Degree: BA Sociology
Current place of work: Teacher
What is your current occupation? How has your Sociology helped you with your career decisions?
I am currently a Secondary School teacher at a school in Wiltshire. Sociology is my specialism but I also teach Psychology, Health and Social Care and Beliefs and Values which includes religious studies, sex and drugs education, careers advice, citizenship studies and politics. My degree has evident application to my job as I am engaging students in social issues every day. My degree also made me aware of the inequalities in society which I see every day played out in the classroom. Additionally, the academic rigour required to succeed in any degree discipline is useful in supporting my students essay writing skills and exam technique.
How did your career path develop whilst at University?
I was involved with the Sociology and Anthropology Society from my first year and went onto be President in my final year. I also helped the department launch the buddy scheme where older students were matched with first years to support them with the jump between A-Level and University. I was also often involved in Open Days speaking to potential students about why they should study Sociology at Exeter. These three roles allowed me to develop my organisation and communication skills, essential for a successful teacher. Outside of the University, I volunteered once a week at a secondary school in Sidmouth to gain some teaching experience. Additionally, my dissertation was on the reputation that sociology has as a subject, which allowed me to explore the discipline in greater depth.
What advice would you give to current students who may want to follow in your footsteps?
In the current political climate, being a teacher is full of challenges, constant deadlines, passing standards, obtaining results and long hours. Whenever anyone says ‘yeah but you have the holidays’ it makes me frustrated as I spend my holidays and weekends planning and marking. It is not a 9 to 5 job, it is a lifestyle. If people are unsure, make sure you get some experience before applying to teacher training, many of the schools in Exeter are open to volunteers. It is not an easy career nor something for people who are not sure - you have to be certain before committing yourself to it. Having said that, I enjoy being able to make young people aware of the issues that our society is facing. Teenagers are fascinating and often have a different perspective on life which can make discussion and debates exciting.