After graduating from the University of Aberdeen with a MA in English, Catriona initially began working as a self-employed contractor in the Oil & Gas industry before deciding that she wanted to start a new career as a teacher in 2017.

“After completing my Masters in English at the University of Aberdeen I went straight into the Oil & Gas Industry. I quickly started to enjoy the work and gradually started getting contracts that required more and more responsibility.

“After 12 years though I realised that I wanted a change, and retrained to become a teacher. There were lots of reasons why teaching was the right choice for me. I wanted to work in the arts, but needed a job that offered stability and would work around my family, but my main motivation was to do a job where I could contribute something important.”

I had considered doing a Postgraduate Degree and/or some kind of further study at University but teaching requires you to study regularly while in gainful employment anyway.

Catriona started teaching at Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire in 2020 where she enjoys the satisfaction of being part of a team committed to making a positive difference to the young people from the local community:

“I’m privileged to work in a well-established department that is very highly thought of in the area. The whole school is full of people that turn up every day looking to do their best for the young people in the community: from the support for learning staff (who are worth their weight in gold), teachers, management, cleaners and any outside agencies. I feel part of a network and I don’t want to let the side down.

I also really enjoy my commute out to the countryside. It’s my time to think and there is a clear distinction between family life and my school work which is the way I like it.

English is a subject that Catriona has always felt very passionate about:

“I think our understanding of the world is limited by the language we have to explain it and make sense of it, and I want to help pupils express themselves and be able to advocate for themselves.

I also love to build an appreciation of the arts in our young people (it’s what makes us human after all) and show that art adds a richness to your life. You could live in a world without books, language, poetry, puns, and funny stories, but what would be the point?
Catriona explains that to her teaching is far more than just a job, and that she is able to gain a huge amount of enjoyment from her work:

Teaching is really living. It’s a job that has taught me humility on a personal note, as well as critical thinking. You’ll witness – and feel – the whole spectrum of emotions, including frustration and genuine pride. You don’t always immediately see the fruits of your labour but as time goes on you start to see it more and more.

There are some satisfying moments, and you just hope, in those cases, that a seed is planted.

I also love that I get to work with some very smart, funny people that I can learn all sorts of things from myself as well.

Catriona has this advice for anyone considering a career in teaching:

I would say, that if you want your working life to mean something, then you could consider teaching.

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