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Transferring your skills into teaching
Will Fordham, trainee English teacher
Will decided to train as an English teacher after working in various communication roles as a civil servant. Before enrolling on a School Direct (salaried) course, he completed a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) qualification at Cambridge University, meaning he could teach English as a second language. With that qualification, Will spent two years teaching English in Italy before returning to another communications job.
“I was working for a charity as a communications manager, when I realised that teaching was what I loved and that I wanted to continue doing the work I was doing abroad,” he details.
To coincide with his career change into teaching, Will decided to move back to London from East Anglia, which was largely made possible by the salaried aspect of his chosen course.
“I wanted to be able to start working and have the money to support my move,” he explains. “That was my main objective, to be paid to train. I think financing myself through the training year could have been difficult, having lived abroad and come back to a job in the UK.”
Will believes his background in communications has really helped with his teaching: “In my previous career I was creating, processing and presenting information to different audiences, which is essentially what I’m doing now as a teacher.”
He also enjoys revisiting all the books he once studied himself as a student, and finds it invigorating to be able to look at them with a fresh perspective. When teaching The Canterbury Tales, Will uses his creative freedom in lessons to incorporate modern references and bring context to characters that will help children relate to them.
“There’s one character that carries a dog around in her bag – so I make the connection with those Hollywood actresses that carry small dogs around in their handbags,” he says. “I find I can have a lot of fun in lessons, and really show what it is I’m enthusiastic about within a particular text. It’s fantastic!”
Helping students who are struggling is a big part of what Will loves about teaching. He encourages them to make use of the resources they have to hand – like their phones for recording ideas they have – to aid them inside and outside of the classroom.
“You have to think on your feet a lot. Being able to adapt really helps when you’re faced with 30 students who all have very different personalities and learning needs,” he concludes, “and when you’re making the sort of impact I’ve experienced, there’s nothing better.”
Find out more about switching to a career in teaching from current teachers and trainees. Transcript (PDF, 202KB)
I didn’t want to sit behind a computer screen day after day not feeling like I’ve made an impact.Will Fordham, English teacher
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