'I work in a big department and I like the variety of people there'

Name Billy Bohanna. Age 24. Current post Newly qualified, teaching business studies and accounting at Colchester sixth-form college

Career to date?

After my A-levels I worked on a trading floor in the City for just over a year. I enjoyed it - I was 18, it was London, it was big and exciting. But it became apparent very quickly that it was only a short-term thing. I then went to the University College of Suffolk, and into my PGCE at the Institute of Education.

Why did you become a teacher?

I enjoyed my subject and I wanted to use that in some way. I was fairly good at communicating and I was confident - I did have a big confidence boost after London. At that time there was an element of wanting to make a difference and contribute. I was no high-flier at school - I was a middle-of-the-road student who worked hard. But taking business studies gave me a lot more breadth. It is for the students as well, and you find they come into it wanting to make a real go of it.

What's the best thing that's happened to you so far?

I had a second year class and one particular lad had taken exams a year before and got a U grade, then he took it again and he got B. He slapped me on the back, shook my hand and said: "Cheers, mate." That was nice.

And the worst?

We had an Ofsted inspection the week before we broke up for Christmas, and that was the toughest I've found it. It was a 14 or 15-week term, and then to have an Ofsted tacked on the end...It's not only mentally taxing, but physically taxing as well - you're always on edge. The week was very long and quite gruelling.

What do you like most about teaching?

I work in a fairly big department and I like the variety of the people there - there's me, aged 24, right up to somebody who is very close to retirement age, and every member of the department is from a completely different background. For me, the range, diversity and wealth of knowledge that brings is absolutely fantastic.

What is your dream job?

Eventually I would like to go into PGCE tutoring - I had a good experience at the Institute of Education and it was really supportive.

Top tip?

Go into a school, have a good look around, ask yourself if you could do that. Nobody has any idea what that year of training is like, so be prepared to have no life for that year.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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