I was recently asked by the University of Sussex (@UniofSussex) to speak briefly at a local recruitment event. In essence I had to get across why teaching was so special to me and I entitled the talk “The best job in the world…?” As we prepare for the next round of School Direct recruitment which opens on UCAS tomorrow I thought it was worth sharing my thoughts.
- You make a difference every day – so many jobs seem to become routine and mundane. People get bored of the monotony or lack of challenge. In teaching we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to genuinely make a life-changing difference every single day. When life gets tough for young people often it is school that provides the “glue” to hold it all together. We can provide the consistency and care that can inspire our students to make the most of their potential. When you think about it what could be better?!
- Young people give you vitality and energy – I secretly still feel as if I am 25 and believe at the heart of this is the joy and vitality I take from being with young people each and every day. They make you laugh and cry and brim with pride when they do their best. I would feel a bit lost without this buzz each day in school. I am really grateful to staff and students at our school for creating an environment and culture that is so alive.
- You need to have a “growth mindset” and willingness to learn – to be happy and successful in teaching you need to be committed to still being a learner. Stephen Tierney @LeadingLearner lives this out well… as a Headteacher you need to be open to learning. If you feel the journey is over it is time to give up!
- You will be inspired and supported to be the “best you can be” – all through my career I have been blessed by having people around me who challenged, supported and inspired me. I firmly believe you are only as good as those who you are working with. You cannot blueprint the perfect teacher or the perfect leader in school but you can be changed by walking alongside some of the best.
- You will find a world of opportunity and talent is nurtured at every stage – in the “old days” you only got opportunities if you had sat in the seat for the longest. You were expected to “do your time” as a teacher before you took on responsibility. I believe teaching is now a meritocracy… if you are good enough you are experienced enough. Last year we had three experienced staff on maternity leave. The trio who took the reins were young but truly brilliant. I know they will make outstanding school leaders and we have a duty of care to nurture, support and develop them now and in the future.
School direct is the most wonderful and inspiring route to teacher training that we can be involved in. We work in partnership with two universities, Sussex and St Mary’s University College, to develop a programme that inspires and develops some amazing teachers to work in our schools and beyond. We market the programme in exotic locations from Brighton to Dublin and then go on to interview and recruit teachers onto the course. The quality and the calibre of those training over the last two years has been excellent and I am proud that a number of them work in our school and in Inspire, the Teaching School Alliance we lead.
So if you want an opportunity to do something that means something then this could be your chance. I have never regretted the decision to teach for one single moment. Tomorrow marks the opening of the School Direct recruitment round for 2015/16… so what are you waiting for?