All set for take-off

9th November 2007 at 00:00
A lot of my friends and family thought I was mad when I told them that I was giving up my glamorous job as an air hostess to train as a primary school teacher.

I had worked for various airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, since graduating from university in 2003. The decision to move into teaching came about because I wanted to make a difference to people's lives and, although serving complimentary gin and tonics at 30,000ft can make a passenger's day, it's by no means life changing.

There are definitely aspects of my old job that I will miss. I used to love driving home at 8am after a night flight, seeing workers on their way into the office while I was going home to bed. The fun we used to have performing the safety demonstration and making announcements over the PA system in an adenoidal voice, not to mention the stopovers in Cape Town and San Francisco.

But the role of a cabin crew member compares with that of a school teacher (minus the red lipstick). Being able to control a plane full of Club 18-30 passengers will stand me in good stead for my first school placement.

Being prepared for unexpected situations, entertaining and keeping spirits high when your charges become disgruntled, are fundamental aspects of both jobs, as is having a smile on your face at the end of it all.

Believe it or not though, I found standing in front of 30 equivocal faces in the classroom far more taxing than performing to a plane full of passengers. It takes more than free alcohol and headsets to impress this audience.

I have some great memories from my time in the sky. However, I am certain that a career change was the right thing for me. I finally feel that I am contributing to society and my role has purpose and meaning. Being part of a cabin crew was an experience that I will never forget, but it can't even come close to the satisfaction of delivering my first lesson.

Jenny Brierley is taking a PGCE at Liverpool Hope University.

Tell us your tales

Are you a student teacher or NQT? Tell us about your experiences, your thoughts, your highs and lows. We pay pound;100 for every one published. Email no more than 400 words to

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now