Alumni Services

Career Journey: working as a Biology Teacher

After studying Evolutionary Biology, Laura Chandler now works as a Biology Teacher. Here she shares how her studies have impacted her work as well has her tips for those interested in working in teaching.

Name Laura Chandler
Degree Course BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Evolutionary Biology)
Year of Graduation 2014

What is your current role and what does your work involve?

I am currently a full time Biology Teacher at a school in Stockport, Greater Manchester. I teach from ages 11-18 in both Biology and, sometimes, Physics. I am also an extension co-ordinator for our department which involves running trips and co-ordinating extension materials for all ages. This is where my Biology degree comes most in handy as we talk about current discoveries in Biology and start looking at what is going on in academia. I am also one of two School Council staff co-ordinators which involves managing and organising meetings for nearly 100 pupils and 6 members of staff.

What experience do you feel helped you get to your current position?

I volunteered with LEAPS Midlothian when I was at the University of Edinburgh and I do think that helped me understand how to speak to young people as they encourage and advise students who are traditionally under-represented in higher education. The breadth of my degree has also helped me cope with much of the content taught in the A-Level syllabus as I have a broad understanding of most of the material at a higher level than high school. Given how specialised some other degree programmes can be, I feel I have been greatly helped by what I chose to study at the University.

How have you used the skills and/or knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

Being able to time manage a number of different deadlines, courses and expectations has really helped me juggle the different aspects of my job now. I’m also in a very good position when it comes to talking about revision and how to approach exams best. The style of examination programme that the School of Biological Sciences has really helped me develop lots of techniques that paid off and I’m in the best position now to pass that on.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in your area of work?

Don’t give up when it comes to applications! Trying to get a university place for my PGCE was tough but I persevered. Make sure you want to be a teacher and try to get as much experience as you can in schools if you have spare time during your degree. It will get your foot in the door (but nothing can prepare you for running a classroom alone…)