From doctor to Now Teach trainee
Training period: July 2017 – July 2019
Where: Ark Elvin Academy, Wembley
Previous career: Doctor and CEO within the NHS
I applied in January 2017 and did a week’s experience which Now Teach helped to set up. I’d highly recommend that. Sitting in a school, talking to teachers and students and understanding the environment was invaluable. It made a huge difference being with Now Teach as they helped us to navigate the Ark teacher training application.
In the NHS, a lot of people at the stage I was at in my career retire or do some coaching and I felt I wasn’t really ready to go at that pace. I’d slightly lost my mojo and I like new and different challenges but I’d also watched the tv programme on Teach First and was really inspired by it.
I thought it was amazing and some of the skills those young people were learning I’m now having to think about in my classrooms. My son is actually now doing Teach First straight out of uni, he’s taken to it like a duck to water and I’ve been drowning in the shallow end!
I seriously underestimated what it’s like to go back to the beginning. I didn’t think it would be so painful, being completely incompetent and not being able to wing it because you don’t know the context.
I was given a lot of support and I felt there was a sort of matchmaking going on between Now Teach and Ark to make sure you were in the right school.
When I first started my training I felt John Cleese could write a very funny comedy about what I was about to deliver in each lesson. Missing out half my lesson because I’d pressed the wrong button on the computer, tripping over bags, turning Power Point off accidentally, I’ve done it all.
I’ve also had to ‘unlearn’ some stuff which has been difficult. When you’re running a hospital, your persona and leadership style enable anyone to come and talk to you.
I chose to teach maths because I’d always found maths an easy subject but I found that trying to explain how you get to the answer, finding a way to unpick that is really hard.
I’m teaching Year 7s all week and I also teach Year 10, which is what’s called an intervention class. For these children, there’s no curriculum as such so you have to work out what you can usefully teach. I’m now 9 months in and the difference is quite staggering. I feel a lot more confident about what I’m doing. The behaviour has improved and the teachers have great pride in what they’re doing and are inspired to reach high standards.
Throughout my life I’ve always tried to make a difference to disadvantaged communities. That’s why I originally made the change from practising physician to public health and it’s why I’ve made the decision to become a teacher.