“My whole family are, or have been maths teachers and it’s something I’ve always said I’d do, but coming out of university I didn’t feel ready for teaching, so I went into industry. I moved to London and worked as a management consultant for 4 years, then worked in Customer Strategy for about 4 years. My wife and I really enjoyed being in London, but we both knew we didn’t want to stay there forever.
“My family is from Carlisle and my wife is from Cheltenham. We’d heard that Gloucestershire is a great place to train as a teacher and GITEP has a great reputation, so Cheltenham seemed the logical place to live.
“Back in March 2013 I did two weeks of work shadowing in schools, one week of maths and one week of physics, at Balcarras School and Dean Close. My university training was in engineering, so I could have taken either of those routes and experiencing different schools gave me an overview of the type of schools available. I decided I’d like to go though a formal teacher training route in a state school, applied to various schools and was accepted by Pate’s Grammar School for the QTS route.
“I chose Maths because it is so core to everybody on a day-to-day basis, from the cost of shopping to choosing a credit card, to buying a house. Statistics are really relevant in industry and any kind of maths is relevant in engineering. I love how neat it is, how it makes sense, the logic and problem solving and even that there are right and wrong answers!
“The original application to GITEP was part of the interview process here, so not only did I have to stand up and teach part of a lesson, Tim Connole from GITEP was part of the interview panel, talking to me about my motivation and background etc. GITEP were key to my decision to train in Gloucestershire – they provide the framework for the training, organise one-day visits into other schools to give a wider perspective before starting at your ‘parent’ placement and, in the first few weeks, cover the core elements of learning theories, behaviour management, e-safety, etc. to prepare you for your fist day at school.
“There is a subject-led element as well, so I spend time with Sharon, the Maths Subject Leader, along with the other maths trainees. That starts with a few full days together at the start, reducing to an afternoon once a week. After the foundation year, you’re in your school, but GITEP are still in contact by email, the course material is accessible online and you have 2 half days a week of training, one of which is GITEP led, one by the school. I’m finding it valuable to see how maths is taught in primary schools, so I know what to expect from my new year 7 students. They certainly provide a great point of support and are always available to answer questions.
“I think teaching is a hugely valuable choice, a wonderful opportunity and a great responsibility. I probably come into contact with around 200 young people per week to teach them maths and what a chance to try and shape them and support them. Growing up’s not that easier and it’s certainly not getting any easier, so its very rewarding in that respect. The extra-curricular things are great too, from Duke of Edinburgh, to sport, to cookery – you can see the same students that you teach in maths and they’re completely different characters in other situations, which is lovely to see.
“GITEP offer excellent support. My sister and brother-in-law went through the training in other parts of the country and I’d certainly say that I’m better equipped and better supported than they were. If you are confident with maths, can explain things and are prepared to invest time, energy and patience, go for it – you’ll be well supported for the journey and can learn the skills you need!“