Dave is a geography teacher — he loves working with his clever, talented students, but hates getting up early to mark books. He tells us what it's really like to be a geography teacher, and how he pursued his career in geography.
Name: Dave Williams
Company: School in Manchester
Industry: Education & Teaching
What is your job? Geography teacher
How long have you been doing this job? 4 years
Degree: BSc(hons) in Geography and Geology, PGCE in Secondary Education.
A-levels: Biology, chemistry, geography.
1. What was your very first job?
The first job I ever had was stacking shelves at my local Marks & Spencer. It was great to get some money finally, but I wasn't used to getting up at 6am back then – 16 years later, I'm still not used to it!
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
For some reason I really wanted to become a dentist, I think I liked the smell and the fact that I could talk to people and they couldn't talk back.
3. What made you want to do your current job?
I've always really admired the work teachers do and had some really inspirational ones when I was at school.
4. How did you get there?
After completing my geography degree I didn't really use it. I had lots of different jobs: bar work, runner at the BBC, call centres and at Erving buying medical equipment. Eventually I decided to apply to do a PGCE and pursue a career in geography. I've never looked back.
The PGCE is one-year course where you are placed in schools and I loved it – met some amazing pupils and excellent teachers who really inspired me and reignited my love of geography.
5. What is a typical day like?
I usually get up at about half 6, slowly have some coffee to wake me up and head off to school. Once there I check through my plan for the day, pick up my worksheets and get my lessons ready. After a meeting where we find out what's happening that day, I get started with lessons.
Every day is different with new challenges and jokes with the pupils and staff. When there isn't a meeting or club after school I get on with some marking and get my resources prepared for the next day… unless it's a Friday, when I'm straight out the door and ready for a couple of days off.
6. What's the best thing about your job?
Working with the pupils – they all are amazing with excellent ideas and insight into life. They teach me about K-Pop and why I shouldn't support Manchester United. I share a few dad jokes with them, and can't believe they haven't heard them before.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
The amount of work teachers have to do is huge. I'm often marking and planning most weekends and holidays. Keeping on top of my work and staying organised is a priority. There’s always a deadline or exam round the corner, and of course being observed in lessons (although feedback is invaluable).
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Be open to criticism, ready for a challenge, be adaptable and learn to get up early! Most importantly have a sense of humour and be able to communicate.
9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
How much work there is to do out of school hours, what poor behaviour really looks like (it’s not a problem where I work though) and how important it is to keep a work-life balance.
10. Where would you like to be in five years?
Still teaching. I really love it, although hopefully somewhere in the sun with a beach!
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Main image via Freepik