We hear from the men and women at the front of the class about what inspired – and continues to inspire – them to take up teaching. Here’s the view from the staff room at Rookwood School…
Richard Hick (Deputy Head)
What motivated you to take up teaching?
I came in to teaching as a second career. After over 20 years in the Army, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel, I decided I wanted to do something different. I had spent two consecutive summers away on operational tours and faced the prospect of more time away from the family, so I decided to leave the Army.
I considered all the usual options such as logistics and project management but kept reflecting on what aspects of my career I had enjoyed the most. I realised what I was really passionate about was seeing others develop and playing a part in their learning and progression.
I previously had a number of jobs in the Army which involved some form of teaching, including spending two years as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which I had really enjoyed. So I made the decision to retrain as a Design and Technology Teacher. Using the Master of Arts degree I had gained whilst at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, I completed a year’s ‘on the job’ training in a local state secondary school and subsequently gained my Qualified Teacher Status qualification.
What brought you to and keeps you at your school?
I came to Rookwood in 2010 as the Head of the Senior School as I wanted to continue my career progression. I was previously a head of year in a local state school; I knew of Rookwood and really liked the atmosphere in the school.
From the moment I stepped through the doors I was captivated by the amazing pupils and remarkable staff which make up the very close knit family that makes Rookwood so special. Pupils, past pupils, parents and staff all talk about how supportive everyone is; staff help and nurture pupils, pupils love working with each other (senior pupils thrive on supporting the younger prep and pre prep pupils) and parents play an active role in many aspects of school life.
Like so many staff, I have been hooked by Rookwood and am really passionate about what we do. I am immensely proud to be part of such a great school.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and its biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is that so many youngsters are too used to having so much done for them nowadays. Drawing upon my experience of working life and the challenges I faced in the Army, I strongly believe that we need to develop a pupils independence and resilience and to do that we have to give our young men and women responsibility and let them get on. Of course we support, teach and guide but I am a real fan of allowing young people to ‘lead in their learning’ and to think on their own. Too many solve problems by asking a parent or teacher, rather than trying things for themselves. When they are encouraged to do so the sense of achievement is so apparent on their faces its great – and this is the most rewarding aspect of my job. By doing this I feel that we are preparing our pupils for the next stage in their education.
I do feel that much of what we do at Rookwood provides the foundation for our pupils’ futures. I am extremely fortunate to work in a small community of very experienced and dedicated staff along with some simply delightful young men and women. Growing up can be tough, even in an independent school, and some of our pupils face real personal challenges so coming home at the end of a day, week or term and knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life is the best feeling ever.