“I wanted to make a difference.”

Image of Jamie Curley
From Medical Support to Teaching

After one boring meeting too many, Jamie Curley decided that it was time to do something that felt more worthwhile. One conversation later, he started down a completely new path. Here's his story.

What work were you doing previously?

I was a territory manager with a medical devices company, providing clinical and business support to surgeons and specialist NHS Staff.

What are you doing now?

I've secured a permanent position as a science teacher in a high school.

Why did you change?

I needed a change and had wanted to teach for some time.

It just felt like the right time and the right thing to do.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

After a particularly tedious team meeting at yet another anonymous hotel.

I felt I was standing still and not doing anything that was worthwhile. I wanted to make a difference.

Are you happy with the change?

Very. I love being a teacher.

Every day is stimulating and varied, and I really feel I'm making a difference to young people's lives. I wish I'd made the change sooner.

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

Honestly, I don't miss my previous job.

Some of the travel and having the company car was nice, but not enough to keep me there.

How did you go about making the shift?

I had an online chat with a advisor from the government's Get Into Teaching programme and signed up on the spot.

A mentor helped me through the application process. Within six weeks of deciding to make the change I'd been accepted onto a teacher training course, and started four weeks later.

What didn’t go well? What wrong turns did you take?

I couldn't find my GCSE certificates and had to sit equivalence exams.

If you're considering this route, make sure you know where all your certificates are!

How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?

As a science trainee I could take the tax-free bursary which made the change easier.

I did do my sums though to make sure I could survive my training and NQT years.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Losing the freedom I had in my previous job, where I chose what I was doing and when.

Being stuck to a timetable and being in one place all day was something I hadn't done for 17 years. But I've got used to it and now prefer it.

What help did you get?  

Lots. Help was available through the application process via the Get Into Teaching website where I was allocated a mentor.

I was also lucky to be accepted onto Transition to Teach (T2T) and have a mentor who's been a huge help in my training year, through job applications and who'll be with me during NQT Year.

What resources would you recommend to others?

Use the Get Into Teaching website resources and help on offer there, and see if Transition to Teach is available for you too.

What do you wish you'd done differently?

I wish I'd made the change earlier, and decided earlier in the year to make the change – it was all a bit rushed getting onto the course and starting.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

If you can, get some observation time in a school to see if the classroom environment is for you.

Talk to experienced teachers and NQTs. Then if you feel it's for you, just do it.

Teaching is a vocation and will not suit everybody.

But if you do enjoy it it will be the best thing you could do, and the most fulfilling thing you can do in your life.

What lessons could you take from Jamie's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected]. and you could win a £25 / $35 voucher in our monthly draw.