In the News - Michael Rowlands
Michael hasn't even started his first teaching job, but he has already won an award for his skills in the classroom. The 25-year-old has been named the Economics, Business and Enterprise Association's (EBEA) trainee teacher of the year. Judges were impressed with his confidence, humour and "superb" subject knowledge. Michael will start work at John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in September.
Is it bizarre to be honoured already?
I'm very surprised. University tutors nominate students for this award, and then the EBEA requests information from their teaching-practice schools. This was all done in secret and I didn't even know I had been nominated until the week before. I was also nominated by Kathryn Potts, head of business studies at Alsager High School near Stoke-on-Trent, where I did teaching practice while studying for my PGCE at Staffordshire University.
Why do you think you stood out?
I have strong views about how business studies and economics should be taught. I'm very keen for pupils to understand the subjects in a sophisticated way and I think that caught the eye of the judges. I always try to use real-life examples - for instance, I have run lessons on the economic impact of a rock concert or local shops closing. I don't want pupils to leave aside economics and business studies when they leave the classroom; I want them to use the subject constantly.
What are your lessons like?
I rarely use PowerPoint presentations. I prefer group work and class discussion where pupils have to present their ideas. I want the children to be working as hard as me.
What sparked your interest in teaching?
I'm originally from North Wales and I studied economics at Aberystwyth University. After that I spent two years working in industry, managing projects for Tesco on productivity - how to work harder and smarter. That has really helped me in my teaching so far. It's great to be able to bring real-life examples to the classroom; so many aspects of economics and business studies were related to my job. I love the subject, so I wanted to get into teaching.
And what will your new colleagues think?
They have heard about the award and are probably expecting a lot from me now. I'm really looking forward to starting the job. I'm teaching GCSE and A-level, but I want to get younger pupils interested in the subjects, too. I plan to run lunchtime clubs for them. I'm also excited about the school's existing Economics Society, where business leaders come in to speak to children.