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Teacher Profile: Siobhan Tyson

Siobhan joined UTC Reading as a Science Teacher in 2014, halfway through the first year of its opening.  Today, she is the Director of Science, and a Professional Tutor, as well as recently becoming a designated ‘Specialist Leader in Education for science and teacher training’ status through the Department of Education.

On her decision to join the UTC back in 2014, Siobhan said: “I joined because it was different and having worked in a variety of other types of schools, I wanted to see what this take on education had to offer. I met with Joanne (UTC Reading Executive Principal) and she gave me an insight into what teaching could be like here and I wanted to be a part of it.”

However, teaching wasn’t something Siobhan had always considered: “After graduating from university with a BSc in Pharmacology and Neuroscience I went to work in the insurance industry – it wasn’t until I sat down with family and friends one summer, reminiscing about school days and our old teachers and how they had such an impact on your life as a student. I think that most of us can remember the teachers or support staff that helped shape us into young adults. It’s funny how one conversation can change your direction in life, two weeks later I was applying for teacher training and now I’ve nearly finished my 8th year of teaching!”

She continues: “It’s great working here because we get to work closely with industry partners, but also that it’s progressive. The school presents opportunities and allows you to put your creative stamp on things. It’s also great that the students are given such brilliant pathways – university doesn’t have to be the only route after here.”

What makes a good teacher? “Firstly, you have to want to be a teacher and go into it for the right reasons. You must adapt quickly, enjoy something different happening every day and go with it, it’s never a dull moment working in education! You also have to have a passion for your subject area, compassion for students, and to work well in a team.”

That said, teaching does bring its challenges and certainly isn’t for everyone: “Changes in curriculum can have a big impact, as well as the challenge of workload and fitting everything in. Also if you’re in a school that doesn’t have that support network around you, that can be very hard. We have a very supportive school here, so you never feel on your own or unsupported, this is down to the amazing staff and students.”

At UTC Reading as part of her Professional Tutor role, Siobhan supports the newly qualified teachers and trainee teachers. This also involves working collaboratively with other schools in the area, the local council, and the University of Reading which is one of UTC Reading’s partners.

In December 2017 Siobhan attained her Master’s in Education and recently has also just become a Facilitator Trainer for STEM learning, in the regional area.

So – what’s next? “I’m very passionate about teacher development, whether that is trainees through to teachers that have been teaching for a few years. I have a few things that I will be working on developing at UTC Reading next academic year.”

If you want any advice about getting into teaching please do not hesitate to contact Siobhan at Siobhan.Tyson@UTCReading.org.uk

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