NAME: Benjamin Newbury
CURRENT TITLE: Geography teacher outside of Lincoln in England
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Geopolitics of the Arctic Circle and using information and communication technology (ICT) within the classroom
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 3 incredible but hardworking years
EDUCATION: I started by studying Geography and Education (BA Hons) in Lincoln before undertaking my teaching qualification (PGCE) at the University of East Anglia.
What’s your job like?
Being a geography teacher has always been an ambition of mine since I was at school myself. Being a geography teacher isn’t about standing in front of a class and reciting longshore drift; it’s something a lot more than that. My job requires me to create interactive and engaging resources that 30 teenagers are going to be willing to interact with. I am also there to support students’ academic and emotional needs or difficulties.
What’s a typical day like?
I typically teach five geography lessons a day. Every day I teach six different year groups a fantastic range of topics, from the physical features of the Jurassic Coast in England to the reasons and problems behind our rapidly growing population. Most of these lessons require me to prepare resources, mark exercise books, support students and keep parents updated with their child’s performance. Some days it can be heavy going but educating students about our ever-changing world is enough to get me out of bed in the morning.
The most enjoyable aspect about my job is that I have the perfect excuse for learning and updating my knowledge on geography. I love learning about how this planet works and sharing that with young impressionable individuals. A good lesson for me is when students are enjoying their geographical learning and then leaving the classroom with something new. Overall, it is extremely rewarding promoting geography and seeing students succeed and want to take it further outside of the classroom. As I say to students, a landscape can be amazing, but understanding it can be beautiful.
Sometimes with all the efforts in the world, students just don’t like geography (unbelievable, I know). I find this a little defeating, but deep inside, it pushes me to make lessons even more engaging and interesting. In addition, the work load in teaching can be high and time-consuming. I often take work home and have regular expectations to maintain from my superiors. Finally, motivating 15- and 17-year-old students to do well, particularly in important exams, isn’t always easy. I find myself being personally attached to ensuring they reach their full geographical potential.
What’s your advice to students?
Teaching isn’t and shouldn’t be for the faint hearted. The saying, “If you can’t do, teach” is far from the truth. It’s something you have got to really enjoy and fully apply yourself to. If it is, the job is a fantastic opportunity to imprint geographical knowledge on the people of the future, especially in an age when our children are truly global citizens. I would advise people to ask your local school for a visit, work alongside students and speak to the teachers. If you enjoy yourself, search for the wide range of different opinions now available to get into the profession.