Sebastian Paul retrained as a French teacher with Now Teach and teaches at Thames Christian College in South West London. He reflects on why it’s important for students to experience careers-related activities and how career-changers are uniquely placed to make this happen.
For over 25 years I worked with large global advertising agencies where our clients included Ford, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Sony Ericsson. In September 2018, I changed career and joined Now Teach, training at The Fulham Boys School, a Church of England free school for boys aged 11 to 18, while doing a PGCE with St Mary’s University.
'Enterprise' is a core value at Fulham Boys and they have an extensive programme of Enterprise/Business/Community-focused projects. The Assistant Head leads on these and I volunteered to support him because of my background.
I found myself attending business workshop sessions with guest entrepreneurs as speakers, at career events for Year 9s and their parents and at speed-dating career sessions. We took boys to the Chelsea Football Academy at Stamford Bridge where they learnt about how Chelsea FC develop their brand, merchandising and new product strategies.
It was exciting to see how, even as a new teacher, my past experience could add value to the school. The boys knew that if I was talking to them about careers, branding or business and product development it was genuine, because I had actually done it for many years.
I believe these types of activities are very important for pupils. It’s about taking the academic subject and applying it to real world business or creative enterprise. This is how we can help tease out the aspirations that will lead to a student's career.
As career-changers with significant professional experience, Now Teachers have much to offer schools. We all took a leap to become teachers and the opportunity to use our previous career experience helps us know we made a good decision.
My teaching career still has many exciting challenges ahead. It is reassuring that my old career will help me create new educational experiences to develop my students' career goals and aspirations for the future.
We all took a leap to become teachers and the opportunity to use our previous career experience helps us know we made a good decision.