Andy Grayson, Secondary School Teacher
“Hello, my name’s Andy and I graduated in 2014 from Bath University, with a 2:1 in Sociology.
Having always had low aspirations, my intention since about GCSE stage had been to take the easiest possible subject at the best possible university, then by hanging onto the coattails of the institution’s prestige worm my way into a mediocre office-based role with a large firm. Ideally, this company would be large enough to engulf me into its badly-run workforce so inefficiently that my idleness would go unnoticed, and I could look forward to 40 years of uneventful chair spinning and a comfortable retirement package.
In view of this, I took a work placement in a little known Japanese outfit that apparently made some sort of technological items, within the obscure “sales operations” department (we were responsible for processing theoretical price quotes for server configurations, on the basis of which potential clients would compare with other similar manufacturers and subsequently decide whether they wanted to actually become future customers. Quite.)
Exactly in line with my long-term plan therefore, and I arrived with the full intention of becoming a run of the mill undervalued member of the lacklustre “team”. In the event however, the job turned out to be so chronically boring that even my puerile attitude couldn’t lighten the mood (I got moved desks twice for “being silly”), and in the end I only just made it through the year without being asked to leave the premises.
As such, my life goals in disarray, I had to have a complete reassessment of exactly what I was going to do with the bit of your existence between grinning shiny-faced wearing a flat hat and holding a fake scroll for your parent’s mantel piece, and putting my name down for a stair lift. One option was of course to spend a year desecrating ancient monuments in the Far East while wearing board shorts and stroking comatose tigers for my tinder profile, but even I’m not unbearable enough for that.
After a few confused months of applying to all sorts of bizarre career paths (in one particularly unsettling incident I appeared before the Royal Navy Admiralty Interview Board), like so many others of my generation mistakenly seeing myself as “good with people”, I did a PGCE course with a view to being a secondary school teacher. This may seem one of the most miserable experiences possible in the developed world today, since not only do the kids see you as a complete doss and climb up the walls, you actually have to pay for this humiliation, since as a university course it’s a 9 grand day out.
However I unaccountably passed the year and now find myself teaching Religious Studies (obscurely) at a pleasant school in south west London. I have a year 7 form and have just seen my first batch of year 11s through their GCSEs, and even have my own seat in the pub at the end of the road, which incidentally is where I’m going as soon as I finish typing this. I had absolutely no idea I would end up doing this, but everything’s worked out fine in the end and I’m perfectly happy”.
This article has been provided by an external organisation, as such the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Careers, Placement and Experience Centre.
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