Philip Fitzpatrick, PGCE Primary
As a child I was inspired by the headmaster in my first primary school to become a teacher, but growing up in boys’ homes and foster care was not conducive to a solid learning environment. So, I joined the Royal Engineers for a career in the military.
I had always wanted to get back into education, but until completing my degree at 35 years old did it then become possible to think about following my original path. As usual, life took over and bills needed paying so I went back into driving, then at the age 40 I found myself wanting to get out of the rat race and wanting to do something for myself.
My first career should have been teaching, so with a world of knowledge and understanding I went back to night school to re-sit my GCSEs and gained the grades required to be accepted on the PGCE.
Teaching was going to be my way of giving back and show children that no matter what life throws at you, you can always move forward in life, even with dyslexia you can achieve great things in life.
Having spent most of my life in Kent, Christ church was the most logical option for study. It had all the facilities that a mature student needed to achieve, and the support given while by the staff vindicated my decision. It was the staff that noticed my dyslexia, even though I had grown up just finding ways around it and worked twice as hard on getting my grades.
The staff guided me through the minefields of the educational system and had the patience with me to adjust from the very male environments I had been used to, to working in an educational environment. I was given the support I needed to succeed.
I am now a full time teacher at a school in Sheerness.
In the spotlight:
What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a teacher?
Do not be scared to do supply work before finding the right school for you, plenty of opportunities arise from supply.
I completed the second half of my NQT at a three-form entry school, but started my NQT in a small half form school. Only personal circumstances forced me to move schools. Both schools I found through supply, word of your teaching style and the relationship you hold with the children gets around.
What’s the best thing about teaching?
The greatest reward from teaching is seeing the unachievable achieved! Every child wants to learn, every child wants to please, by giving every child an opportunity you are setting that child on a road to their future.