Matthew Toyne-Blair – Why did I apply?

Some people know exactly which profession is the one for them; they know which position they aspire to hold. Consequently, they journey cheerily through education with a clear goal in mind. For me, I did not have a career in mind when I decided to go to university. Nor did I have one in mind when I left university, or indeed in the decade that followed…

For the longest time I thought it was me. I wasn’t without ambition, but (frustratingly) I wasn’t blessed with the knowledge of where I was ‘meant to be’. This resulted in itchy feet, where I found I wasn’t able to settle in any one position for too long. Despite my (relatively) young age, I have swapped companies and careers more times than a three-sided CV can handle – and despite willing, I never found a career that peaked my interest.

I had contemplated teaching on and off for years, but for one reason or another, the idea never stuck long enough for me to explore exactly what teacher training would entail, how much it would cost and even if I was eligible.

As fate would have it, after a particularly uninspiring day in yet another new role at yet another new company, I heard Colchester Teacher Training Consortium’s open event advert on the car radio. I dropped by the open event – with my other half in tow – and had an informal chat with the team and began to explore my options.

I was concerned I wasn’t 21 anymore. At the open event I was reassured to find out the course sees just as many career changers as those fresh out of university. There are people from all walks of life that have – for many different reasons – chosen now as the time to take the plunge and train to teach. 

I was also concerned about the practicalities – how could anyone turn their back on a regular income and decide to become a student again? Especially for those of us with a family to support. I was informed that I could apply for a Tuition Fee Student Loan from Student Finance England to cover the course fees, I could also apply for an additional Maintenance Loan if I wished and – dependant on the subject I was planning to teach – a tax free bursary may be applicable.

I left the open event with all my questions answered.

The rest, as they say, is history (or rather English, in my case). I applied and was offered a position as an English trainee teacher. At the time of writing I am half way through the course, I am now at my second placement school and I’ve already secured a teaching position for June when the training course ends. I have no doubts I made the right decision for me and I would encourage any career-nomad who is still looking for their place in the working world not to discount teaching because of their age. Good luck.