Swapping senior management for students

Karen Roberts, languages teacher

Karen Roberts, languages teacher

Karen is a French and Spanish teacher at Norbury Manor Business Enterprise College for Girls. Despite having enjoyed a successful career as the director of two large market research agencies, she’d always harboured a long-term ambition to teach. This desire to make a difference ultimately inspired her to train on a School Direct course.

“I’d always had teaching in mind,” says Karen, “because I’d really enjoyed the work I’d done with young people and children in my previous job. I felt a spark and the creativity that comes with that. I wanted to become a teacher for that reason but also because of the passion and enthusiasm I have for languages, which I wanted to pass on.”

Making the decision to leave an established career wasn’t easy, so Karen wanted to do some research to ensure she was making the right decision. She initially attended a Train to Teach Roadshow, taking the opportunity to speak to experienced teachers, schools and universities that offer teacher training and fellow professionals seeking to establish a new career in teaching.

“I’d assumed that my age would be a barrier, but it absolutely wasn’t,” she recalls, “everybody was very welcoming and said, ‘You’re absolutely not too old to become a teacher, we’re looking for people like you’.”

Karen then set about researching her options on the Get Into Teaching website, finding out about how to arrange school experience so she could get a feel for teaching. Getting this taste for what the profession has to offer galvanised her determination to teach, so she set about investigating training options. For Karen, School Direct stuck out as the most appealing choice – and the support she received on her course helped dispel any concerns she’d had about joining her new profession in a ‘junior’ capacity.

“I’d reached quite a high level of management in my previous career,” she says. “But there’s lots of mentoring and support available and all sorts of people you can go to for advice and guidance. So it’s actually worked out really well and hasn’t been as difficult a transition as I thought it would be.”

When reflecting on her decision to change careers, Karen has nothing but words of encouragement for those thinking of doing the same: “It’s really rewarding. You will find it very varied, very challenging and you’ll find it intellectually stimulating because it will make you think about your subject in a different way. Definitely do it. I don’t regret it for a moment.”

Find out more about teaching events, including the Train to Teach Roadshows, or take a look at our advice if you’re considering changing career.

We think you may be interested in

  • Train to Teach Roadshows video

    Our teaching events offer you the the opportunity to speak to teaching experts and find out  everything you need to know about getting into teaching. Transcript (PDF, 204KB)

  • Make the most of your training

    School Direct languages trainee Katherine talks about her passion for languages and how to get as much experience as possible during your training year.

    More about this case study
  • Registering allowed me to get my school experience arranged. I even used some of the techniques that I had observed at the school for my teacher training interview.

    Chloe Wells, trainee MFL teacher

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