United Teaching Blog

Changing Careers: Making the Leap to Train to Teach


Not everyone who trains to teach does so straight after university. In fact, many people have had a career in a different sector or industry before embarking on their teaching journey.

Hannah Christy, Head of Religious Studies at Seahaven Academy, is one of many who have changed careers and decided to train to teach with United Teaching. We sat down with her to find out more about her experience.

Summarising her journey so far, Hannah said:

“I trained with United Teaching three years ago, pre-Covid, to become a Religious Studies teacher. My placement was at Seahaven Academy, alongside training through Paddington Academy and a PGCE through Goldsmiths, University of London. After I completed the course, I returned to Seahaven Academy as a Newly Qualified Teacher and became Head of Department in 2022.”

Hannah recalls the moment she realised she wanted a career change when she started to feel unfulfilled in her previous role. She said: “For me, my previous job lacked a sense of purpose. I began volunteering at a youth club to bring fulfillment to my life, and quickly realised I wanted to work with children. I also realised I wasn’t putting my degree in Politics and Philosophy to good use and wanted to do something more intellectual that didn’t involve sitting at a desk all day.”

Hannah is part of the cohort who completed teacher training during the pandemic, with Covid interrupting her placement. Hannah said: “Covid struck during my training and so I was offered online training as an alternative, the transition and provision was seamless.”

On her training experience overall, Hannah said: “The course was well delivered, well thought-out, and well-organised. It led me through the different parts of how to teach bit by bit and gave the opportunity to collaborate and meet with lots of trainees across the Trust. It was really useful to be able to come together to reflect on what we have learnt.”

Since becoming a qualified teacher, Hannah has progressed in a short space of time. She explained: “Continuous professional development (CPD) is constant and ongoing. I progressed to Head of Department in 2022 and am currently completing a National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQMLD).

I wouldn’t be in this position without the support and mentoring that I’ve received. When I look back and realise it’s only been a few years since I trained to teach, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learnt and how many skills I’ve acquired through the support of United Learning and the people around me.”

After completing teacher training, Hannah stayed within the Group in a United Learning school. Explaining the benefits of this, she said: “Being part of a wider Trust certainly makes you feel very supported. The wider network is unparalleled. I am a solo department, but I feel the benefit of having colleagues across different schools who I can reach out to and communicate with. United Learning really do get the best out of everyone, including teachers. They take people’s skills and strengths and nourish and develop these, carving out career paths for each individual rather than leaving anyone open to stagnation.”

Hannah left some words of wisdom for aspiring teachers or anyone considering a career change, saying: “You spend most of your time in your work environment, so my advice would be to make that environment one which gives you a real sense of achievement and fulfillment. Your abilities, with the right support, are limitless.”

If you’re interested in teaching as a career path, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a chat with one of our supportive team members: train@unitedteaching.org.uk.

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