What inspired you to want to become a maths teacher?

Henna MahmoodHaving spent five years’ working extremely hard during my civil engineering degree apprenticeship I had hoped and expected the moment I obtained my degree certificate to be one of immense pride and joy but most importantly excitement of what was yet to come. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I felt panic. Everyone around me was proud of me getting to the finish line but for some reason I felt like I was at the start of the race.

I think the moment I realised I was in the wrong career was a few months earlier when I had applied for a job role, been successful at a higher position with a better salary, but I didn’t take it. What was wrong with me?  For me the job was missing something which when I first started in the industry, I didn’t think I would crave so deeply. I wanted to make a difference. I know it’s a cheesy line and sure civil engineering makes a difference on the large scheme of things but, I am a small cog in a very large system. If I was removed, the machine would still run smooth and any work I contributed towards had a larger contribution from hundreds of other engineers. I wanted to feel as though coming into work truly helped impact a person’s life. So, I had a choice. I could just keep climbing the career ladder always thinking what if? or I could do something about it.

I spent time trying to determine the right career path for me but then I realised there was a job I had always wanted to do but didn’t have the courage. One thing worth mentioning is the person I was at the start of my apprenticeship compared to the end are two opposites. In 2016, I was extremely nervous. I still remember when public speaking would cause my palms to sweat as well as my heart beating so fast against my chest, I couldn’t hear my voice. Fast forward to 2021 and I’m on a European panel speaking in front of 9,000 members of staff. You can imagine 18-year-old me shuddering at the thought of teaching a group of 16-year-olds despite this being a route I had always wanted to take. I decided to go back to what I had always wanted to be as I was no longer afraid. I can say confidently the way I have felt since making this decision is how I should have felt the moment I held my degree certificate. I’m where I’m supposed to be for the first time in what seems like forever.

By Henna Mahmood

You can find Henna on LinkedIn here.