From Teacher to Trainee Solicitor: A Career Change

25 November, 2019

Prior to starting law school, I was an English teacher in a secondary school as part of the Teach First programme.

Teach First is a two year leadership development programme. The goal of Teach First is to encourage university graduates to work in challenging schools – schools they may not otherwise have chosen to work in.

It is a programme known for throwing its participants in at the deep end.

As soon as you arrive at your allocated school you are given responsibility for your own set of classes, meaning that the education of 150 students is in your hands from the word ‘go’.

Assuming that level of responsibility after only six weeks of training is a daunting prospect. The prospect is made even more daunting when your students refuse to behave!

Every day is a challenge. You are required to learn the names and needs of all the children in your care. You are required to form relationships with students who do not trust you. And you are required to operate in an environment that is chaotic and often stressful.

During the first two months of my training contract, I have often reflected on the differences between this job and my previous one.

One of the reasons I left teaching was because I wanted to experience a different kind of working environment.

And the working environment of Cripps Pemberton Greenish is very different indeed.

Where before I was surrounded at all times by noise and movement, now I’m surrounded by quiet and calm. As a teacher I was on my feet all day long. Now I sit in a comfortable chair.

However, I also left teaching because I wanted to experience a different kind of challenge. And my training contract has certainly provided that as well.

The main difference is that I have been challenged intellectually in a way that I was not in my previous job. For example, I have been required to grasp matters of law that I am not familiar with, learn how the firm’s systems operate, and to apply my learning from law school to the world of work.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect, however, has been to adapt from being someone whose job it was to give instructions, but now is to receive them!

In short, I have been faced with the kind of challenge that I sought when I applied to this firm.

And while I miss certain aspects of teaching, I have not for a second regretted the choice that I made.