Name: Angela McDonnell
Subject you are training in: Mathematics (Secondary)
Position Held: School Direct Trainee
What were you doing prior to becoming a teacher?
When I left university I joined an engineering consultancy as an Acoustic Engineer and spent ten years undertaking studies in the many forms of acoustics, including environmental noise, building acoustics and room acoustics. This involved the measurement, prediction and assessment against the relevant standards and guidelines. The work was varied and took me to many different places, both within the UK and overseas.
I then retrained as a web developer, initially working within a web design agency and after a few years setting up my own business, designing and building websites and applications for small to medium sized businesses.
Why did you choose to train through VITSA?
I attended an information day which gave me the answers to all of my queries (and doubts!) about entering the teaching profession after having spent so long in other careers.
I knew that I would be well supported if I was to undertake my training through a VITSA school.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
It is something that I have periodically considered before in my career but it was when wanting to return to the workplace after a number of years bringing up my young family that I decided that the time was right to explore the possibility of teaching. I knew I wanted to do something that would not only be a new challenge for me, but where the rewards would be more meaningful and fulfilling. Aware of the shortages of good teaching staff, particularly in the maths and science subjects, I was genuinely excited by the notion that I could bring my real life experience to the classroom and make a real contribution to the lives of young people at such an important stage in their education.
What have been your highlights so far?
I think that it’s when you realise that your teaching has in some way been effective, for instance when you mark a piece of work where a pupil has obviously taken on board or understood something from a particular lesson you have taught. It’s still early days yet for me, so I am looking forward to many more moments like this!
There’s a real community feel to the school I’m based in, helped along by plenty of non-curriculum activities and events taking place. All staff are encouraged to get involved in these and I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know colleagues and students outside of normal lessons.
I also really enjoy the time I spend with fellow trainees at the university study days. It’s good to share stories and experiences with others on the same ‘journey’ and to know that the help and support is always there should I need it.