“Edge Hill has given me the skills to do well – I consider myself really lucky to be in a second career that I love just as much as my first.”
Retraining as a teacher after more than three decades in the Army could be a shock to the system, but Alan Goodenough says completing a course at Edge Hill University gave him all the preparation he needed.
Alan was in the Infantry for 33 years. He’s been stationed everywhere from Bosnia to Canada, Hong Kong and Cyprus, as well as training Ghurkhas in Nepal and members of the police force in Iraq – a role which earned him national recognition. Most recently he was working in Army recruitment back in Lancashire, approaching the end of his service, and that was when a friend gave him the idea of training to become a teacher.
“I had carried out teaching roles while I was in the Army, including at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, so the idea really appealed,” says Alan. “Edge Hill had a great reputation for teacher training, and that carried a lot of weight for me. In addition, I was able to complete my course part time, as for the first year I was still serving in the Army, so it suited me perfectly.”
He now works for Blackburn College, teaching students who are planning a career in the uniformed public services, such as police, fire brigade or military.
“The actual teaching felt like a small part of what I learned at Edge Hill,” Alan adds. “What was most vital for me was things like safeguarding, and learning how to stretch and challenge your students in the classroom, and how to grade them, and write their reports, plus dealing with the paperwork that’s involved.
“I teach them practical skills, like physical preparation, which is great because I like to keep fit, but also discipline, teamwork and leadership, the legal system and emergency incidents. The aim is to give them the basic skills they need to enable them to get the job they want, but they also become better citizens for it.
“I’ve had all sorts of experiences in the Army but dealing with a bunch of 16 to 19 year-olds can still be intimidating! Dealing with the young people is fun and it keeps you young too. I hope I can be a positive role model to them.”
Alan has kept a strong connection with Edge Hill University, now working with the institution to encourage servicemen and women who are considering going into teaching.
“The course wasn’t easy,” he says, “but if you work hard the rewards are there for you. Edge Hill has given me the skills to do well – I consider myself really lucky to be in a second career that I love just as much as my first.”