Rumours and Reality

This week’s waffle is slightly off the usual subject of teaching or technology and is is covering the twaddle part of the site’s tagline. The most popular question I get asked at university is “Why did you leave teaching?” – so I thought this week I thought I would try to eliminate any rumours that might be circulating and let you know!


Why did I leave primary education?

Why did I leave primary education?

I didn’t really know I wanted to teach until after I had applied for university, so I didn’t actual go through the undergraduate route. I completed my degree then went on to complete a PGCE. After completing my A levels, I was asked to go into the local primary school to support the children with a computer game called the ‘L Game’. This was a program that was on the original BBC Micro computers. My mum was the first choice, but she soon refused and I was drafted in. It was through this work and helping my older sister set up her classrooms (yes she is a teacher as well) when she was in school that started my passion with teaching.

Should I make the move to higher education or should I stay in primary education – this is probably the bit you are waiting for!

After completing my PGCE, I was lucky to gain a job within York and so started my teaching career. I remained in teaching for approximately twenty two years. During this time I not only taught in primary schools but also taught computer courses to adults, technology and teaching to teaching assistants and worked with young people in youth groups. This allowed me to have a whole range of ‘teaching’ experience.

When you are teaching, you get the opportunity to attend courses, and it was at one of these courses that I got the opportunity to have my first chance of experiencing teaching in higher education (if you want that story then let me know and I’ll write a waffle about it :))

To get back to the initial point of this waffle – I feel that I haven’t actually left teaching. I really enjoy communication – yes I suppose that’s why I talk so much – and supporting the learning and progression of individuals. I am passionate about inclusion and always feel that everyone should have an opportunity to learn. When I originally came to York St John University on secondment I wanted to decide whether I enjoyed teaching children or teaching in general. Throughout my first year I realised that teaching was teaching, and it didn’t really matter if it was primary aged children or adults. During my second year on secondment I had to make a very difficult decision. Should I make the move to higher education or should I stay in primary education – this is probably the bit you are waiting for!

I’ve mentioned before that I had been working in primary education for twenty two years – I think that is correct although I never kept count. I enjoyed every moment of it but I had come to a time in my career that I needed a new challenge. While teaching in school the children always challenged me to support them and their learning- that’s one of the main reasons I think I enjoy the job so much. The challenge that had been reduced was the daily challenge of the curriculum and the policies associated with primary education. I never wanted to become ‘stale’ in my job and I felt that this had started to happen. I had started to apply for deputy headships, but I knew really this was not what I wanted to do since I knew it would be moving me away from my teaching. And so, I decided to apply to work in higher education. Also, in moving, I did feel that I was allowing ‘new blood’ into the profession. (I know – how gallant of me!)

Since coming to York St John University I feel that I have had to learn a completely different way of teaching and working. The policies are different, the procedures are different. I have journeyed to places that are outside York! I have met such a range of professionals and I am learning to teach students. To me these are the challenges which, hopefully, I will eventually excel at by the end of my career in higher education.

Hopefully this has given you some idea why I made the move to higher education – I wonder if any of the rumours are true? :). If you have any questions about this waffle or anything subjects which you would like me to waffle on in the future then you can Tweet (@iwilsonysj), Facebook or email me your comments or questions. It would be fantastic if you could get involved– Have fun and I’ll catch you later.