BSc Geography, 2010
PGDipEd (QTS) Secondary Geography, 2011
Teaching is a wonderful career and has provided me so many opportunities. Each day classes and pupils present often unexpected challenges and rewards.
To anyone just about to start on their training I’d say, “enjoy every second and take every opportunity”. It will be challenging but extremely rewarding.
What do you think of the learning experience in Birmingham?
I’ve grown up with a really positive view of the University of Birmingham as my mum is an alumna. Throughout my time at Birmingham, the people I met, through courses and societies have become long standing friends and together we have shared so many different experiences. After attending a volunteer fair, I worked for a local charity, where I coached cricket at a nearby primary school. A careers fair enabled me to gain valuable teaching experience in a local secondary school. These experiences reinforced my desire to teach. After my undergraduate degree, I completed my teacher training at Birmingham; the course appealed to me as I gained credits during my training year which I converted into a Masters in my second year of teaching.
How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
My first Geography teaching post was in rural Herefordshire. I really enjoyed extracurricular activities such as sports coaching and being involved in our link with Uganda. I visited our link secondary school in rural Uganda with a group of Year 13 students several times and led two trips as the link co-ordinator. My next post brought me back to Birmingham, joining the University of Birmingham School as Subject Leader of Geography. This was a wonderful opportunity to establish the department when the school opened in September 2015. The school has strong links with the university and it has been beneficial for students and staff alike to be involved in the latest research and university events. Another aspect of my role was to mentor training and newly qualified teachers which has been extremely rewarding and again enabled me to develop my own practice. I am now undertaking a PhD at the School of Education, researching recruitment, retention and well-being of geography teachers.
What advice would you give other students?
Use the support mechanisms around you – it is demanding, so make sure you are taking care of yourself physically and mentally. A good piece of advice I had was ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’. Your colleagues are knowledgeable people at university, in your cohort and in your placement schools. Take every opportunity to talk to them and ask questions. As a teacher you are about to embark on lifelong learning, pace yourself.
“The outstanding memories include watching the sunset at Southerndown in Wales with A level geographers, some who had not been to the coast before and opening my bedroom door to a hippo in Uganda!”