'I was never driven enough to be an engineer'

28th September 2001 at 01:00
Name - Sunetra Berry Age: 33

Why did you become a teacher?

I worked for three or four years as an engineer. Although I enjoyed my career immensely, I always felt that at the end of the day I was only really doing it for myself and to make a profit for somebody else. I wanted to do something that would give me a different kind of job satisfaction. I loved my subject area and I had a strong interest in children.

Career to date?

I did an engineering degree at Loughborough university and after that I worked in chemical engineering. When I decided to change careers, I wanted to be sure that I would be good as a science teacher - that was very important to me. So before going into teacher training, I went to work as a school lab technician. I decided that if I spent a year or so working in a school environment, I would know whether it was right for me or not.

I was very lucky in that way. It was a small rural secondary school and the headteacher there was very supportive towards me. She not only enabled me to watch lessons and even deliver parts of lessons, but she found a scheme where I trained while Iwas working in school. So from day one I was teaching about 18 hours a week.

It was a great way to learn, although it wasn't easy. It took me two years to get my qualification, but as soon as I was qualified, I became a head of department, so I jumped through the stages very quickly.

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

We had one small group who went through their GCSEs a year early. They all got A-star passes and there were lots of tears - it was wonderful.

And the worst?

I can't say I've had any bad experiences.

What do you like most about the job?

I love the variety. I love the fact that no two days are ever the same. I love the creativity. And I love the end result - which is happy, successful kids.

What is your dream job?

When I find out I'll let you know - I really love what I'm doing at the moment.

Top tip?

Try to get as much information about and as much contact with the school as possible.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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