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From building schools to teaching maths
Julia Capon, career changer
Julia is a maths teacher at Bishop Justus School, Bromley. An engineering graduate, she began her career as a quantity surveyor in the construction industry and worked on a number of school construction projects. After five years, she decided the time was right for a change.
“Teaching has always been something I have wanted to do. My uncle came out of early retirement and became a history teacher – this reassured me that I could make the transition to the profession at any age.”
Far from being a barrier to her following her teaching ambitions, Julia says her previous career experience helped her prepare for life in the classroom.
“I think you grow as a person,” she explains. “From organisation and communication skills to dealing with clients inside the company, that all gets transferred into dealing with colleagues, parents, and students. Management skills are most definitely useful in a classroom environment too.”
The financial support that’s available for maths trainees also helped to make the transition easier: “It definitely helped because it meant that I didn’t have to make any significant cutbacks. The bursary covered most of my costs.”
As a career changer, Julia wanted to train in a hands-on environment and preferred the idea of school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT). It was a training route that helped her ease her way into teaching in a school environment from an early stage.
“At the beginning, you’re just observing the lessons and, sometimes, helping out as well. It’s more of a support role, rather than teaching,” she explains. “When you feel comfortable, you can get up and do either a lesson introduction, run part of the lesson, or a whole lesson. It’s completely up to the individual on how they feel and I never felt that there was ever any pressure on me.”
Julia’s past career experience has enhanced her experience of teacher training, helping her to shape lesson plans and show pupils how maths can be applied to different real-life situations. “Working in construction, scale drawings are used all the time. I have encouraged my students to consider how maths can be used in practical terms, so they’re not just applying theories from a textbook, they’re learning how maths is applicable to everyday situations.”
Why not join Julia and start a career in teaching? It’s easier than you may think. Register with us, and our dedicated advisers will support you through your career transition all the way to the start of your training year. Find out more about changing your career to teach, teaching secondary maths, and SCITT courses.
Maths career changer Peter reflects on his transition into teaching, the process of catering to all attitudes and approaches, and earning the respect of a class.More about this case study
Discover what made Idara leave her job in the oil industry to embark on a career teaching maths – and why she wishes she’d made the switch sooner. Transcript (PDF, 196KB)
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