Taking the sunshine option

8th July 2005 at 01:00
Alex Reynolds has decided to remain in the classroom after completing the Teach First programme, although it will not be in London.

The 26-year-old, who worked as a tour guide in Europe and as an English teacher in Japan before signing up to Teach First, said that staying in inner-city schools would not be his priority.

The Newcastle university graduate is moving to the Oporto British school in Portugal - an independent day school with fees of up to pound;6,000 - in order to gain more experience of life overseas.

"I have had a lot of experience now in dealing with behavioural issues as a teacher," he said. "Now I want to consolidate the other side of my teaching, with gifted and talented pupils. Plus, I've always liked living abroad."

Mr Reynolds, who is originally from Sussex, worked at the West London academy, Ealing. He taught geography and other humanities subjects and admits that he had mixed feelings about signing up to the course two years ago.

He said: "I saw the programme advertised in Japan when I was there, and I wondered whether I'd be able to cope with the stresses of an inner-city school and whether it would end up being the worst decision of my life.

"It was everything, really. I remember having to understand what to do in theory and then having to suddenly act the teacher when I didn't feel like a teacher at all.

"You have to learn very quickly," Mr Reynolds said. "My school had a very high staff turnover, with a lot of the teachers leaving within one or two months of their arrival.

"The children at the school really had no stability, so although I went in cold, I stayed for two years and I think that has had a huge impact on the school."

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