Alice G.

Secondary Teacher of Mathematics
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Alice G.
Politics, Economics and Philosophy
Philosophy, Politics and Economics
United Kingdom

My employment

Secondary Teacher of Mathematics
Teach First
United Kingdom

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A day in the life of a Secondary Teacher of Mathematics in the United Kingdom

How I found out about the job

Recruitment event

The recruitment process

I applied for the job online during the Easter holidays of my last year at York. I had to fill in a comprehensive application form on which I had to provide details of my academic qualifications, as well as give examples of skills I had demonstrated through extra-curricular activites. Following this I was invited to an assessment day during which I had a one-on-one interview, took part in a group exercise and taught a short lesson on a pre-determined topic. The assessment day also involved various self-evaluation exercises. I was told the next day that I had the job, which I then deferred for one year so I could go travelling and teach abroad. Before starting the Teach First scheme I had to undertake a week of observations at a local school and complete a subject knowledge audit.

My career history

I applied and gained a place on the Teach First programme in 2009. I deferred this position for a year and went travelling in Asia and taught English in Cambodia. In 2010 I was placed in a school in north Manchester. I took part in 6 weeks training at Manchester and Warwick Universities to prepare me for this role and started teaching full-time at my school in September 2010. At the end of my first year of teaching I gained my Teach First PGCE and achieved qualified teacher status. I am now in my second year of teaching, my Newly Qualified Teacher year.

Courses taken since graduation

Teach First PGCE Secondary Education Maths

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I do not plan to stay in teaching and have job with PwC in management consulting starting in September 2012. However, the skills I have gained from the Teach First programme will be invaluable to this role.

My advice to students considering work

Make the most of the time you have (especially in first year) - you don't realise how much free time you have as a student until you start a full-time job! There are so many opportunities available to you at York - get involved in as many and as wide-ranging activities as possible as the skills you develop from these extra-curricular activities are what employers are really looking for. Don't worry if you don't know what you want to do when you graduate but do start applying for graduate jobs early on as this will save unwanted extra stress during your finals!

My advice about working in my industry

Teach First is a fantastic way for high-achieving graduates to get involved in the Education sector. Even if you are unsure if you want to be a teacher, the skills you develop from the role in the two years of the programme will prove invaluable to any career you move on to. Slowly more focus seems to shifting to the fact that there exists a problem of educational disadvantge in this country. The Teach First programme is growing rapidly and its aim is to solve this problem. Being involved in this growing movement is exciting and also gives your work real purpose.

What I do

I teach Maths at an inner-city secondary comprehensive in north Manchester. I teach a range of ages and abilities and teach four one hour lessons a day. I am required to prepare lesson plans and resources myself, as well as regularly mark books and assessments. I am also a form tutor and am responsible for the pastoral side of school life for the pupils in my form. I spend half an hour with my form every morning. During this time I ensure my form members are adequately prepared for the day and also encourage them to develop social and political awareness through the delivery of a pre-determined tutor program.

Skills I use and how I developed them

At least a 2.1 was a requirement for the Teach First programme. Although I do not teach the subject I studied, the skills I developed during my course certainly helped during the recruitment process. The skills I developed through involvement in extra-curricular activities, e.g. team working, prioritising, were also useful during the recruitment process and during the job now.

Extracurricular skills:
I was involved in the Club of PEP and in organising the PEP ball - the skills from these extra-curricular activities have been useful in this job. For example, prioritisation and organisation skills are necessary as a teacher. The interpersonal and communcation skills I developed through involvement in extra-curricular activities are also vital in my job, as I have to communcate with a variety of people.

What I like most

I enjoy the variety. No day is the same and the time flies by. It can be incredibly rewarding to see my pupils develop and achieve as a result of my work. The holidays are also a bonus!

What I like least

Dealing with some pupils' poor behaviour can be frustrating, especially as it is a minority having a detrimental effect on the majority's learning. There's also a lot of data-recording and marking involved which can be time-consuming. I would prefer not to spend time on behaviour management of a few pupils so that I can fully devote my time during a lesson to those pupils who deserve it.

Next steps...

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