Pressure of being a teacher made me cry, admits new MP

EXCLUSIVE: New education committee member and ex-teacher Jonathan Gullis says he was 'Grumpy Gullis' in the classroom

Jonathan Gullis

New Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis, who was a secondary school teacher just two months ago, has spoken about the pressures of teaching and revealed how, as an NQT, he broke down in front of pupils.

The member for Stoke-on-Trent North, whoTes recently revealed is to become a member of the Commons Education Select Committee, says he has a number of issues he would like the committee to look into, including reducing the size of large multi-academy trusts and introducing grammar schools into deprived areas. He also says “the science behind targets isn’t perfect”.

In a candid interview with Tes, he told of the “many times" he was in his head of department’s office "crying his eyes out” over a bad lesson in his first job at Blackfen School for Girls in Bexley, south-east London.

Related: Former teacher-turned-MP pays tribute to man who taught him

Background: Teacher-turned-Tory MP stands for education committee

Related: Huge rise in teachers welling up at work

Mr Gullis says: “The NQT year was such a big shift from the PGCE year. One day she [the head of department] just told me to get a grip and I did.

Gullis: 'I never smiled as a teacher'

“I once cried in front of a class,” the former NASUWT union school rep adds. “I made the mistake of thinking that if I’m nice and friendly to the kids they’d be friendly to me back and the class just took the mick with their behaviour. They used to come in and do whatever they wanted.

“So I changed from that to being nicknamed Grumpy Gullis – because I never smiled after that. And I continued that way at every school I went to because I learned that if you give students an inch they’ll take a mile.”

Mr Gullis, 30, a former humanities teacher and head of Year 9, who had to return to work on the morning after his election win, says he changed his persona in the classroom to being a mixture of “the charisma of Boris Johnson and the stiff-upper lip of Jacob Rees-Mogg". He admits his year group “were probably happy to see me go”.

He is asking teachers to email and tweet him with their own ideas for education reform.

Read the full profile of Mr Gullis this Sunday from 8am at


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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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