Addison Brown graduated from Edge Hill University in 2017 after studying a PGCE in Secondary Science (Biology) with qualified teacher status.
The 27-year-old teacher from Stoke-on-Trent spoke to Edge Hill about his influences, motivations and experiences.
Addison, you star in the national Get into Teaching advert, which has been seen by thousands of people just sitting in their living rooms. The campaign aims to get more people into teaching, so what was your inspiration?
My mum is a teacher and has always been enthusiastic about teaching, and I remember when I was a kid, my sports coaches showed that working with children is really fulfilling. It helps that I love my subject and have always enjoyed working with children. I feel I can make a real difference.
How did you get involved with the Get into Teaching campaign?
I saw an advert on social media and expressed my interest in being involved in an email, then this year I got a reply to audition and meet the production team in London. After my audition, I got a call back and before I knew it, I was the main man in the Get into Teaching campaign! It was very much a whirlwind of a month.
You studied for a PGCE at Edge Hill University, graduating in 2017, how do you feel it set you up for becoming a teacher?
Edge Hill was exactly what I needed to become a teacher; it was the right balance of time in a school and university, as well as providing an awareness of the reality behind teaching.
It must feel like such a long time ago now, but how did you feel on the morning of your first placement? And how did that compare to your first day as an actual teacher?
I remember being very nervous on my first day on placement in a school. Despite the fact I’d been teaching swimming and water polo to more than 30 kids, I definitely felt more anxious. I think most people would agree that talking to a room full of very honest teenagers is a daunting task but you just have to find a way to drive on.
We’ve had a glimpse into a typical day in your life at school, but what would you say to people who want to become a teacher?
Like other careers, teaching obviously has its downsides but the positives are amazing. Everyday something will happen that makes you think it is worth it and it is an amazing job.
At school I was a typical boy. I had the ability, and my behaviour was good but unless I was challenged in a lesson (I have always been very competitive) I would just do enough to scrape by. If you can relate to students and connect with them, you can build good relationships and help bring out the best in children.
You teach students all the time but is there anything you learn from them?
I learn from my pupils all the time, and not necessarily about my subject. You learn about kids and their different backgrounds and the ways they approach various challenges in their day-to-day life. And even though I’m only 27, you definitely start feeling old when your students have to explain new trends, words and ways of the world.
Have you ever embarrassed yourself or felt embarrassed in front of your students?
Oh god yeah, loads of times. But it actually helps build relationships with students because they realise that you are actually human. Whether it’s walking into stuff or a slip of the tongue.
Many science-related words can easily sound like something else that the kids will find hilarious, and if you’ve taught a few too many times in a week, your brain can slip up.
What’s the hardest part of the job? And the most rewarding?
The hardest part of the job for me is whether I’ve given enough attention to every member of the class. Not just the really clever ones or the really naughty ones, but the ones who sit and do everything you ask but may not fully understand.
The most rewarding part is the light bulb moment; when things ‘click’ and students get what you’ve been doing, as well as simple thank yous’ and opening doors; acting like polite and mature students.
Finish this sentence: A good teacher…
…works hard for every student and remembers that children have a reason for everything. Behind every act of defiance is a kid who may have real, serious issues outside of school.
School is a place in a child’s whole life, where everyone is honestly wanting the best for them. You’re not always making the scientists, scholars, doctors, engineers of tomorrow, but you are making young adults who can enter the world with resilience and manners.
Edge Hill University has been successfully training teachers for more than 130 years and has been recognised as one of the leading providers of teacher training in the UK, with a Gold ranking in the Teaching Excellence Framework – the Government’s evaluation of excellence in teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.
If, like Addison, you’re interested in a career in teaching, discover the wide range of PGCE degrees Edge Hill has to offer by visiting the Faculty of Education page on the Edge Hill University website.