Current Employer/Organisation Name
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I graduated from Exeter with a first in mathematics and joined Big 4 accountancy firm KPMG in August 1998. I started in an audit department specialising in IT and telecommunications companies. I gained my professional ICAEW qualification in 2001. During the summer of 2002 I helped out facilitating audit training courses and I loved it. In July 2003 I started a 3 month secondment to audit training, which actually lasted for 7 1/2 years! During this time managed most of the technical audit training (in person and online), as well as skills training and coaching. I developed a reputation globally (within KPMG) for developing and delivering high quality training materials used in the UK, Europe, the US and many other countries). By 2010 I had run out of different courses to manage so I looked for a new career. I wanted to see whether I could take my adult training skills and enthusiasm, and transfer this to secondary education. I took an eight month career break to look after my young family and prepare to change careers. In 2011/12 I trained at a state boys school in St Albans, and I’m still there! In addition to teaching the subject I love, I look after trainee and Early Careers teachers at the school. This allows me to use the people management and coaching skills I developed at KPMG to develop teachers as well as children.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I still enjoy solving maths problems and actually do a lot of the A Level maths questions myself just for fun! I love those moments when you see a child suddenly understand a new topic or skill. I enjoy being part of a journey developing a child to become a confident articulate and respectful adult.
Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?
My passion outside of maths was on University Radio Exeter (as it was then). I had 2 weekly shows: Saturday morning breakfast and the Monday night new release review show.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
I loved the practical application of maths and how equations can be used to predict electromagnetic fields and even how light behaves close to the singularity of a black hole. I loved the satisfaction you get from mathematical problem solving and I had the determination to persevere until I solved a problem. Not having to write dissertations was another bonus, although the year 3 communication skills course meant at least some essays.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
Meeting like minded people and finally being respected for being hardworking and good at my subject. Having the choice of the direction of my studies.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
I wanted to study at one of top universities in Britain, so Exeter made my shortlist. Visiting the campus while at Sixth Form, I just got a feeling it was the right place for me. I preferred the campus location to city centre universities. I love that you can walk to the town centre in under 30 minutes (I didn’t have a car and used a bus once in 3 years). Exeter is so friendly and I’m proud to ‘sell’ it to my sixth form pupils.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Whatever job you do, what makes it special is who you work with, rather than the work you do. Build relationships with your colleagues, have a bit of banter, and even the most challenging days can he enjoyable. Teaching is a difficult job, but I always say that you have good days and bad days, but never boring days. Don’t climb the corporate ladder for the sake of it. Make sure the next promotion is something you will enjoy rather than simply something that will earn you more money. Most people in retirement will not think back on how much they earned but what their working experience was like. For me, it was important that my career made a difference to someone, and teaching certainly ensures this.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
For teaching, contact schools and ask if you can come in for observation days. Choose a variety of schools as this will give you the chance to find the right school for your personal ethos.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to get involved in a local teacher training hub to help develop teachers in other schools (but not if it takes me too far away from the teaching that I love).