Bringing Previous Work Experience Into The Classroom 

As a trainee teacher who went straight from school to university to my PGCE year, I thought this topic would be tricky to write about. I haven’t had a long career in a different line of work, and for the most part I’ve always wanted to teach maths at secondary level. After some thought I decided I wanted to provide a different take, and tell you how I brought my part time work into the classroom. 

My first job was working in a hairdresser’s when I was 15, and although to some it may seem like it wouldn’t benefit my teaching career at all, it really has. Working with clients of all ages gave me confidence from a young age with talking to people and working in a professional environment. I had lots of interesting conversations with a variety of people here and it gave me a good basis of work experience to go on and get other jobs. 

After the hairdressers, I ventured into retail, with my first position being a sales assistant in a beauty store. I actually found this job difficult as it involved working long hours and repetitive days but it got me used to the working world, further developed my customer service skills and again built my confidence in talking to a wide range of people. 

Once I got to university I secured part time jobs in specifically trainer related retail. Whilst doing this I realised how much I needed to be interacting with people in my working day, hence one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher. Whilst working in this area of retail, it became obvious to me how teenagers love the trainer world. So many people similar to the age I am training to teach would come into the stores and they would always have such an extensive knowledge and passion for shoes. Understanding the cultural aspects of students’ lives is incredibly important as it can provide great ideas for contextual examples and help keep maths relevant to our students, which in turn keeps them engaged.  

Working in retail for 5 years has helped me build resilience, adaptability and as I keep mentioning, confidence. In the classroom we must be resilient and keep trying for our students, no matter how long it takes or how many different methods we have to go through to finally provide that lightbulb moment for our class. We must be adaptable to help all abilities and to recognise when something we’re doing isn’t working and change it.

Working in retail, you get asked a lot of questions on the spot and you must be prepared for almost anything, which of course can be applied to the classroom. Finally, you have to be confident as a teacher, not only with delivering content to a class but also with your subject knowledge, choices you make, and your passion for mathematics.

By Chlöe Allason


Message from the Scholarship Team

You can apply to the Scholarships with a 2:2 degree classification, providing you can demonstrate 'significant relevant experience'. Also you can apply before completing your subject knowledge enhancement course. See our eligibility criteria on our About Us page and our FAQs.



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