career later in life, especially now as we are all living longer. I would advise anyone else considering a career move to not be afraid to challenge yourself and do something new. 

Now Teach helped me navigate changing career during Covid by giving me lots of advice and always being available to book in a call.

Changing careers during the lockdown

My decision to change careers happened during the lockdown when I was home-schooling my three children, but particularly my son. I was worried he would fall behind in his science subjects without being face-to-face with his teachers, so I spent a lot of time finding new ways for him to learn the material. After discussing the experience with one of my friends who is a teacher, I decided to look into the various teacher training options. 

Since last September, I have been doing the School Direct route and training four days a week with Ark Isaac Newton Academy. I chose to teach chemistry, but I am teaching physics as well. Doing the School Direct route can be a bit overwhelming initially as you are thrown in the deep end very quickly. Fortunately, I was able to ask for advice from my colleagues and my SLT on how best to manage things like behaviour to ensure that what I was doing in the classroom was in line with the school policy.

Overcoming hurdles in the beginning

I had a very strange training year as I have had to teach my students online and face-to-face. I still remember the very first class I taught in a classroom: I had prepared my lesson and practised it over and over again, but things just didn’t go my way on the day. My whiteboard didn’t work, so I couldn’t get the PowerPoint I had prepared up on the screen. I managed to hold my nerve and regain control of the class, but I certainly learned a lot about the unreliability of technology that day! 

The classes that I taught online when everyone was expected to stay at home went much more smoothly. I noticed that the students who were usually very quiet in class found their voice during the online lessons. They felt confident contributing, and they are still communicating with me on Teams now, even though we have gone back to face-to-face teaching. Everyone thinks that online education is not ideal, but I think it is beneficial for the quieter students to still be able to communicate online when necessary.

Support from Now Teach

I have had incredible support during my training year from both my colleagues and Now Teach. Now Teach helped me navigate changing career during Covid by giving me lots of advice and always being available to book in a call. Also, their webinars with education experts have been very insightful and they are recorded so I can access them any time. 

Being a part of the Now Teach Network has been amazing and shown me that that there are so many other people out there like me taking the brave decision to start again. I only met up with my cohort once during my training year, but we are in touch every day on the WhatsApp groups giving each other advice and guidance. It is great to have such a strong sense of community in my cohort and get tips from the other Now Teachers that have done it all before us. 

Sameera was inspired to become a teacher after home-schooling her children during the COVID-19 pandemic. We advise everyone to spend time observing in schools or tutoring young people before teaching in a classroom. Check out our school experience page to discover what it’s really like working as a secondary school teacher. 

FAQ

There’s a lot to consider if you are thinking about becoming a teacher, so we’ve gathered together the key information that you need to know. If your questions aren’t answered here, please email our expert Recruitment team who will be happy to provide advice

Now Teach is an education charity for people who have had a successful career and now want to use their experience to make a difference by becoming teachers. People who join our Network often have decades of experience and come from a range of sectors. 

We help career changers by advising them on which teacher training place to choose and providing support through initial teacher training and beyond.

We also invite Now Teachers to join our Network - a national community of like-minded peers with similar backgrounds. This helps to smooth the transition into teaching and accelerates their progress in the profession.

This ongoing support, coaching, training sessions and our Network is designed to amplify impact and accelerate progress as second career teachers.

A great education is a vital part of a young person's life and schools are constantly working to make sure their students learn and thrive. There is always a need for great teachers who can make a difference.

This is particularly important for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are less likely to get the grades that lead to a job with good prospects or university. 

At the same time, our lives are growing longer. Many experienced and highly skilled professionals are looking for new and rewarding challenges for the next stage in their working lives. We know some of these people want to teach.

In the past, many career-changers moving into teaching have found the transition tough and have left the profession after only a few years. We are changing that.

Now Teach helps career-changers successfully retrain to become great teachers, helping them secure a training place, and then supporting them to stay in the profession for the long-term.

Now Teach provides career changers with a tailor-made support programme, including a new professional network of other career-changers, to amplify their impact and accelerate progress.

We want changing career later in life to become a normal, unexceptional step. We want talented people to bring their skills and insights into the teaching environment and, over time, use their experience to contribute to wider improvements in education.

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