Jobs and Careers Autumn 2017 - 157
SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHING
DARREN PATTEN, 52,
IS THE LEARNING MANAGER
FOR MARITIME STUDIES AT CITY
"I came into
industry ﬁve years
ago. I'd been a
boat builder for
30 years, starting
as an apprentice
then moving into
yachts and racing yachts. People
thought my job sounded glamorous,
but in reality the inside of one
shed looks much like another.
"I worked long hours with stints
abroad. The driving force for my
career change came when I decided
I didn't want to work away as
much. I wanted the chance to be a
bit more stable but still be in the
same world. It felt like the right
time to pass on what I'd learned.
EXPERTS WHO TEACH
"When I ﬁrst started teaching,
I completed a 16-week PTLLS
[preparing to teach in the lifelong
learning sector] course one evening
a week, followed by a two-year
diploma in education and training.
"To teach in further education you
must be a 'competent individual' with
your subject matter. Most teachers
in FE don't start as teachers; they are
industry experts who learn to teach.
"Some of my students are with me
for ﬁve years, from 16 to 21. Seeing a
student develop and the achievements
they make is very rewarding. Someone
may not start oﬀ as a brilliant
student, but if they work hard,
apply themselves and go on to be
successful, I gain a real sense of pride.
"When I began teaching, managing
students' behaviour was the biggest
challenge. Students come to us from
school but we expect them to behave
like adults. They don't have to call
me Sir or Mr Patten - they use my
name - but there are boundaries.
I'd been used to managing teams
of men in my previous career, with
standards of behaviour I expected,
so I laid down those same rules
from the start. I run a tight ship!
"I enjoy the fact that no day
is the same. Teaching the same
scheme of work may sound
repetitive but it never is. When
I walk into any lesson I never
know what will happen. We may
start a discussion that leads
to all sorts of other ideas.
REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE
"I'm very keen on project work,
where students get out of the
classroom and learn. In 2015,
Ben Ainslie Racing approached
me to build two support boats for
the America's Cup. Within ﬁve
months, my students had built
two high-quality boats. Some
of the students met Ben, David
Cameron and the Duchess of
Cambridge as part of the project.
I witnessed their pride in that.
They felt acknowledged, like
they were receiving an accolade
for being involved. It was very
I GAIN A REAL
SENSE OF PRIDE
inspiring. Following that project,
I won the Innovative Teacher
of the Year Award at the college
- that was very motivational.
"When I ﬁrst started teaching, I
felt I'd left one very high-pressured
career and walked straight into
another. I have since learned to
manage the demands better and I
do have a good work/life balance.
There are still stressful moments,
but the overriding feeling is one
of knowing you may have made
a diﬀerence in somebody's life."
J O B S & C A R E E R S /// 1 5 7
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