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From law books to lesson plans: one teacher's journey from law school to the classroom

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Date published 11 June 2024

Last updated 11 June 2024

Teaching wasn’t always the plan for Rob Larkin. After gaining a first class degree in law, he found his true vocation in teaching. Now Rob has a career that brings him satisfaction and “is unlike any other on the planet”.

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After Rob finished school, he went to Leeds University to study law. “That was always the idea,” says Rob. “I'd be lying if I said the media didn't influence it. Films and TV shows make law out to be this really glamorous vocation. But in reality, you're doing hours upon hours of paperwork, long phone calls, and it's not the sort of the profession I ended up wanting to go into.”

So when Rob saw an advert for a maths tutor during his last year at university he started to consider teaching. “I’ve always been interested in academia and I was strong at maths at school,” he explains. "It’s a subject I wanted to teach because it’s fast-paced and you can see pupils pick things up really quickly. I started tutoring and loved it.”

RobLarkin.BristnallHall

The switch to teaching

That was the turning point and one that spurred him onto teacher training and a whole new career.

His initial teacher training with a school-based provider included placements at two secondary schools in Leeds. Now, three years later, he’s teaching maths to pupils at Bristnall Hall Academy in Oldbury and loving every moment.

Rob knew he had done the right thing from the start. “I remember walking down the corridor for the first time as a teacher, and feeling the hustle and bustle. You’re getting funny looks from some pupils because they’ve never seen you before; some asking you questions. There’s just something about it.”

Making an impact

Rob explains how his favourite part of teaching is helping pupils to develop and apply their knowledge in lessons. “When a pupil doesn’t understand something, and then they turn it around within a few minutes. I’ll say to them: ‘Ten minutes ago you had no idea how to do that, and now you’ve just learned something new. You should be so proud of that!’.”

Rob also gets that same satisfaction and pride when pupils get their exam results. “It’s that feeling you get from the difference you’ve made. When the results are in and they get the grade they want, it feels so good that you’ve had some impact on that pupil’s life.”

Sharing a love of learning

Rob’s always had a passion for education and helping others to develop a love of learning. Key to his success in the classroom is creating an environment where his pupils want to come to lessons, and want to learn. He explains: “I say to my pupils at the start of the year, ‘I want you to enjoy your maths lessons, and I want you to do well in them’. That brings such a big shift, not only in their maths, but in their enthusiasm for learning.”

It’s all about the pupils

Seeing his pupils succeed at maths isn’t the only part of the job that he enjoys. “As a teacher, you’re a trusted adult for your pupils and taking an interest in who they are can help to build those relationships – whether that’s asking how a rugby practice went or what their favourite heavy metal band is. I just like to always hear about what my pupils are doing.

“I love that pastoral care element of my work. Our academy is in a deprived area, and for a lot of pupils, school is their safe place. That means as a teacher, I can make a bigger difference than just helping them to improve their grades. My pupils are so entertaining and inquisitive. They’re just great people to work with.”

The buzz of teaching

“As a teacher, as soon as you’ve finished your training, it’s you, your classroom and your pupils. That’s something that really excites me about the profession. Standing in front of 32 kids and knowing they’re my responsibility – that’s quite a buzz. And as a new teacher, that responsibility comes with a wealth of support.”

So what advice would Rob give to others considering teaching?

“We need really strong teachers in this country. Most people will think about teaching and it may be a bit intimidating to them, but if you’re really considering it, it probably means you’ve already made the decision. It’s a great profession. Every day is different and I feel so lucky to have found a career that I really love.”

Start your career in teaching

Bristnall Hall Academy is part of Academy Transformation Trust. The Trust is one of Ambition’s network of 20 lead partners across England, set to welcome its first cohort of teacher trainees in September 2024.

Ambition’s Teacher Training programme is a one-year or part-time post-graduate programme for people looking to start their career in teaching. If you’re ready to become a teacher, whether it’s your first career or you’re changing from another, contact us today.

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