As a career changer, how do you plan to bring your previous work experience into the classroom?

Vicky HayesAged 45, after a successful career in cryptographic software development, I decided it was time for a new challenge. For many years I had considered teaching but it was never the right time; at 21 I didn’t feel ready to go straight back into a school, for the rest of my 20s my career was fulfilling and full of new opportunities and then my children arrived. Now, well into their teens, my children are fairly independent and I have the time and energy to fully commit to training to teach; it was time to make the leap into a new profession.

I am training on the Schools Direct route and have been in school for just over a month. Every day is different and there is a great team spirit amongst the teachers in the maths department. Already I am sure that this has been a very good move for me and I am looking forward to getting to know the students better and developing as a teacher.

In my view, coming into the profession as a career changer adds another dimension to your teaching. Those of us longer in the tooth can draw on our work experience to give real world examples to our students. I never truly understood why prime numbers are so important outside of the classroom until I worked in cryptography and I am sure most career changers have examples from their own careers.

The experiences I have had over the last 25 years, both in and out of work, give me a perspective on education that I didn’t have when I was younger. Numeracy and a basic understanding of data representation, probability and statistics are so important for everyone so we can look after our finances and make informed choices. We all understand that analytical, problem solving and reasoning skills are valuable in all professions, especially in STEM careers, but my life experience has shown me the huge importance of more general skills such as determination, team work and resilience. These can all be developed within the maths classroom and I am looking forward to finding activities and teaching techniques which will help all my students grow into confident and capable adults. 

By Vicky Hayes