Training later on in life – Ness Cohen

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I went into teacher training at 34, which was ten years after I originally thought about doing. However, for me, it was far better timing to have trained later on in life. I believe that there are pros and cons to training at various ages, but for me, I entered into the profession with a lot of life experience behind me, having been fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling and seasons living in the French Alps I have the ability to offer pupils an insight into potential life adventures and hopefully inspire them to want to explore the world and a variety of careers.

I believe that the SCITT programme I completed was the best pathway for me into teaching and am a strong advocate for this route. It offers a gentle approach into teaching that isn't weighed down with too much paper based university assignments. 

I happened to teach six subjects in my training year which is unusual, but I do feel that it has proved the possibility to be multi-disciplinary and that subject variety can really motivate a trainee to be diverse from the beginning of their teaching career. This can be an advantage as once you become a qualified teacher you can be asked to teach various subjects.

I originally wanted to teach Art at college level, but after research I realised that there were redundancies in further education. I then looked at secondary level but there wasn't any financial help for Art, so I trained in Design Technology (having obtained a degree in Art & Design). In a large school, such as the one I trained at, there are several subjects in a D&T department, enabling me to teach several subjects. I quickly realised that I was best at Food Technology (having cooked in ski chalets in the French Alps for two years I had the experience behind me to be competent enough in this subject and it fuelled me to become passionate about food and cooking). My Food Technology mentor urged me to follow a path into specialising in this subject.

After applying for a couple of design jobs, I realised that my passion lay in food and so I applied for two jobs to teach this and got the second one, which is at a small, local grammar school. It has been a fortunate first teaching post, and there are plus points to working in private schools, for instance extra holidays and a more relaxed atmosphere.

My NQT year so far has been tough but manageable and helped by having picked the most suitable subject and working for a really great school.

Ness


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