Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I Became a Science Teacher: I Want to Raise the Aspirations of My Students

English: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, M.D. from...
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, M.D. (Wikipedia)
Schools Improvement Net:

Teaching was going to be a stopgap for Kevin Onabiyi, but once in the classroom he found it impossible to leave and soon become head of teaching and learning in his school.

Here’s an extract of his story from the Guardian.

It wasn’t until I started my first placement, at Sarah Bonnell school in Stratford, that I got the teaching bug.

I got the first job I applied for, teaching science at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA), a girls school in north London.

I’m the kind of person who likes to have a goal, so I decided to teach at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson for five years and then go for a job as head of year in another school, as I realised almost straight away that the pastoral side of the job was my particular interest.

So that was the plan, but just two years later I got the job as head of year. My teaching load was reduced to 42 periods every two weeks to give me time to do the pastoral side of the role with years 8 and 9.

Year 8 is a pivotal time at school and there can often be a dip in attitude after the novelty of year 7 has worn off and it’s time to work harder.

I worked to embed a motto in my students’ hearts - that there is no excuse for failure, and that is true in every area from punctuality, attendance, behaviour, attainment and involvement.

When a new headteacher came to EGA, she decided to reorganise our systems so one head would stay with the same year group of children take them all through the school up until year 11.

So then I realised then I needed to learn about pastoral care for key stage four, there was so much to learn and I found it so interesting that I wanted to stay at EGA.

Last year I became associate assistant head and in charge of teaching and learning for the whole school and the pastoral side of supporting other year heads in the school. This has been a wonderful challenge.

I also lead student voice and the seniors (EGA’s version of prefects). Throughout all this time I have been teaching science as well which I am passionate about.

So, my top tips for teachers just starting their careers is enjoy the kids you’re teaching. Sometimes they are so hard to get on with but if you love the people you serve, you put everything into it.

This is especially true in schools in inner London where sometimes the support and care from parents isn’t quite there and so what happens in school becomes so much more important.

Also be in love with your subject you are teaching. Teaching isn’t just a job, really you can’t just go to work and plod through the day - children’s lives are involved.

More at: Why I became a science teacher: I want to raise the aspirations of my students
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