"Students are amazing to work with, they’re funny and inquisitive – they challenge you to spark their interest in your subject."
Gavin McIntyre is assistant headteacher and ICT learning co-ordinator and has an MSc in computing and information systems. Inspired by passionate teachers he had during his A levels, Gavin had always been open to the idea of teaching as a potential career path – so he took the plunge and moved from Northern Ireland to England.
Teacher training proved to be a steep learning curve with Gavin overcoming challenges and picking up valuable lessons along the way. “One thing I’ve realised is that when you’re training to be a teacher, it’s okay to make mistakes. Making mistakes allows you to develop strategies, techniques, and skills which you can apply to your teaching.”
Now fully qualified and rising through the ranks, Gavin enjoys the day-to-day surprises and impact he has on his students. “Working with young students and seeing them realise their own potential is powerful. They test you with their desire to learn and their ability to challenge your own thinking by posing questions that you haven’t even thought of.
“The classroom changes by the hour and working with different age ranges and abilities means you have to keep a fresh outlook on your subject in order to create an engaging and positive learning environment. In the course of a normal day, most teachers would deliver lessons to over 100 students with different interests and learning needs.”
While the changing nature of the classroom and the chance to work with different students of all ages is what makes teaching so rewarding and exciting, Gavin emphasises that maintaining a positive learning environment is an ongoing process.
“Teaching and learning does not stop with the bell at the end of the school day. Getting involved with extracurricular activities can be extremely rewarding – this is balanced with marking and planning for the next set of lessons. Learning and reflecting on your own practice becomes paramount to your development as a teacher. Seeking out new strategies and advice from colleagues is an ongoing process that ensures your own learning evolves.”
Ultimately, the impact a teacher can have on the lives of their pupils is what Gavin believes is so rewarding about the profession. “Students are amazing to work with, they’re funny and inquisitive – they challenge you to spark their interest in your subject. Being part of a learning community is a wholly worthwhile experience that cannot be measured in monetary terms or student achievement alone.”