Farida Chand

Faculty Coordinator for Religious Education and Citizenship, Saltley Academy

PGCE Education, 2008

Farida Chand teaching in a classroom

My current role at the Academy entails coordinating the Religious Studies and Citizenship department. This involves designing and preparing schemes of work and monitoring and supporting a team of staff.

I also work alongside local universities to train and mentor student teachers during their teacher training programme.

What is a typical work day?

A typical day at work usually begins with an 8am start, followed by an 8.20am morning briefing. We then move onto form time, followed by book club; leading to two 55minute lessons. Lessons can entail anything from teaching about The European Union and the benefits of living in Multi-cultural Britain to ethical arguments related to abortion, euthanasia or war. It’s then a quick dash to the staff room for a coffee break and catch up. Another 55minute lesson, a 50min lunch break and then finally the last lesson of the day ending at 3pm.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

The reason I chose to study both my degree and PGCE at the University of Birmingham was not only because it was local and meant I didn’t need to leave my city but because it was a redbrick university with exceptional education and a diverse international community.  I’ve always taken an interest in people, ideas and beliefs so when I learnt that the University of Birmingham provided a BA in Theology and a PGCE in Religious Studies it only made sense to choose the university.   

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

Initially teaching was not something I wanted to get into.  Coming from a large family of boys and being my parent’s only daughter meant I was adamant I didn’t want to get into a career that I thought was stereotypically for women.  I was also well aware it would be difficult to find a suitable career that was linked to my degree in Theology and my passion for religions; so teaching just felt like the only choice to make.  Little did I know it would become a career and job that I’d love and feel so passionate about.

After completing my NQT year, teaching Religious Studies and History, I spent some time in Yemen teaching English to a small group of children and, alongside, learnt about mysticism, spirituality and furthered my studies in Islamic sciences.  I then returned to the UK to teach mainly Religious Studies as a supply teacher for schools around the Birmingham and Solihull area. Eventually, in 2014, took on a permanent position as a Religious Studies and Geography teacher at Saltley Academy.   

What advice would you give to other students?

If I was to give any advice I’d say don’t panic about the small things, there is always support available. Be passionate about what you do and set your goals high. Find happiness in the little things and if you’re ever in doubt about doing something, do it anyway.   

We Are (Third Width)


“Every day will contain both highs and low, young people can be very challenging, but knowing that you are making a difference to their lives, even though they may not appreciate straight away, is something that keeps me going in the teaching profession. There is an overwhelming feeling of purpose in being a teacher.”