It’s the job that gives you a buzz unlike any other…

CORONAVIRUS has thrown the nation a series of curveballs, and in the fallout, many of us are considering a career change.

And of the tens of thousands of vacancies in secure, public sector jobs, one type is appearing at the top of many wish lists.

Abigail Welton, 31, gave up a glamorous media job to train as a teacher: just one of the thousands of candidates who enrol each year. But despite swapping celeb parties for the staffroom, she’s never looked back.

“I worked in media for seven years, and loved it,” says Abigail, who lives in Hainault, Northeast London. “But at the same time the idea of working with children and making a difference really appealed to me, so I took the plunge and applied for a primary school teacher training course.”

After gaining work experience and undergoing a rigorous application process, Abigail was accepted on to a teacher-training course starting in September 2018. “I felt like an imposter at first,” she recalls. “But I told myself, ‘You’re going to be a teacher one day,’ and just went for it.”

After a year of training, she took her first class at Engayne Primary in Upminster, East London, in July 2019 – and over a year into her new career, she has no regrets.

“That first day, when you step into your own classroom, it’s an incredible feeling,” she says. “You feel butterflies, you’re excited, you’re nervous. Every day I’d come home exhausted, but gushing with another story about something a child had done or achieved, and feeling euphoric. There’s nothing like it.”

Since the pandemic, Abigail appreciates the added security of a public sector role. “It isn’t why I went into teaching, but once I started, I realised I was lucky to have a job where I was so looked after,” she says. “I’ve got so many friends who have lost jobs due to coronavirus, and I know how fortunate I am.”

Abigail is still thrilled at her decision to make a career change. “It was 100 per cent the right thing,” she says. “I feel so passionate, and absolutely love it. If you’re thinking about making a career change to teaching, I can’t say ‘do it’ enough. You won’t regret it.”

It worked for me

Science teacher Jagpreet Hayre, 27, works at Dormers Wells High School in Southall, Middlesex.

“When I was younger, I had a fascination with teachers and teaching, and by the time I reached the sixth form, I knew that this was the career for me. I’d never seen myself in an office job, I wanted to do something dynamic, where I’d be able to make a difference.
“After completing my teacher training, it was daunting going into my first class and seeing 30 kids staring at me, expecting me to dazzle them. But I love it so much. Every day is different from the one before… and after. Even if I have a really bad day, a kid will tell me a joke and that’s my day made.
“You’ll never find another job that gives you what teaching can. I wake up every day thinking, ‘I’m so blessed.’”

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