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Please, sir, I want to teach! – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 20th January 2016 – Ballard School

January 20, 2016

Please, sir, I want to teach!

It was very refreshing to read a report in recent Press that teaching has come up as a ‘dream job’! The Scottish newspaper, ‘The Press and Journal’, reports:

One in six adults in Scotland who had a childhood dream managed to achieve the job they dreamed about when they were children, an NSPCC survey has revealed. The survey conducted by YouGov found that the most popular childhood dream jobs were to be a teacher (10%) and a doctor or nurse (10%) followed by a footballer (9%). Across the UK one in ten adults wanted to be a doctor or nurse (10%), followed by footballer (9%), and teacher (7%).

The headmaster reminisces

As a teenager I can remember wanting first to be an airline pilot (as my parents lived in Africa and I was at boarding school in Scotland I traveled a lot by air) and, second, a doctor. The latter ambition was quickly undermined when I had to choose between Biology and History at O Level and I soon realised that my passion was for History rather than the Sciences. (The fact that my O level grades at Physics and Chemistry were only ‘average’ must also have had a bearing!)

Wise advice from trusted confidants

Aged 17 years, I can remember having a conversation with my Housemaster about future ambitions. I was already thinking of teaching and I said to him that as I’d only been in the independent sector I felt I should train for a state school. In his wisdom my Housemaster advised me to do some teaching in a ‘gap year’ (which I did at a small Prep School near York) and then to make sure that I got some maintained school experience when I eventually did teacher training. Again I followed this advice and whilst I enjoyed teaching in a state school in Cambridge for a term, I came to realise that at a time of trouble (in the 1970s/80s) in some educational quarters was leading fewer teachers to do ‘extra’ (such as games, trips and activities) it was these additional opportunities that I appreciated in my schooling and wanted to encourage them in my career. I thus pursued a career in the independent sector where I felt I could more easily be part of a holistic approach to education.

Think career!

My youthful experience may not be typical for aspiring teachers today but it is gratifying to note the results of the survey quoted above and see that school teaching still holds an appeal for many. It is a rewarding career!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

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