“Love every second of SGS while you’re there because before long, you’ll be leaving and your time at school will be a great memory!”
Hannah Cook, joined the Prep. School in 2006 and left SGS in 2015. She is now a Primary School teacher and absolutely loves her job!
How do you feel SGS helped to shape the person you are today?
SGS gave me the confidence I needed to become a teacher. I always wanted to teach, but I really struggled with standing up and speaking in front of people – a bit of a problem when you want to teach or lead assembly! It sounds silly, but between having to communicate with others to arrange hockey matches and speaking at the front in a Fitzherbert House assemblies, my confidence grew. Don’t get me wrong, I still wouldn’t volunteer for the annual public speaking competition! But SGS created a safe space that allowed me to find my voice.
What was your experience at SGS like?
SGS was a very positive experience for me. I kept my head down throughout my GCSEs; I was shy in class and afraid to speak up. I found my confidence in Sixth Form! Sport was a huge part of my life at SGS. I captained the XI Hockey Team for 3 years, which really benefited me. I still play hockey now, thanks to the teachers at SGS! I made lifelong friends too, that I keep in contact will almost every day.
Were there any teachers who inspired you or made a particular impression on you?
Mr Thomas was an inspiration to me during my time at SGS. After taking English Language and English Literature at A-Level, I spent a lot of time in the G Block classrooms! The way he taught and his enthusiasm for his subject helped me decide exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to be: someone who is firm but fair, genuinely cares about their students and has a genuine love of learning. I will always remember when I told Mr Thomas that I had decided to apply to begin teacher training. After proof-reading (and improving) my personal statement, he attached a video link called ‘What Teachers Make’. It was the most inspirational and thoughtful gesture. I still listen to it today and have shared it in my staff meetings at school. Miss Martin also had a huge impact on me and my journey. Although she only taught me for a year at the Prep., she continued to support me throughout SGS and beyond. I even returned to the Prep. for my first teaching placement. She introduced me to hockey, netball and every other sport imaginable, and demonstrates daily what it takes to be an amazing teacher.
What did you do after SGS?
I went to Edge Hill University to study Primary Education, specialising in English and Special Educational Needs. My favourite part was the teaching placements. After a lot of hard work, sweat and tears, I graduated university with a 2:1 BA Hons and an ‘Outstanding’ classification from placement. I was then appointed to Heath Hayes Academy to teach Year 5. I am now teacher of Year 6, Head of Physical Education, Science subject leader and Residential Visits Coordinator.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The kids I work with give me something to smile about everyday, and they always keep me busy! I did have an amazing week at Kingswood Outdoor Activity Centre with Year 5 and 6. To see the kids having fun in the puddles, reaching the top of a climbing wall (after shaking at the bottom!) and trying activities they never thought they could do was one of the most rewarding moments of my career. A professional highlight was the inspection that we had in the Spring Term of 2020, where I was graded outstanding.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a similar path to you?
For anyone who wants to join the teaching profession, I would say that you should get as much experience in the classroom as possible. Volunteer at the Prep., help out with after school clubs and use the expertise of the teachers around you to learn. Teaching isn’t easy, but it is the most rewarding job in the world. Be confident in your own ability, work hard and ask when you need help. I would encourage anyone who wants to become a teacher to do it! I am always available for advice or a chat.
What are your ambitions for the future?
In the future, I hope to want to continue teaching and climbing up the leadership ladder. I am hoping to take on more responsibilities in school over the next few years, aiming to be KS2 leader. Eventually, I would love to find myself as a deputy headteacher or even headteacher! But for now, I’m more than happy with my two subjects and Year 6!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I am a keen hockey player. I spend most Saturdays playing for Stafford Ladies Hockey Club and train on a Wednesday night. Occasionally I will go to the gym, but not as much as I should! I spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and always try to keep in touch with friends at some point in the week. To be entirely honest, I have a very busy life as a teacher and I spend a lot of my time away from work thinking about planning, making resources and marking. I haven’t quite mastered the work/life balance just yet, but I love what I do, so that’s okay!