From NQT to head of biology in 2 years

A photograph of Sarah Fisher

Sarah Fisher,
Head of biology

Two years after qualifying as a teacher, I progressed to head of biology, climbing the career ladder. I always had an inkling that teaching was the right direction.

I knew teaching was for me

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.

When your pupils have those ‘light bulb’ moments, hearing the sudden ‘So that’s how it works!’ and seeing them take your subject into A level and beyond makes the job so worthwhile.

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

So grateful

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.

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.

My 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.

For the first 2 years in the classroom, during their induction, teachers are called 'early career teachers' (ECTs). It's a time when you get lots of extra support to help establish yourself as a teacher.

Induction used to last 1 year, and teachers would be called 'newly qualified teachers' (NQTs).

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