Changing Careers - By Helen Li

Helen LiI am 47. I have a successful career in accountancy. I have decided to retrain to be a secondary maths teacher. Why? It is definitely not the money but after 25 years working across various industries, I found that I had loss the enjoyment of what I was doing.

I had considered teaching a number of times. First time was when I was completing my maths degree and all the ‘grown ups’ would say so are you going into teaching and as a teenager rebelled against that idea (reminds me that I will be dealing with pupils with the same attitudes – what have I done!!!). Another time was when I was on maternity leave with my first child but actually my husband decided to retrain as he was made redundant so I became the breadwinner so went back into accountancy so the bills could be paid and continued with my career path in accountancy.

Now at 47, my family are older. My husband is stable in his career as Head of Faculty. My children more independent. Financially, we are comfortable with both of us working. In July, an opportunity arose where I could apply for redundancy. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on my life and realised how unhappy I had been in the past couple of years in my career and actually the thought of changing career into teaching really reignited something inside me and realised that I wanted to teach and especially maths as I love maths. I want to pass that passion of maths to all those children who ‘hate’ maths. Believe me, I know this will not be an easy feat, but I want to try!

Realising that September was only a couple of months away, I started researching for courses in my area and was lucky that there were still some vacancies. I managed to apply within a week and managed to get interviews pretty much soon after. I was successful! I had managed to secure a SCITT placement within 2 weeks!

Panic has now set in, it’s been nearly 30 years ago since I did my GCSE and A Level maths but the last month I have been refreshing my subject knowledge using BBC bitesize and SENECA but there are so many resources out there. I also asked to do a 8 weeks SKE (the shortest time I could fit in before the SCITT started) and was super helpful as although I may recall how to do topics, it was also considering how to teach the topics and breaking steps down further.

Now I am in my first month of my teacher training. I have met half of my cohort of trainees as we had to be split into smaller classes but as we are moving into placements, the pedagogy sessions have become remote. I had my first day in my placement school this week and it was great to see the pupils and how passionate and welcoming the teachers are. I hope some day that will be me!

By Helen Li



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