Sam Hayes

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Primary & Secondary Education
Job title: Head of Classics
Subject of study: Classics / Classics and Ancient History
Year of graduation: 2012
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Research, Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Francis Holland School, Sloane Square

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

After completing a PhD at the University of Exeter I started teaching secondary school level Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation part time at two different institutions. I was then offered a full time teaching role at Francis Holland School, completed a PGCE, and then became the Head of Classics. In this role I manage the teaching of Classics in my department, liaise with other teachers and Heads of Department, and teach across Years 5-13.

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

I chose secondary school teaching as I wanted to use my degree in Classics in a very direct way. I always enjoyed the teaching aspects of my research degree at Exeter, and part of me had always considered teaching. I also found applying for academic jobs daunting and never got anywhere with any of my applications for postdocs or lectureships. I love that I can share my love of the subject with others and support the learning of children. I also really appreciate the fact that the work-life balance in teaching is much better than what I experienced in academia.

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

Exeter University Brass Ensemble (EUBE), Games Soc, Concert Band, Classics Society.

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

I really enjoyed learning from experts across the Classics department. In the final year of my undergraduate I loved learning about linguistics and Indo-European language and culture. The breadth of Classics is its greatest selling-point!

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I loved the calm of Devon.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

It was close to where my grandmother lived, and the Classics department was one of the top performing departments in the country when I applied. I also loved the feel of the campus.

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

As a postgraduate researcher, the ability to communicate complex ideas in a straightforward way has been very helpful. Having a deeper understanding of the core concepts of the subject I teach helps me to be more of an authority in the classroom. Being a committee member in various clubs ad societies has helped me to develop my managerial and organisational skills in my job.

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

Get as much real classroom experience as possible. Shadow teachers in schools, work as a Teaching Assistant, teach by tutoring or getting involved in summer schools. If you want to teach you need to know the realities of the job, and the experience looks great on your CV. I can’t overstate the value of a PGCE or other route into Qualified Teacher Status when applying for a teaching role.

What are your plans for the future?

I am happy as a Head of Department in teaching. In the long term I could see myself working towards a Deputy Head (Academic) position (i.e. being in charge of curriculum across the whole school).


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