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Gaining experience in a school

Name: Daniel Evans

Age: 36

Specialism: My specialism is Design Technology and I teach in a Special Education School.

PK education office: North East

How long have you worked with PK Education?

I worked with PK Education during the 12 week Easter term 2015.

I trained to become a teacher in 2010, back when there were free funded places for teachers and I qualified after one year. I completed three years of teaching in a mainstream school but felt that the career wasn’t right for me and it wasn’t what I had expected. Subsequently, I returned to my original job as a carpenter.

After a year of making furniture I missed teaching and decided that I wanted to give it another go, but I was wary about committing to a full time role in case I didn’t enjoy it. I spoke to friends about my reasons for leaving the profession in the first place, they worked in special education schools and suggested that, based on my reasons for leaving teaching, I should give special education a try.

How has supply teaching helped your career?

I didn’t want to jump in to an SEN school feet-first, so I thought supply teaching seemed like a practical option because it has a ‘try before I buy’ element, meaning I could be gaining experience in a school without the obligation.

When I contacted PK Education they worked with me to decide what my goals and aspirations were. After the necessary paperwork and a few phone calls, they worked quickly to place me in a special education school so that I could see if I liked it; it turned out that special education rekindled my passion, I have re-engaged with teaching and I haven’t looked back since.

Would you recommend supply teaching?

I would definitely recommend working as a supply teacher and working with PK Education. It’s been a great opportunity for me not only to take a step back to figure out what I wanted to do but also to discover my options.

I love teaching, but I felt that sometimes there was unreasonable pressure with little credit and gain. Teaching for me is about turning out nice, well-rounded young people, but my previous experience found that the emphasis was very much results and target driven, not about the pupils. After having a break from teaching and really thinking about why I went down the education path in the first place, I was able to see the wood for the trees and use PK education as a platform to figure out my options.

After completing my assigned job for PK Education, I was happy to discover that the special education school had more realistic expectations of what their pupils and teachers were capable of. I found this much more rewarding and had a really positive experience. I was delighted to be offered a full-time role by the school after my placement and so this is where I am working permanently now.

Advice to new supply teachers or other aspiring teachers?

I would advise new or aspiring teachers to give supply a go! The role can be difficult at first because you are the new face in the school which can be daunting, but stick with it. Working as a supply teacher gives you the chance to try out different types of schools so you can find out what you enjoy.