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 Taunton School…
Declan Rogers (Senior School Registrar)
What motivated you to take up teaching?
I had worked for Barclays Bank and hated it – big moment of the year was the announcement of company profits (which was billions) quickly followed by the hugely anti climatic announcement of my paltry ‘bonus’ (less than £100 for the year!). Decided that I wanted something more fulfilling, less boring and where monetary profit was not the main driver.
Had done some sports coaching and enjoyed it. Also loved English literature, so gave one of my former teachers a ring to run it by him. He said he thought teaching was ‘a great profession’ and told me to throw in an application. Have loved teaching ever since – still enjoy the classroom as much now as I did when I very first started. There can’t be many jobs where you can say that!
What brought you to and keeps you at your school?
I initially came to my current school because they were looking for someone who could run the hockey programme AND teach English literature. Happily for me I was looking to move from the state school in Swindon where I was teaching at the time and fitted the bill for my current school. I have stayed at my current school because my three (now grown up) kids all went there and loved it and I have been lucky enough to have changed roles a number of times.
There is a very positive atmosphere at the school, the kids are lovely and there is a great camaraderie amongst the staff. Although I have been there for quite some time now, I think the school is currently in a better place than in the last 25 years. I split my time between teaching and pupil recruitment, so work as part of a very supportive academic department and also work as part of a thoroughly pleasant and very dynamic marketing department – what is not to like?
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and its biggest challenge?
No question the most rewarding part of the job is seeing the kids develop; either those whom I have taught or those whom I have helped to come to the school. I recently watched a lad who had been a serial school refuser at his last school, do the vote of thanks at our speech day. I remember the day he and his parents came to look around the school and the desperate situation they were in. Watching their proud faces at Speech Day as their well rounded, confident and very funny son delivered his witty speech was a picture – as they say ‘priceless’!
The biggest challenge in my teaching role is to stay relevant and on top of the seismic changes in IT and delivery of subject content. All very exciting but avoiding the temptation to ‘do it the way I have always done it’ can be difficult to resist. In terms of pupil recruitment, working in a town with a population of 100,000 and three other good independent schools as well as a first rate Sixth Form college means every day is a challenge. I have a new boss now too and she certainly keeps me on my toes – I am told that I need it!