What I've learned

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
Newly qualified Geoff Bowman says teaching is much tastier than working in the food industry

Since graduating in microbiology, I have worked in the food industry as a technical manager, and as a factory manager. But, approaching my mid-40s, I decided I wanted something else out of life, and I thought of teaching. I did a PGCE at Bath Spa University and have just finished my induction year.

Teaching is so satisfying when it goes right, although I can't say that happens every week. But when it does, there's a sense of achievement and you feel you're doing something, as opposed to producing millions of gateaux, or pork pies, and keeping Britain unhealthy.

The first term goes quickly - you think you're never going to keep this up.

The second term is a bit slower. And in the summer term, you're starting to do things - but you're also seeing what you're not doing. The main challenge is controlling the bottom sets. When I did the PGCE, it wasn't a priority - that was a flaw in our training. I could see people with less experience in managing people coming unstuck. You've got to provide strategies. That's important, and if you can manage that environment, you can manage the learning.

The first few weeks are about getting good lessons, making sure you're delivering the content. I ask, 'What have they actually learned from my lesson?' And if I've missed a bit, I can always come back to it. It's looking at it from the kids' point of view.

Teaching is one profession where everyone rallies round and does their bit.

It's been superb after coming out of industry, where things don't quite work that way.

Geoff Bowman is a science NQT at the Ridgeway school in Swindon, Wiltshire.

He was talking to Martin Whittaker

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