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Making a change… Our journey into teaching

Not everyone starts out as a teacher, but whether a change of career stems from the need for improved job satisfaction, a job where you’re able to shape children’s futures through education or the flexibility, teaching is an option at any stage. Here, three teachers share their journeys and how they apply their previous work experience to their current role.

Liz Dighton, Computing Teacher, Boroughmuir High School

I had a very fulfilling and successful career in the IT industry, but after having children I wanted a new challenge and a job that allowed me to be at home and spend more time with my family.

Young people are huge consumers of technology and use it extensively, however they do not know much about it, which is where computing science comes in. Having worked as a consultant for technology companies in the UK and around the world, I’m able to bring my experience of how computer systems are developed and how the industry works into the classroom. This helps to bring the theoretical aspects to life and provide examples of how this theory can be applied in practice.

I love finding new ways to introduce pupils to the joys of computing and programming and enthuse them about the future career possibilities. I want to inspire the next generation of IT professionals as there is a shortage of supply in Scotland, but lots of jobs.

David Buchanan – Maths teacher, Airdrie Academy

I started working as project manager in the private banking sector, making use of my numerical and problem-solving skills. After a short while I decided I wanted to follow my passion for teaching (and numbers) by making my way into the maths classroom.

Prior to changing career, I had given it a lot of thought and spent time speaking to current teachers, so I was confident that teaching would be a career suited to my character and personality. I felt that coming from industry gave me a certain advantage.

I already had experience of a work environment and, although I’m now working with young people, a lot of the skills I had developed previously were transferrable. Dealing with pressure situations and thinking on your feet are important in whatever job you are undertaking.

Helen Murray – Science teacher, Grange Academy, Kilmarnock

Back in 2013, I decided to switch career from being a scientist in an environmental monitoring laboratory to become a Chemistry teacher. Whilst I was happy in my previous job, teaching was always at the back of my mind as I felt I had so much more to offer. I missed interacting with people, which I noticed massively when I took on the role of a laboratory demonstrator when completing my PhD. It was then I knew teaching would be right for me.

Science, maths and technology are working more collaboratively, enabling pupils to see the bigger picture. It’s education that’s allowing the children to receive more of a ‘real life’ experience. Teaching is a much more rewarding experience and the biggest change has been job satisfaction; it is so fulfilling to celebrate your pupils’ achievements, even the very smallest of victories. It took me a while to adjust to the routine and structure, but every day is different and that’s my favourite part of the job.