Now Teach: Encore careers as teachers

So many of us hit a career wall at halftime. Circumstances force change or we actively seek it. Even when chucked out due to retrenchment or evil ageism, many fiftysomethings experience an irresistible urge to do something completely different.

After 32 years churning out much-loved columns mocking the madness of corporate life, Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway took her craving for new and different to the school gates. But not before she met her partner in reinvention, Katie Waldegrave, a former teacher and social entrepreneur with a PhD in creative writing and matching zeal for purposeful disruption.

Lucy and Katie launched Now Teach, a pioneering movement creating a path for people with decades of experience to retrain as teachers. Three years on, I caught up with them to hear how it’s going. We met at Now Teach HQ in Bloomsbury Square, central London.

Notes

  • Babies were involved when Now Teach was born
  • Why the website crashed
  • The process of becoming a Now Teacher

Lucy: “We do screening that weeds out the people who are going to be obviously hopeless and we take the people who we really believe in. But even then, the final decision.. Is made by the schools.”

Katie: “The more they know what kind of resilience is needed – the more they know what the year will look like – the more they’re able to self-select.”

  • Why “brutal and joyous” Lucy and a lot like the early days of a love story?
  • Why is there a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in UK?
  • Olders tend to have more confidence and emotional resilience
  • Teaching is seen as a “completely impossible” profession but offers comparatively secure employment
  • Ever experience ageism at school Lucy?
  • How does what you do now make you feel?

Katie: “We feel proud of what we’ve done. We didn’t expect it would get this far this quick and it all seems quite surprising sometimes…The weeks are so astonishingly full.”

Lucy: “I feel amazement really, pride and amazement…I feel much prouder of the last three years than I do of 30 years as a journalist…It was a privilege to be a journalist at the FT – it was a lovely place to work – but I don’t feel proud of what I did in the way that I do now. This has been much more difficult, much more satisfying.”

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