Financial high-flyer steps out of early retirement to take up new career as secondary school maths teacher
A former hedge fund manager has stepped out of early retirement to take up a new career in teaching.
Dean Fletcher, 53 is now in the final stages of his initial teacher training year at Leeds Beckett University that will prepare him for his new career as a secondary school maths teacher.
The teacher training year is Mr Fletcher's second time as a student in the city, after first attending The University of Leeds in the 1980s.
He undertook a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course to prepare him for the teacher training year and said it was a chance conversation with a friend that encouraged him to think about teaching:
He said: “I retired from trading when I was 40, which is relatively common for the profession because of the intensity. I was working in London and New York, starting at the crack of dawn and not getting home until 10pm. That’s not something you can sustain forever, particularly if you have a family. I met my wife, who is Spanish, at The University of Leeds when I was a student the first time round. After I retired, we moved to Spain and my wife trained as a teacher whilst I became a full time dad.
“My best friend left her job in corporate entertainment to become a maths teacher at 41 and she said to me ‘you’ve got to look into teaching’. There is no way I would have considered teaching otherwise, it just wasn’t on my radar at all but she was so positive about the experience, I knew it was something I had to look into."
ONS statistics for February 2021 report that over half a million fewer people were in employment in the last three months of 2020, whilst the employment rate for people aged 50-64 has decreased to 71.7 per cent.
He said he is looking forward to what careers can be made possible through maths education, such as the job he used to do before, and that it is vital to attract older people to teaching because of the skills and life experience they bring with them.
Mr Fletcher added: "I hope my experience will help me to inspire young people and show them the type of career they can achieve with maths. Students’ eyes light up when they learn I used to work in the city, it’s the type of job that many young people will aspire to. Realistically, I’ll be teaching for around 12 years before I retire once more and my goal is to help my students to see the opportunities in maths.
“Transferable skills like dealing with people, public speaking and the ability to make people feel comfortable that comes with age will be key. I have no fear of classroom management after all those years managing the trading floor. Young people are often frightened of looking stupid or saying the wrong thing but I know from my career that someone has to start the conversation, and that means interacting, maybe getting things wrong sometimes and learning from that. It will be my job as a teacher to break down the barriers to speaking and being actively involved in the lesson.
“I think it’s vital that we have experienced, older people moving into teaching so that we are able to maintain that level of maturity and life experience in the profession. The skills and experience that I have bring diversity to the classroom, which is vital for students. We need teachers who are also parents, teachers who have had other careers in other industries and teachers who are passionate about the profession and inspiring young people.”
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