Julie, chemistry trainee at Surbiton High School, worked in industry before deciding to become a teacher. She also successfully applied for a teacher training scholarship from the Royal Society of Chemistry, which she tells us more about here:
Before I started teacher training, I worked in industry for over 20 years in a large multinational company where I had many varied roles, ranging from global product and brand development through to efficient marketing insight delivery.
I decided to become a teacher not only to re-ignite my passion in chemistry but also to give something back, helping others to learn about chemistry in a relevant and engaging way, hopefully using my business experience to bring the subject to life in a modern way.
My first half term has literally whizzed by and although at times I’ve felt like I’m on a steep learning curve, the fun of getting new secondary children to start to think scientifically through good experimental practice has made the challenge fun but very rewarding.
I applied for a Royal Society of Chemistry scholarship because it has a fantastic reputation for expertise in chemistry including education and teaching, and partly because there was nothing to lose by giving it a shot! Once I had secured my trainee teaching place early in the academic year with United Teaching, I focused on making sure that my school-level chemistry knowledge was in a good working state, something that I felt I needed to do anyway before starting my training. This enabled me to pass the online screening process and then attend a one-day assessment at the RSC HQ in London. The staggered deadlines for online applications and corresponding assessment days are displayed on the RSC website so I used this information to time my application to suit my personal needs.
In addition to receiving an enhanced training bursary (tax-free £28K) and free membership of the RSC, the scholarship provides me with many teaching resources. These include access to online teaching and training resources, educational materials, expertise from regional educational coordinators and an RSC subject mentor. The highlight so far has been attending the free CPD training day where RSC scholars can learn about key practical chemistry practical skills as well as building a professional network of fellow chemistry teachers.
I would strongly encourage anyone to applying to United Teaching to teach chemistry to also apply for an RSC scholarship as ‘you have to be in it to win it’!
Scholarships are available for maths, physics, chemistry, biology, computing and geography. You can find out more here.