Why Did You Decide To Change Careers To Teaching? 

Changing careers after working in hospitality for nearly ten years was a frightening idea- as it is for many people considering the same move. What if the grass isn’t greener? What if my new job isn’t right for me either, then what? My initial career was, as I’m sure it is for many, not a deliberate choice. It was a first job-turned-progression up the ranks, and then suddenly (nine years down the line) I’m at a crossroads having to decide—stay where I am, comfortable but unsatisfied—or start something new, hopefully more fulfilling and less soul-crushing (this may be slightly hyperbolic).  

So, I went back to university in 2018, while working part time. After a tumultuous 2020-2021, I completed my degree in Mathematics. Now what do I do? I had hoped that an amazing new job would just find me rather than me have to go out and decide what I wanted to do, but no luck. So, à la Youtube's Jenny Nicholson, I made myself a numbered list of what I wanted from my new career. Firstly, I knew I didn’t want to work myself into the ground to make money for some millionaire owner of a company. Second, I wanted to do something that I felt put some net ‘good’ into the world, like working for a charity or helping people in some way. And third, I knew I didn’t want to teach, because I like going on holidays and wasn’t prepared to give that up for paying three times as much during half-term. But, as a wise man called Mick once said, “you can’t always get what you want”.  

I knew that recruitment numbers for teachers were low, and the government were running various schemes and offering bursaries to tempt people to go into teaching. I’m sure we’ve all seen the ads – “Every lesson shapes a life.” Well I couldn’t argue against the impact that my secondary school teacher had on my life, I highly doubt if I didn’t have such a great teacher I would have ended up studying maths myself at university. I was good at it, but it was his enthusiasm that convinced me to push myself, to take my GCSE early, complete an Additional Maths qualification, and do the hard work all over again at A level.  

Speaking with other Maths Scholars, many of us have similar stories. We ended up applying for teaching because of the impact our teachers had on us, and we want to be that person for the kids of the next generation.  

The first thing I did was sign up to the Get into Teaching service, which links you to events going on locally and online. I also got assigned a personal adviser to help me with completing my application and with interviews. I researched teacher training providers and found a great provider in my region, and the rest is history (or present, I suppose). I am almost three months into my training year and I honestly don’t know if I’m going to do this for the rest of my life. Or even for the next ten years. But not once have I regretted taking the leap to change careers, and despite the challenges I’m facing this year, I have the opportunity to learn to be a really great teacher and I know I have the support of my school, my ITT provider and my fellow Maths Scholars to help me. All I can say is, if you’re considering changing careers, what’s the worst that can happen!? 

By Jessica Tuffs | Twitter @tuffsMaths 



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