Hazel Pilling

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: Programme Leader
Subject of study: Mathematics
Year of graduation: 2008
Type/Level of study: Post graduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Exeter College

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

Graduated from Mathematics (BSc) in 2008, returned to do PGCE 2009-2010 after a year working as a Teaching Assistant. In September 2010 I started a role at a school in Torquay. I completed my NQT year there before moving to Exeter College in August 2011. I’ve been teaching Maths there for the past 9 years. For 5 years I led the Level 3 Maths team (A levels, IB and some adult education). I am about to start maternity leave for my second child.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

I chose to be a teacher because I love Maths and I enjoy talking about it and sharing my passion with other people. Teaching in Further Education is especially enjoyable because I am more interested in the level of Maths I get to teach. The students have mostly chosen to be there, so share some enthusiasm for the subject. I have had students tell me that I am the reason they chose to study Maths at University, which is very rewarding.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Ultimate Frisbee Club.

Were you part of the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme at any point during your studies?

Yes.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I enjoyed being taught by some inspirational lecturers, especially Professors Andrew Soward, Andreas Langer, Peter Vamos and Piotr Kowalczyk. I received great support from my tutors, who were approachable and helpful, Professor Peter Ashwin was very generous with his time when I got stuck with his “Directed reading in Fractal Geometry” module.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I made some great friends, through living in Halls, Maths and through Ultimate Frisbee. I enjoyed the Frisbee tournaments and the socials!

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

Good course in a lovely location.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Having a good degree, experience of being in schools (through Student Associates Scheme and work after University) and working with young people (Voluntary work). My time as club captain of Ultimate Frisbee also helped me develop my confidence speaking in front of lots of people running the training sessions. I teach Further Maths A level and Higher level on IB, but always feel confident about my understanding and explanations because of the good understanding I have from my degree.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Try to spend some time shadowing a teacher. This helps you to know what the job really involves, but also helps support your application when you come to applying to do a PGCE. Research different routes into teaching and find what is going to suit you best. Try to collaborate with other teachers whilst you’re training, you’ll learn a lot and hopefully get some great resources out of it.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep teaching! I would be interested to get involved in Professional development for teachers to share what I have learnt as well, but I really enjoy being in the classroom with students.

 

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