From supermarket trainer to science teacher: A new world for Matthew Peel

Ruth Peterson | June 2, 2020

Health and safety training at a supermarket opened the door to a whole new career for Matthew Peel.

Matthew Peel standing in a classroom

Through working as a training manager at Asda, Matthew discovered a love for teaching others – and now has a classroom of his own after graduating with a first class BA Honours Degree in Primary Education (Science) from Bradford College University Centre.

All about “the lightbulb moments”

Matthew, who is 26 and lives in Wilsden, said: “For me, the best thing about teaching is seeing children respond to what is being taught through what I call the ‘lightbulb moments’, when you see ideas and understanding going off like little lights in their heads.

“In a larger sense, I see myself as a male role model to children as there are a lack of male primary school teachers. I want to be inspirational to those children.”

Falling in love with teaching

At ASDA, it was a completely different style of teaching. Matthew said: “This was a bit like a conveyor belt of training, where people were taught during a rolling four-week process. My partner Briony said to me, ‘why don’t you look into teaching?’ I’ve always enjoyed working with children so that inspired me; I thought if I can teach adults, I’d like to think I can teach children.”

“I did a bit of work experience at a local school to get me onto the course and I fell in love with teaching!”

As part of his degree course at Bradford College, Matthew completed work experience at Keelham Primary School once a week for a year, teaching ages seven to nine.

Learning in the great outdoors

Outdoor learning is an area of particular interest for Matthew. He said, “I’m a country lad at heart, I love sharing my passion for the outdoors with others.  In my opinion, there aren’t enough lessons taught outside the classroom.” 

In the second year of his degree, Matthew studied forest schools, an outdoor teaching model which allows students to visit natural spaces to learn a range of skills. Matthew said, “I enjoyed teaching the children outside the classroom. Some children don’t get to experience the outdoors as much as we’d hope, so I like to get as much learning held outside the classroom as I can, especially science.”

Want to be a teacher? Try volunteering first

Matthew is now enjoying his teaching post in Cullingworth. He said: “For anyone wanting to go into teaching, I would advise you to organise voluntary work experience in a school and make sure they enjoy working with children and teacher life, as both can be a handful! Schools are generally happy to take on volunteers, especially those with an interest in getting into teaching. It’s important to ensure you really get an insight into what it is to be a teacher.”

For the love of science

Tutor in Primary Science Kim Lawler, who taught Matthew at Bradford College, said, “Matthew always gave 100% to all aspects of his course and always made positive, informative and insightful contributions to sessions.”

“Matthew has a real passion for outdoor learning and his activities are always stimulating and enjoyable. He has often gone the extra mile to promote science in a positive light and his enthusiasm is catching. He can make science concepts simple so children can understand them and support their learning. His future pupils will benefit from his deep thinking and caring personality.”

You can find out more about Bradford College’s Teaching and Education Courses on the college’s website.

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