From NQT to head of biology in two years
Sarah Fisher, head of biology
Two years after qualifying as a teacher, Sarah progressed to head of biology, climbing the career ladder and strengthening her department in the process. But Sarah always had an inkling that teaching was the right direction. “From an early age, I knew a teaching career was for me. I could not imagine working a typical nine-to-five desk job. Every day in teaching brings a new challenge and new situations, which is what makes the job so exciting,” Sarah says.
With new challenges come rewards and Sarah maintains that her favourite aspect of teaching comes from seeing the difference she makes to her pupils. “The best part of teaching is being in front of my 32 students and seeing how my passion for the subject I teach rubs off on them. When they have those ‘light bulb’ moments, hearing the sudden ‘So that’s how it works!’ and seeing your pupils take your subject into A level and beyond makes the job so worthwhile.”
Reflecting on her fast progression, Sarah takes pride in the difference she has been able to make to her department. “I am extremely proud of my teaching achievements and career progression so far... The encouragement and support from my head of faculty really helped; they saw the potential in me and I’m so grateful for that opportunity.
“With my leadership skills, my department has gone from strength to strength. We have managed to increase uptake of students from a class of 20 A level students to 50. This was a great achievement, and I could not have done this without the support of my colleagues and the leadership courses I attended.”
Making the most of opportunities available to her, Sarah has also taken on extra responsibilities that allow her to make a real impact in the teaching community. “I also act as a teaching and learning mentor, which allows me to work with staff from all departments to enhance and develop their teaching and learning. I love being able to work with teachers of all backgrounds, experienced to newly qualified, sharing good practice and developing whole-school strategies. I am currently facilitating an NQT leadership programme for teachers across the borough, which I am thoroughly enjoying.”
For anyone looking to emulate Sarah’s success, she gives the following advice: “I would recommend hard work, maintaining your love for the job, and a want to bring about positive change to young peoples' lives… Undeniably, teaching is hard work – but the knowledge that you have helped to motivate young people and helped shape their future brings more satisfaction than any other job I can think of.”
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