An Interview With A Geography Teacher - Dan Cropper

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Would you ever like to go back and continue your studies in Geography?

I did consider doing a masters in something related to Geography after my degree and before my teacher training, but mainly for the sole purpose of making myself more employable. The one issue with a Geography degree, in my humble opinion, is that, because it is so broad and gives you such an array of different skills, you leave not necessarily being tailored for a specific job. When potential employers are looking for experience in a specific field during an interview, that can be a little problematic.

How did your teacher training prepare you for your current job?

Quite simply, without it my first year in the job would have been incredibly difficult. I took the School Direct PGCE route which I felt was right for me because you spend more time in schools learning the trade so-to-speak, rather than in university. It gave me experience in so many aspects of the job that was invaluable when you are left on your own, in your own classroom, with your own classes for the first time in the NQT year.

In your current role as a geography teacher, do you get to take your class on many trips?

We don't do trips with our Key Stage 3 classes (Year 7 to 9) but, after that, there is a trip with each year. We mainly stay domestic but there is a chance to go to Iceland with the Year 11s, which I managed to get on last year and will be going again in October. It is my favourite country, a geographer's dream I always say, so that is very special.

golfoss-iceland

Golfoss, Iceland

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching geography?

Apart from getting to go to Iceland(!!), I would say helping the students to realise that there is a world out there, beyond their little bubbles, is the most rewarding thing. Geography helps us to develop an appreciation and understanding of different people, places, cultures and environments so that we become much more open minded towards them; more empathetic and accepting. The desire to help others reach that point is what made me want to teach Geography in the first place.

Finally, what advice would you give to any student about to start a geography course at university?

Give everything a go before you decide what aspect of the discipline you perhaps want to home in on (don't rule something out because you find it difficult - if you actually work harder at that particular aspect, you may find yourself actually enjoying it). Make sure you go on any trips because they invariably are most memorable parts of the course. Finally, pick a dissertation topic that you have at least an interest in. It is a unique opportunity to put your stamp on the discipline, but also a huge piece of work that you will spend HOURS on, so make sure you choose wisely!

FURTHER READING

Interview with Dominic Duff - Environmental & Earth Sciences Alumni

Studying Geography in the UK

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