Linking work and success

Owen Mather, head of chemistry

Dr Owen Mather

Owen is currently head of chemistry at Lawrence Sherriff – recognised as one of the top-performing schools in the country. Owen completed a PhD in biochemistry and worked as a senior research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry before finding his way into teaching. Reflecting on his previous career, Owen admits he never fully utilised all of his skills. “I was looking for a career that gave a variety of options for development and that allowed progression based on ability.”

Owen was able to move straight into a leadership role after completing his training, which cemented his belief that teaching is a career where progression is possible for those who want it. Four years later and he is now at a stage where he is undertaking consultancy work at various schools, as well as training other teachers. “My progression is based on an ability to work with people and get things done, which impacts on pupil achievement. However, the best part of my job remains teaching an interesting subject to interesting people.”

In the classroom, Owen always makes the link between work and success. “I ask pupils to visualise themselves in the future and to think about the impact their actions will have on their lives. Young people need to see the relevance of what they’re learning – science reaches into everyone’s life and pupils will respond to something that is having an impact on them.”

Amongst his A level chemistry students in 2013, Owen had five pupils who went on to study medicine and two who went on to study dentistry. He explains how rewarding it is to be able to contribute to these pupils’ lives and see them go on to pursue life-changing careers. “Teaching is demanding and rewarding in equal measure. It is a real job, which makes a real impact – and no two days are ever the same.”

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