Dynamic duo

8th August 2008 at 01:00

JENNY

Cathy and I embarked on teacher training last year - to the surprise of both of us. We each knew that the other was thinking about it but we didn't know that we'd enrolled in the same academic year until I announced it, and she said she'd done the same.

I'm training at North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham, and since the start of this year, I've taught adult literacy at West Cheshire College. This is my first bout of teaching and my goal is to teach English and psychology in a sixth form. From September, I will be a cover supervisor at Flint High School in Flint, Flintshire, in a bid to get my Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Flint is where I grew up and my mum and sister still live there.

Cathy is seven years older than me and for her it was a big career change, from being a businesswoman to teaching secondary ICT. I was an office manager for the Welsh Assembly, not something I wanted to do.

I'd always wanted to be a teacher. I had a toy blackboard and I would play teacher, reading a book to my imaginary class. My sister would tease me about it.

But when it came to it, I decided to do a degree in English and psychology rather than teaching. I think my mum, who is a retired nurse, was afraid I wouldn't succeed with a teaching degree and persuaded me that it might be better to have a different degree to fall back on.

I think Cathy sees me as more of a natural teacher than her. I still see her as a businesswoman, but perhaps that's because she changed careers.

We have two brothers. One of them has a fiancee who is a teacher, as is her sister. I recently found out that my grandmother on my dad's side was a teacher too.

It's great that my sister and I are in the same profession - we'll have the same holidays and get to spend more time together. I'm auntie to her daughter and it would be great to all go to Disneyland.

Jenny Lewtey, 26, left, is training at North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham and has just finished a placement teaching adult literacy at West Cheshire College

CATHY

I graduated with a business studies degree in 1995 and after that I had a vague idea that I wanted to teach. But I thought I should work elsewhere first, so got jobs with various small firms in the UK and abroad in sales and marketing. I had a career break when my daughter, now six, was born and during that time I began to think more about a career change.

Friends in the profession said I should consider the primary route, so I spent 18 months as a part-time volunteer at my daughter's school, St Mary's Primary in Flint, Flintshire. I also did work experience in the ICT and business studies departments at my old secondary school, St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Flint, and it was a breath of fresh air. It was less frenzied and more structured than younger age groups, and I decided I preferred it.

During my second placement, at the Wirral Grammar School for Girls, Bebington, I got my sister Jenny in to observe and to take a couple of lessons in the sixth form. I didn't watch her teach, but I think the experience helped her towards her QTS.

I made a career change to go into teaching and I think a late starter tends to be more committed. My aim is to be a head of department, but beyond that I'm not so sure. The further up you go, the more you become distanced from the reasons you went into it in the first place - being involved with pupils

Cathy Robinson, 33, is halfway through a two-year PGCE subject conversion in ICT at Liverpool John Moores University.

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