Fulfilling a life-long ambition
Idara Hippolyte, maths teacher
Idara Hippolyte, a maths teacher at Lilian Baylis Technology School, fell in love with teaching early on in life. Growing up in a family of teachers and even teaching for two years in St Lucia before she qualified, she pursued her love of maths to university. After she graduated, she took a job in the oil industry to help pay off her student loans.
Idara’s career went from strength to strength over the next 10 years and, though she found the work exciting and challenging, the urge to teach became more apparent.
Changing career to teach can be daunting, but Idara found that there was plenty of support available for times when she needed a boost. “I felt like I had a lot of pastoral support; people who would want to know how I was doing, ‘Are you taking care of your voice? Are you sleeping? Are you eating well enough?’ I also had a dedicated mentor, an academic advisor, and a subject studies tutor, so I felt really well supported in my training year.”
As well as time spent in the classroom, Idara found learning theory enlightening, giving her new ways to communicate her passion to pupils. “My aim is always to make maths accessible, to make it clear that maths is beautiful and not just useful. Learning about ways I could really achieve that was an eye-opener for me and what I found most stimulating.”
For anyone else considering switching career to teach, Idara urges them to make the jump: “Do it. Don’t wait. Although I’ve done a lot of really challenging, really interesting jobs, nothing is as delightful and surprising as teaching. And teaching maths especially. Maths has a lot of those ‘penny drop’ moments, those ‘ah!’ moments when someone finally gets it. I challenge any profession to present me with that opportunity every day.”
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