Case Studies

Mike Symes, Assistant Head of Science, St Aidan’s C of E High School

Mike is the Assistant Head of Science (Chemistry) at St Aidan’s C of E High School. He trained to be a teacher at York University and has been teaching for 7 years now.

"Seeing tangible results, moments of realisation on the face of a student who has not yet realised their potential is an incomparably satisfying."

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

"From day one having the opportunity to close the door and be responsible for my own work and the development of youngsters was very important. Seeing tangible results, moments of realisation on the face of a student who has not yet realised their potential is an incomparably satisfying. I have reached a stage now in my career at which students are now coming back to visit the school, or I may simply bump into them, and they share what progress they have made and the careers they are entering. It is always exciting hearing what they are up to and knowing I have played my part in getting them there."

What do you like most about the school you teach in?

"St Aidan’s C of E High School is a wonderful place to work. As a non-selective school the profile of a student varies so much, which makes it both rewarding and challenging helping a range of students to progress. The school has a caring, supportive, positive environment that makes working here a pleasure. Having the opportunity to teach through all Key Stages is important. Our associated sixth form is very large, meaning as a Chemistry teacher I get to teach a number of A level groups. As well as this I have consistently had the opportunity to progress with my career, taking on a number of teaching and learning responsibilities as well as external professional roles beyond my classroom teaching job."

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about training to be a teacher?

"Make sure you are entering the profession for the right reasons. Go into some schools, speak to teachers. Some people view teaching as a steady job with a good wage and solid pension. These points are true, but unless you are a resilient person who can deal with emotional stresses well, it could be an option that needs further consideration. Go down the correct route. Consider different training providers and check that they deliver the course in a way that will work for you. "

What do you like about North Yorkshire?

"The people! The majority of people I come across are in the profession for the right reasons. The people within North Yorkshire are genuine and straight talking; avoiding rhetoric that can make working with people difficult. "