| Case Studies

From music journalism to Now Teach trainee

Cohort: September 2019 – June 2020 
Where: ReachThomas Tallis School, Greenwich
Subject: Physics

My career has been in the music press, overseeing titles like Q and MOJO. I also wrote a string of music books and recently completed a music PhD. It was always an exciting, creative experience, with lots of risks and lots of freedom. I initially fell into writing about music almost by accident, after a conventional rite of passage, namely my band being booted off my record label!

Ultimately it’s actually a joyful experience to help address this, in whatever small way I can.

For the last few years I’ve been thinking every day about issues like social mobility, what kind of world we’re leaving our children. I became Chair of Governors at a wonderful comprehensive school, Addey and Stanhope in Deptford, and was idly chatting with another governor, and she suggested that I career-change into teaching. I was scared… and intrigued. I later filled out the initial questionnaire for Now Teach and then parked the idea until the time was right.

Timing it right

I had a long-term plan for taking the plunge and going in to teaching the year my son went off to university, and somehow, as it’s happened it’s all felt logical and right, even though I’m intimidated by how much I have to learn. I spent quite a lot of time with other teachers, supported physics classes in Deptford, asked them about workload and whether I could even remember all the names of a class of 25 or 30 kids. They reassured me… somewhat. But at least I’ve developed, over the course of my career, the ability to seem calm and in control, even when I might not be.

Of course I have concerns, for me, sustained hard work, following a strict timetable and adapting to completely new routines will be a challenge. But I love the buzz, I love learning new skills every day, my fellow staff are wonderful, patient and impressive, but most of all I love the kids, in all their infinite variety. I want them to learn to think hard and question.

If you like moving outside your comfort zone, could you think of a more fulfilling challenge?

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