Richard Hakier

Change career to teach on a programme built for you

Find out more about our Time to Teach programme, from someone who successfully completed the programme and changed career to teach. 

Time to Teach is our pilot programme designed with career changers in mind. Trainees join their school in April, offering them a chance to find their feet in the classroom before teaching an 80% timetable in September.

Richard chose Time to Teach because he wanted to make a difference and liked the gradual introduction to his school and teaching on the programme. We spoke to him about how he found his first term in the classroom.

I was drawn to teaching because I wanted my next role to be one where I could see the difference that I was making to people’s lives. Teach First’s vision really resonated with me. I believe that no child’s educational success should be limited by their background. I then discovered the Time to Teach programme. I really liked the fact that it offered the supernumerary term where you can gradually build up your teaching hours at a more comfortable pace.

Support and the chance to learn from others

The first term was intense, no doubt about it, but I’ve been supported throughout by a fantastic mentor in school and my supporter from Teach First. You get plenty of opportunity to observe other teacher’s lessons, each time focusing on different things.

One day a week during the first term, we all spent time at university so we could gain practical advice on how to deliver aspects of our chosen subject. It’s great because you can leave university that day and get back into school quickly and put those things into practice.

The small moments that make it worthwhile

Highlights from my supernumerary term were hearing a pupil cheer when he asked if I would be taking him for the rest of the term, and I said yes. And hearing a child who has severe communication difficulties speak to me for the first time. All those things are seemingly small, but they’re the moments that really count when you’re teaching.

I’ve found that everybody in teaching is willing to give you a hand. Everybody’s so generous with what they’re willing to share with you and how they’re willing to talk to you about their experiences and what they’ve learnt. It’s one of the most supportive environments that I’ve ever worked in. It’s also incredibly positive. You can come out of a lesson feeling that you’ve had a shocker, but your mentor will always find positive things to say.

The benefits that career changers can bring to the classroom

One thing that really makes the Time to Teach programme come alive is that you’ve got people coming into the classroom who can bring real and relevant experience to the learning they’re delivering. One of my favourite moments in the classroom last term was helping two groups of Year 9 students prepare for their speaking and listening GCSE exams. I was able to breathe life into that learning for the kids by sharing some of my experience from my career as a broadcast journalist.

By bringing together people from a diverse range of experiences into the classroom, you help pupils to see the connection between what they’re learning and real life. That can really inspire them. By talking to people who have done a job that they might want to do in the future, they’re able to make those links between what they’re learning and how that might play into their future career.


If you’re thinking about changing career, our Time to Teach programme is running again this year in Manchester and South Yorkshire. You can find out more about the programme on our website.

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