ECT lands her dream job





Growing up she dreamed about being a singer or actress but deep down, Jen Chamberlain always knew she was going to become a teacher. Before embarking on this career journey, she decided to explore other avenues and gain lots of life experience to help shape her as a person and, eventually, as a teacher. Jen describes her own education as excellent, having gone to a girl’s grammar school on the Wirral, she secured great GCSE and A-level results and was able to pursue extra-curricular opportunities in drama and singing. She later secured a 2:1 in English literature and drama at the University of Manchester. Jen said: “I would spend my summers working at an international language school in Switzerland. I got to teach students from all over the world – it was an incredible experience. This is really where my love for being in the classroom was ignited.” In her 20s, Jen worked in a number of roles including PR and journalism, youth work and arts education. She gained valuable knowledge and experience during this time and eventually set up her own theatre in education company. She explained: “I loved this work and I got to witness the impact that informal arts education can have on a young person. “Deep down I know I was born to be a teacher. I have always enjoyed being a leader and this lends itself well to commanding a classroom. I firmly believe that gaining that experience and knowledge in my 20s has made me a better Early Career Teacher (ECT) as a result.” Jen explored the different pathways into becoming a teacher and it was at a Get into Teaching event that she met Jane Kennedy, now director of Inspire Learning NW Teaching School Hub. “Jane was so helpful and talked in great detail about the School Direct programme and it was because of this that I applied for a place. I was pleased that this was based at St John Bosco Arts College, as I had worked with the school in the past on previous projects. I really value its Salesian approach, so I was delighted to be given a place on their course.” The School Direct programme meant that Jen was fully immersed in the school community from the get-go. This was hugely important for her as she didn’t want to go back to university full-time and do her PGCE the traditional way. For Jen, she can’t recommend School Direct and the full induction programme for ECT pathway enough, but what advice would she give to someone thinking about exploring this option? She said: “Do it! Whilst an academic underpinning is important in developing your pedagogy, teaching is about people. Getting into the classroom with students as early as possible, and for as many hours as possible, is, in my opinion, the very best way to learn how to teach.” If you would like to find out more about either School Direct or the Early Career Framework programme, contact the Inspire Learning Teaching School Hub on 0151 677 6262 (option 1) or email: