Leaping to head of department

Jon Simmons, geography teacher

Jon Simmons, head of department 

After six years of working in the world of recruitment consultancy, Jon felt it was time for a new career. Determined to embark on a path where he could channel his passion into helping others, Jon started to investigate a career in teaching.

“I had two degrees: Master’s merit in management and a degree in geography, so I was thinking of teaching either business or geography. However, after some hard thinking, my real passion lay in teaching geography. In addition, it was clear to me that geography is becoming a subject that will rise in importance and be in far more demand over the next decade,” says the head of department. 

But there was another motivation that made Jon consider a career with a better work-life balance: “I was working away a lot and spending less and less time with my family. This was another reason I decided to investigate a career in teaching.”

Jon admits he had some initial reservations about starting a new career, particularly the financial implications: “This was a huge consideration – but was offset by having access to a bursary. Without a bursary, I would still be in my old career. I simply wouldn’t have been able to maintain my rent and loans, and pay university fees without my bursary.”

Now four years into his teaching career, Jon hasn’t looked back – he was head of year 18 months after qualifying as a teacher, and a year later he was promoted to head of department.

“I am still currently progressing further in my teaching career. My advice is to be active in what you do outside of the classroom and try to get involved in school initiatives as soon as possible – this will aid your progression.”

“With yearly performance reviews, you have the opportunity to highlight your skills and the positive impact you’ve had on your school. In this review, I double jumped up the pay range and with extra responsibilities you can achieve additional increases to your salary.”

 “It’s a privilege to play a big part in a young person’s life. A good teacher is crucial to a young person’s development. Let’s face it; we all have at least one story of our favourite teacher going above and beyond to help us when we were at school.”

Thousands of people successfully retrain as teachers every year, and applying for teacher training may be easier than you think. Tax-free bursaries are available and dedicated advisers are on hand to support your move into teaching. Register with us for tailored advice and assistance in beginning your new career.