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Simon - Assistant Head Teacher, Lister Community School


What's your current job?

I teach in London, a huge city that provides a wealth of opportunities for all those who live within its boundaries, including, perhaps most importantly, its youth. One of the key responsibilities of my current role is to make sustainable links with further and higher education providers, charitable organisations, city firms and industries, in order to ensure that the young people in the economically-deprived area served by the school are given every opportunity to succeed, both inside and outside the classroom.

I'm also leading a new marketing strategy, to ensure the school develops its online presence, and receives due recognition for its drive to provide a world class education to all of its students, regardless of their socio-economic background.

First and foremost though, I am a teacher, and it's the most rewarding job in the world. Every day is different and every day is a challenge. Education is a constantly evolving landscape - it's the best job in the world (despite the negative, unfair and unjustified press it sometimes receives)!

What would you say to someone interested in different teaching jobs?

My advice to anyone considering taking a step into an education career is to 'just do it'. Take every opportunity to get involved - never stop listening and never stop learning! I began my career as a classroom teacher at an inner-city school in Coventry after completing my PGCE training at the University of Warwick. This is where the fire was lit. I progressed steadily through the ranks, taking on both a whole school responsibility for extra-curricular provision and heading up the History Department.

My school principal was incredibly supportive, encouraging me to take every opportunity to develop my professional skill-set. I was nominated to apply for, and subsequently gained a place on, the Teaching Leaders Fellows Programme, whose focus is on developing outstanding middle leadership in schools with challenging circumstances.

After nine years teaching in Coventry, I upped sticks and moved to London, having secured promotion to the position of Assistant Headteacher. It's a new role and a new challenge, but it's one I relish.

Why did you choose this career?

For as long as I can remember, teaching was the only career I had ever considered. I had some truly inspirational teachers as a child and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I'd be lying if I didn't say that it’s had good days and bad days, but the former far outweigh the latter.

Teaching has given me the opportunity to bring my love of History and my love of the great outdoors together in one role; it has allowed me to develop my leadership and management skills; it has allowed me to give back and to contribute to the long battle to end economic disadvantage. I can't think of another career I would enjoy as much!

What's the best thing about teaching?

There have been many best moments, but most recently I received an email from a former student which stated that I was his role model and that following the completion of his studies he wanted to train as a teacher, return to the school and 'take my job'!

What he hasn't yet realised is that I really did very little for him. It was his own talent and determination that got his excellent exam results. I was merely a guide on his journey!