Getting back into the classroom

Published 1 January 2021
By Jill

After almost a decade of teaching science, I Ieft the job in 2001 when my husband and I started a family. During my time out of the classroom, I did quite a lot of work for an exam board and lots of private tuition. This kept me occupied for many years.

I didn’t think that it would be difficult to return to the classroom because of the demand for teachers, but in practice this proved quite a challenge. I was from the age of chalk and paper and I had no recent school experience or experience using data to evaluate performance, nor did I have any referees still in the profession.

The academy provided opportunities to observe lessons, and I was able to spend time in the behavioural inclusion unit. This is where I became interested in working outside mainstream education. Around this time, I registered with a supply agency and took a temporary post working with pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

I continued to access professional development from the Department for Education (DfE) in behaviour management, and took a free teacher subject specialism training in maths, which was a unit from a master’s course. I also volunteered two days per week for two terms, working with pupils with similar special educational needs, which allowed me to gain further experience.

I was given the opportunity to teach maths to year nine pupils and the school very kindly provided me with a reference in addition to the one from the supply agency.

My return to teaching adviser then arranged for me to attend Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) teacher engagement programme. Here, I accessed further DfE funded training in computing in the classroom, job application writing, interview tips, and much more.

I was fortunate enough to land a job before the course even finished – and I would have been unlikely to be successful were it not for the training I had received as a result of my contact with the return to teaching adviser service. MMU also worked to place other candidates in partner schools for work experience with the potential for a job offer.

Throughout the academic year, there was always Laura, my return to teaching adviser, at the end of the phone offering advice and support. Laura would review my applications and lesson plans and discuss interview feedback with me. It can be discouraging to attend interview after interview with what feels like no success - but Laura would always be positive and identify key learning points.

I’m now in my second year of teaching maths GCSE at an 11 to 16 alternative provision school and I am really enjoying it. I am very pleased to have been able to resume my career and very grateful to all concerned with the Return to Teaching Adviser service.

If you’re a trained teacher interested in getting back in the classroom, find out how we can help you return to teaching.