Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

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My Journey Into Teaching

‘The transition to teaching has been the best decision I have made. After graduating from Cambridge in 2012, I spent a few years working in sales in the defence sector. I enjoyed the fast pace and challenge, but I have never enjoyed being confined to a desk. I felt as though I was no longer using my brain and wasn’t passionate about my job. I longed to do something new and worthwhile.

 I found the process of getting into teaching fairly straightforward. I was keen to kick-start my new career and did not want to return to university. I decided to take the Schools Direct route; generous funding from the Government available for many subjects also allowed me to make the transition financially.

From day one I have been provided with the best support and advice by the school. While starting a new career has been incredibly daunting, I have been closely guided by a dedicated mentor. Each day has brought a new challenge; however, I have never felt out of my depth. There have been late nights and days where I don’t sit down, but I have developed a love for my subject and am already so invested in my students that this has never really felt like ‘work’.

Teaching certainly has its challenges, but when you have that moment you realise that you have helped someone feel clever, valuable and inspired it makes everything worthwhile. I wish anyone the best of luck who decides to make this transition - I have never worked so hard, but have also never been so happy in my career. ‘

Francesca Elliott – School Direct trainee, now a full time Geography teacher at CVMS.

‘Looking back on my career trajectory on a cold winter morning last year, I realised that I had careered along to exactly where I didn’t want to be. I was miserable, and something had to change. I wanted to feel my work counted for something more than the bottom line. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the subject I studied and inspire people to love it too. I wanted to learn again. Duly resolved, I merely had to address the issues of how to actually get started training to teach. It was exciting. It was terrifying.

I’m thirty-four, married, and have an eighteen-month old son. I’ve had to pack in a well-paid job to start all over again. I’ve had to navigate the myriad paths to training and abundance of red tape. Ultimately, I chose school-based training as I wanted to get straight into the thick of it.

I chose Cardinal Vaughan in particular because of its enormously impressive reputation; when I visited the school myself I felt at home right away and felt I didn’t want to train anywhere else. The Vaughan is a wonderful place to teach because of the supportive and nurturing atmosphere, born of its Catholic ethos, which permeates classroom to staff room. In fact, it’s going to be difficult to tear myself away come the end of the year.

The immersion of school-based training forces you to start to think and act like a teacher immediately, so within just a few days it all feels quite natural and you can concentrate on getting the most out of the experience. A few months in, I had a stable income from a paid training position, a job which is genuinely different, challenging, frustrating and fulfilling every day, and a sincere feeling of happiness at finally having arrived at the destination I set out, unwittingly, toward over ten years ago.’

Dan Lewis, School Direct trainee. Dan has since become a permanent member of the English Dept at CVMS.