It took me a long time to start out in teaching. When I first graduated with my joint honours degree in French and Spanish, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The only thing I knew with any certainty was that I did not want to be a teacher! I worked as an editor for a financial institution in London for a while, and then spent 11 years as a project manager in the translation industry.
In my spare time I was learning ballroom and Latin American dancing, and my teacher suggested that I train to be a dance teacher myself. I wasn’t sure, but decided I had nothing to lose by trying so I gave it a go. I loved it! I qualified as a ballroom dance teacher in 1998 and as a Latin dance teacher in 2001. I never thought I would enjoy teaching so much, and I started to wonder whether I should go back to university to do a PGCE. I decided not to because I was still happy in the translation industry, and I was good at what I did. As I got promoted to more senior roles within the industry, I took on more responsibility for training and mentoring new staff, and I enjoyed that too. We had new software installed company-wide. I was the first person to figure out how to use it,and I ended up running a telephone helpdesk for other employees because they said my explanations were easier to understand than either the user guide or the tech guys. While I was writing a user-guide with screenshots and easy to understand English, I started to wonder again about teaching, and this time I got as far as researching courses at local universities. But still the time didn’t seem right. I was good at my job, which by now also involved travelling abroad, giving presentations and running workshops for some of the company’s most important clients. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be any good at teaching and so yet again I pushed the idea to the back of my mind.
Then something happened that made me realise life is too short to delay important decisions, and a few weeks after that I stumbled across an advert for a new PGCE where I could train in primary AND secondary education. That seemed like an interesting option, and so although I had missed the application deadline for that year I went along to the open day just to see what it was all about. Unbelievably they still had places left and so I applied, was accepted and started a year earlier than I thought I could. Training in both primary and secondary gave me a really good grounding across a whole range of ages, which has been useful since deciding to work as a supply teacher. I now love the fact that I can be having a tea-party in the sandpit in Nursery one day, and teaching languages at university the next. I love everything about my job, but the best part is helping children who are not reaching their full potential to succeed. These days I specialise not just in languages, but in maths and English tuition, and in multi-sensory teaching methods for tutoring children with dyslexia. Becoming a teacher and a private tutor is the best decision I have made.