Now Teacher Chris Goode, Cohort 2019, had a successful career in the oil industry before leaving to become a physics teacher. Here he shares how Now Teach supported his career progression to become Head of Physics. 

When I took early retirement, I never planned to sit around doing nothing, but I also never planned another full-time career. I liked the idea of teaching but was worried I would be too old alongside all the other fresh starts. Nonetheless, I popped along to a teacher training event, and it was there that I met a Now Teach recruiter.  

Support from Now Teach

Right from the start I found Now Teach very helpful in advising me of the different options available. They found me a training provider linked to a trust that looked after children who required the most help. I chose the option of a 4-day week for teacher training so that I could still spend some ‘early retirement’ time with my family. A long weekend really helped in the initial few months of teacher training! 

Prior to the start of my teacher training course, I attended the Now Teach conference and met others from my cohort. This proved to be invaluable in terms of support as everyone has those initial bumpy days.  

It was also great to meet others at Now Teach events to compare training providers and workloads, often making me realise how lucky I had been with my placements. These events had to go online due to the pandemic, but we will get the chance to meet again sometime. 

As well as advice from my cohort, having a Now Teach Programme Manager is another level of support most trainees don’t have. Being able to talk to someone outside of the situation is a great way of finding solutions to problems.   

Being promoted to head of my department

It has been a tough but very rewarding two years so far. I must have been doing something right as I was contacted by another school recently and they asked if I would consider joining their team as Head of Physics to set up A levels in their new 6th form! As my plan was to stay ‘just teaching’ and not go for any promotions, it was great to be able to talk to others in Now Teach about this. 

I got some great advice from my Now Teach Programme Manager on factors I should consider before making any decisions and she offered to put me in touch with others who had been in a similar position.

Having a Now Teach Programme Manager is another level of support most trainees don’t have. Being able to talk to someone outside of the situation is a great way of finding solutions to problems and there is also a large pool of knowledge and experience to tap into in our network. I went for the interview and will now be starting as Head of Physics just after completing my NQT year! 

Benefitting from my previous experience

At the interview for Head of Physics I was asked what I thought my biggest weakness was. My answer was ‘lack of experience’, but I was reassured I didn’t have a lack of experience, far from it, I just had less experience in the classroom which was more than made up for by my experience of life in my previous career. 

I was also asked some subject specific questions and if I had a good memory to retain the subject knowledge from my A levels all those years ago. They were happier that I had been using my knowledge gained at school in the real world for the last 30 years.

I also asked for a different salary from the advertised one as I worked out, and put a value on, my extra commitment. For any of you in a similar situation, feeling that you should be starting off in junior positions at junior salaries, remember that your previous career and life experiences are REAL assets to schools and the children you will be teaching. 

I am immensely proud of all that I have achieved over the past two years. Starting from scratch after a long career in the oil industry hasn’t been easy and I know for certain that I would not have made as much progress or have the confidence to advance to being Head of Physics if it wasn’t for the unwavering support from Now Teach.

I have no aspirations to take on more leadership responsibility after this promotion. I just want to stay focused on making sure the children at my school get the best possible education, specifically in physics. But never say never…!