The road to teaching..

reading time 3 minutes 30s

I absolutely hated school…

One of the wonderful things about the teaching profession, is that there are so many different ways to approach it and to work in it, and there are so many interesting stories of how different people with different backgrounds and experiences came to be educators. For me, it has been a slow and slightly winding road to realising that I want to be a teacher and to deciding that I wanted to apply.

As a student at secondary school in the south west of England, I absolutely hated school and almost everything about it. It was difficult for me to answer the question in my School Direct interviews about ‘a teacher who inspired me when I was young‘, because I honestly can’t think of one. While I had teachers who were kind and supportive and whom I liked, I didn’t come into contact with many who seemed to have a genuine love of their subject.

I always felt at home and more relaxed in Art, more challenged and excited in Science, but the English classrooms were never “home” to me. I always had at least one book in my bag that I was reading for pleasure and could be regularly found annoying the librarian by requesting more books. The only inspiring English teacher that I’ve ever had was my mum.

My mum very clearly loved her job, teaching secondary English at several comprehensives around Weston-super-Mare, she was always very open about how difficult teaching is and how much she gave to her profession. She would give me reading lists and push my reading further and when she saw that I loved Jane Eyre when I was 13 she made sure to give me Wide Sargasso Sea so that I could see both sides of the story.

When my GCSE English teacher didn’t read Romeo and Juliet with us, my mum gave me a copy and showed me the Zeffirelli film to compare with the Luhrmann version.
Thanks to her, I read English Literature at University, but I wanted to experience a world outside education and so after my Master’s degree in Art History, I chose to work in museums and art galleries.

Ostensibly always searching for curating jobs, the experiences I most enjoyed were those involved in art education. I loved to ask children their opinions and ideas of art works and to hear their unique responses and viewpoints, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but always given without the sense of self-consciousness that somehow develops in adults when they are asked their opinion on art.

I loved to talk to adults about this and to try to give them the opportunity talk more openly about their ideas and understanding. When it came to art – it’s always been my belief that this is where real discussion and dialogue comes from. While this aspect of my job was wonderful, I found it harder to accept the more corporate side and wanting to travel, I decided that teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) abroad would be a good combination.

I never expected for this to be the next adventure in my life..

My time teaching English in Japan was an incredibly eye-opening and rewarding experience; sometimes it was amazing, sometimes it was difficult, but I loved that I was constantly learning. I knew that I would love traveling and that I would learn a lot from it, but I was shocked to discover that what I loved the most was teaching and the people that I learned the most from, were my students. I can talk for a very, very long time about how wonderful my students were and how privileged I felt to have been able to be a small part of their lives for 3 years. I can honestly say that they were amazing people and just being around them gave me such great hope for the future.

I never expected for this to be the next adventure in my life. I am so excited to start my ITT in September and to get back in the classroom. I now know that it’s the one place I want to be.

Sophie Midgley, trainee teacher, English