Swapping senior management for students

A photograph of Karen Roberts

Karen Roberts,
languages teacher

I am a French and Spanish teacher at Norbury Manor Business Enterprise College for Girls. I was a director of a large market research agency, but I had always always harboured a long-term ambition to teach.

I’d always had teaching in mind, 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.

The best parts of teaching for me are seeing that lightbulb moment when a child suddenly understands something they didn't before.

Making the decision to leave an established career wasn’t easy, and I had to be sure I was making the right decision. I went to 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. Everybody was very welcoming and said, ‘You’re absolutely not too old to become a teacher, we’re looking for people like you’.

I arranged school experience so I could get a feel for teaching. 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.

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