I’d always considered being a maths teacher but because both my parents are teachers, I thought it would be a cop out to become one too. I needed a break from maths after university, so I decided to intern at a cake shop. I soon worked my way up to become a professional cake decorator and baker. I spent my days sandwiching chocolate sponges between frosting, inscribing cakes with happy birthday and making sugar paste flowers. It was fun, I loved it. So why did I leave?

I was getting bored; everyday was the same and I wasn’t learning anything new. I wanted a challenge and I missed thinking mathematically. I needed to change careers. I knew I never wanted to work in the city or do a typical ‘mathsy’ job. I hated the idea of sitting at a desk all day, so I started to explore my options. I loved seeing customers excited when picking up their birthday cakes, knowing my hard work was appreciated and had paid off. This reminded me of when I tutored at university and the satisfaction I’d get when a student finally got a problem we’d been working on. I had subconsciously decided I wanted to be a teacher. Consequently, I volunteered to teach the baking classes our cake company offered. The teaching part was great, but I wasn’t fully engaged with what I was teaching. It was then that I realised I definitely wanted to teach maths.

One thing I had always aspired to do was encourage students to enjoy maths in school. In particular, I wanted to support students from diverse backgrounds and communities who wouldn’t necessarily have the encouragement at home. It made me think that I wanted to teach children in a school like the one I had gone to. So I looked into teaching careers at my old secondary school and turns out they were looking for School Direct students.

I now run my own small bespoke cake business to satisfy my love of cake decorating, which I will never give up, but I’m also starting to teach maths classes in my first placement, the school I went to, and I absolutely love it. It turns out that my old secondary school has had an overhaul and is now considered Outstanding by OFSTED. It is not the troubled and difficult environment of my school days, but it still has the wide mix of students that I want to teach.

After only 2 weeks in my first placement, I already know I have made the right choice in changing careers.

By Georgia Rubinstein (UCL, Institute of Education)