Eloise discusses her career since completing her BA in Politics and Modern History
Eloise is a Secondary School History Teacher. She graduated from Manchester with a BA in Politics and Modern History in 2014. Here, she talks about what she does and how she got there following her time at Manchester.
On my current role
I currently work as a Teacher of History at a secondary school in Manchester, having just completed the two-year Teach First Leadership Development Programme. My role involves everything you would expect a teacher to do, plus a lot more! I plan and teach lessons, mark books and support lots of amazing 11 to 16-year-olds to overcome challenges on a daily basis.
I have also been a form tutor, created and delivered professional development sessions to trainee teachers, and worked closely with great Teaching Assistants to support students with Special Educational Needs.
On why I went into teaching
I wanted to experience working on the frontline with young people on a daily basis. I have always been passionate about ensuring all young people have the best chance in life to succeed. After working as a volunteer with children both at university and with Girl Guiding UK, I felt an opportunity with Teach First would be the perfect way to combine my passion with developing leadership skills to work strategically later on in my career.
The best thing about the job is the students! I genuinely believe young people have so much untapped potential and they show me this on a daily basis. I also love the freedom and creativity you can have in a classroom – there is a great online community of teachers on sites like Twitter who inspire me to develop my craft as a teacher and encourage me to reflect on how best I can support my students to learn.
On getting into teaching
Since graduating in 2014, my career journey has been varied, challenging and exciting! After graduating, I completed the National Graduate Development Programme, the graduate scheme for those looking for a career in local government.
You complete four placements over two years in different areas of the sector; I was based at Manchester City Council working in Children’s Services. This involved a number of placements across teams working in Youth Services, Early Intervention and Social Work.
I developed my strategic skills in project management, data analysis and change management, which was a great experience to have straight out of university. I realised I wanted to gain frontline experience of working with children so that I could combine this strategic understanding with real experience that I could use to affect change at a system-wide level. This attracted me to Teach First, which offers teacher training that is completely school-based and very much throws you in at the deep end! This was great for me as I wanted to continue working whilst studying for my PGCE, and I have really valued the steep learning curve of the programme and the additional support you gain from being part of a national organisation. Its mission to end educational disadvantage also really resonates with me.
I have just completed the programme; however, I am continuing my teaching career and I am currently studying for a master’s degree in Education (supported by Teach First) at The University of Manchester. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career to date, and enables me to hold on to a bit of university life!
In the future, I would like to continue to work to support young people, at a strategic level either in a leadership role at school or in a policy role with a charity or government. I hope to complete my master’s next year and utilise this in my future career, and potentially complete further study at a doctorate level.
On life at Manchester
My time at Manchester helped me hugely – the number of opportunities on offer as a student enabled me to develop so many skills and really think about what type of career would fulfil me. I did everything from work on the SU bar, to being a reading volunteer with local children, to leading the university Labour Club.
I used the Careers Service throughout my second and third year – I sought information and guidance, and undertook a mock interview, which was really useful. As I have successfully been through two graduate scheme application processes, I cannot stress enough how valuable such preparation was. I would highly recommend using the Careers Service as early as possible.
The opportunity to undertake a joint honours degree was fantastic. I really enjoyed studying across the disciplines of social sciences and history, as well as the opportunity to work with a wide range of students and academics in both schools. I loved the freedom of choosing modules, and I studied everything from 17th-century Chinese history to gender politics! This supported me to develop skills and passions that have lasted beyond my time at university.
On my advice for budding teachers
My advice would be to get involved in as many volunteering opportunities as you can, be that through the University or your own organised work experience. It will be the best way to understand whether a career or field could be right for you. It will also help you work out if you can handle working with lively children or not! As well as using the Careers Service, I would also try and keep up to date with the current thinking in the field such as policy changes and initiatives, as this will give you a broader overview of what is happening and can help you plan your potential career moves.
Finally, I would say don’t be afraid of trying something new or taking a risk – I worried that I hadn’t followed the obvious career path, but there is no such thing as a perfect career plan, you just have to trust your instincts and make opportunities happen.