I was always adamant that I would not follow the path of many of my contemporaries and go in to teaching. It had never appealed and I (wrongly) dismissed children as rude, boring germ-carriers. How wrong could I be?!
Optimistically, I entered the workforce upon graduating in 2009 at the height of the recession; working as a dog groomer, luxury brand sales assistant, charity shop manager, book seller, to name a few of the jobs that I tried and found to be crushingly dissatisfying. In my mid-twenties I began working with young people in a career guidance capacity. Finally, the penny dropped. Children are brilliant and it feels GOOD to help them!
Fast-forward a couple of years, a lot of tears shed over the numeracy skills test (seriously, get it over and done with as soon as you can) and I find myself as a trainee teacher of Religious Studies at The Blue Coat school in Oldham. I really wish I had done this sooner.
I am only 10 weeks in to my teaching practice and I am surprised by how much I have progressed already. My timetable gradually increased so that now I am teaching 9 lessons per week. My mentor and departmental teachers have been crucial in building up my confidence and teaching skills. They embraced me as a member of staff from day one and include me in all of their meetings, planning and brainstorming.
When we are not getting side-tracked by Donald Trump, killer clowns, Harambe or dabbing I have some of my most meaningful and mature conversations with the students. Their insight, optimism and outlook on life is what gets me up in the morning. I feel proud knowing that the knowledge and analytical skills that we teach in RS will prepare them for living in modern Britain.
For anyone who is thinking ‘can I actually teach?’, my advice would be to attend as many teaching Open Days as possible. I went to a few and knew that the Manchester Nexus was the right choice for me: supportive staff, a clear structure and good employment prospects. Most Open Days involve observing different classes, and if they don’t, ask!
My evenings have gone from Netflix marathons to planning, marking, eating ice cream for energy and being in bed by 9:30PM but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Teaching is demanding, don’t get me wrong, but knowing that you have stretched and challenged young minds makes it all worthwhile.
Suzanne Crump, Manchester Nexus Religious Studies Trainee