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Fresh challenges can reap rewards

With teaching as his calling, Tom Snowdon found that the University of Gloucestershire provided him with firm foundations for his career.

Now nearly three years into his first head teacher role at Swanton Morley VC Primary School, Tom graduated with a BEd in 2007.

His mum was a home economics teacher, but rather than specialise he was keen to teach primary, in part due to having a younger brother at the family home near Stratford. “I lived in Cheltenham, which was a lot of fun,” he said. “The course included a lot of lecture and seminar time and placements. I undertook three main placements, and they included a wide range of experiences. Some were tough, some had interesting staff dynamics, but they were all valuable in their own way and I gained a lot of insight into life as a teacher.”

And when he wasn’t studying, he was making lifelong friends at university, along with meting his wife to be, Mary, who was studying Film Studies and English.

“The social side of university life was fantastic,” he said. “We played a lot of football, including five a side at the weekends. And when we graduated we stayed in Cheltenham, as did most of our friends, in a shared house.”

After working as a supply teacher, Tom worked in a school in Bishop’s Cleeve near Cheltenham, before he and Mary moved to Norfolk, where Mary’s family live. “Working as a supply teacher is a great opportunity to learn more about the dynamics of leadership approaches, and students with different needs,” he added.

For those thinking of teaching, Tom believes it’s important to try as many experiences as possible, with different schools and colleagues. “And if you do get a good job,” he says “think carefully before you move on – the grass isn’t always greener! That said, it’s really good to look to challenge yourself every few years, and to keep developing your career – you never know where teaching will take you.”

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