In 2006, David graduated with a degree in Sports Physiotherapy, from the University of North London. He then went on to work as a Physiotherapist and soon after, decided to start up his own sports injury clinic. After 11 months David decided to explore the possibility of taking a gap year, this was his first step into considering teaching as a profession.
"I wanted more of a challenge and there weren't really many opportunities in sports physiotherapy, so I decided to look into taking a gap year and working abroad. The first option I came across was Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL); this meant that I could work whilst having the opportunity to experience a different culture. I actually use some of the cultural aspects from my experiences in what I teach today.
I arrived in South Korea on the Saturday and had my first class on Monday. I tried to take it in my stride, by the third day it felt natural. I decided to learn the language, so I would share the words I learnt with the children and they would correct me. I also offered lessons to the Korean teachers to help them enhance their English."
Between 2009 and 2011 David decided to return to South Korea.
"I actually met my future wife the first time I was in South Korea, so I decided to come back and teach there for 2 further years. In contrast to my initial role, this time I worked in an adult teaching centre and taught children English in addition to the day job. There was no teaching scheme or textbook this time, you had to plan and deliver your lessons, so essentially I wrote their curriculum."
What did you do when you returned to England?
"Initially I was taking jobs that were available. Then a friend advised me of a vacancy for a Cover Supervisor at Wells Hall Primary School. I spoke to the Headteacher, discussed the experience I had in South Korea, and she confirmed that I should apply for the job. The interview included an observed lesson to a Year 4 Maths class about perimeter.
A lot of people who applied for the role had teaching experience, including Teaching Assistants and a qualified teacher. But she phoned me that evening and said she wanted me to undertake the Cover Supervisor role for half the week, and look after my own class for the other half of the week.
As a Cover Supervisor it meant that I had the opportunity to teach children from reception to Year 5, and I was getting really good experience of teaching off the cuff. I loved the variety of learning, development and ages. All the children knew me and I knew all the children. I actually felt like I was playing at being a teacher for a year, I conducted parents’ evenings, created individual education plans for children — it was like a dry run at teaching."
How did you find out about School Direct Salaried?
"I was introduced to the option of School Direct Salaried when a colleague who was a Teaching Assistant mentioned that they were undertaking this route. I went to an information evening run by the Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training (SNITT), and when they spoke about the School Direct Salaried I thought it was too good to be true. I applied and I didn't hear anything until after Christmas when I was told that I had made it through the first stage and was required to attend an interview at Barrow Church of England VC Primary School.
The good thing about preparing for this interview is that I was already teaching and gaining experience, so I trialled my story sharing session with my Year 2 children before using it for my interview. It was really competitive and a lot of the candidates were very well rounded, but I was told that I had got a place at the school."
In September 2013, David started his full time placement at Barrow Church of England VC Primary School with 1 release day a week for core training.
"Some of the people on School Direct Salaried that are new to the role start by just watching other staff, but I was teaching straight away and it felt very normal, I was trusted to do what I needed to do. My role as an unqualified teacher had given me the practical experience of undertaking the role of a teacher, but my training allowed me to develop into a teacher. The course was run very well and the training was very valuable. The level of support I had in school was outstanding."
The School Direct Salaried course also provided David with a second placement, where he spent 4 weeks at Moulton Church of England VC Primary School, Newmarket.
"It was a great experience. This enabled me to gain experience in teaching children in Year 2 as I was teaching Year 4 pupils at Barrow. I found myself bringing the skills that I had learnt from Barrow to benefit my placement at Moulton. The training was very successful; I had set my hopes and aspirations very high at the start of the year. Acknowledging the progress that the School Direct Salaried expected us to make, I aimed to be the person brought back to talk to the next year’s cohort like the year before had done at the start of my training."
Offered a teaching post
David achieved his objective and was asked back by SNITT to speak to the next year’s trainees ahead of them undertaking their training. Two months after starting his School Salaried Direct placement, David was offered a teaching post at the school by the Headteacher for the following school year.
"I knew that I’d be happy to stay here and by Easter 2014 I was asked to take over as form teacher for a Year 4 class, as the current teacher was due to go on maternity leave. I was also asked to take on the role of Science Subject Leader on a permanent basis."
David made such an impact on the school that 1 and a half years after starting his School Direct Salaried placement at Barrow Church of England VC Primary School, David was asked to undertake the Assistant Headteacher role.
"I have been shadowing and receiving mentoring from the current Deputy Headteacher before she goes on maternity leave."
As the school is one of the county’s teaching schools, David’s inspiring attitude to work and development has meant that he is regularly chosen as one of the individuals for teachers starting out in their career to observe. He's also responsible for Career Professional Development (CPD) in the school and introduced development files for staff members over the 2 primary schools in the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust.
What do you have planned for the future?
"I’m about to undertake Specialist Leader in Education training, as well as a National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL). In September (2015), I'll also begin my training to become a facilitator for an Outstanding Teacher Programme"
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