I know that going back to their old school would not be everyone’s idea of a fun career move. Cherwell was a great school to be at as a student and most of my mates from back then really enjoyed their time there. Despite this, I know that not all of them would be happy to go back. But it is something I decided to do, and I have not regretted that decision for a second.
I am currently on a scheme run by Oxfordshire Teacher Training. All sorts of people can get on to the scheme. There are young university graduates, like me, but there are also people who are slightly older and are looking for a career change.
There are around 70 of us on the programme this year and about a dozen of these are young guys doing a placement back at their old school. That means working alongside people who were their teachers just a few years ago. That takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, it works really well on both sides.
I’m currently training to be a biology teacher at Cherwell and I am also spending plenty of time at King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage. On top of that, we get to go out and learn at other schools to get a broader experience of the profession. To date, I’ve been to The Oxford Academy, Windmill Primary, and Wheatley Park.
I’m 27 now and I left school in 2006, after attending what is now known as City of Oxford College at Oxpens. I studied sports science at the University of Kent and after graduating I became a footwear supervisor at the Sports Direct stores in Cowley and Botley. I had a really good time there. Not everyone does, I admit, but it was a very positive experience for me.
However, I knew that I wanted to do more – to get a career rather than a job, and to combine working with kids and sports coaching in some way. My dad was a football coach back home in Antigua, so this aspiration definitely runs in the family.
I helped set up the junior section at Wolvercote Cricket Club a few years back and that really sparked my enthusiasm for working with young people. So I got in touch with Cherwell and came back to the school in 2016 as a cover teacher before getting on to the training scheme.
A number of the teachers have come to me and said how it motivates them to know that someone they put a lot of effort into has wanted to come back and do the same thing. They say it’s inspirational, which I hadn’t really thought about, but I suppose it makes sense to me now.
In my view, it’s a real privilege to be mentored and also seen as an equal by people who I used to, and still, admire so much. They put an awful lot of effort into your development, and that is quite humbling.