Teaching after KBS: ‘Business is Really Relatable to School Students’

Andy Loweth graduated from Kent Business School in 2019. He used his university education to kickstart a career as a secondary school teacher in Business Studies. He now teaches at The Thomas Aveling School in Rochester. Here, as part of our Working Day alumni focus, he talks us through a typical 24-hour stint as a teacher…

I get to school for 7am…

Before registration at 8.40am I will finalise lesson plans and complete any preparation for the day ahead that I need to do. I teach Business Studies but also some lessons known as PSHE for the lower years of school, so there are lots of things I need to turn my attention to.

Throughout the day I…

Teach as many as five lessons. Our GCSE Business Studies course begins in Year 9 and goes all the way to BTEC at 6th Form, so the level of teaching varies greatly. At Year 9 we try to capture pupil’s interest with exciting projects. Currently, they are working on The Breakfast Cereal Project, the children go through the design and advertising of an imaginary breakfast cereal, setting pricing strategy and carrying out market research and branding.

As we move further into GCSE we focus on both small businesses and the economy and bigger picture. We study the full gambit: Marketing and the economy, the Marketing Mix, pricing and strategy, recruitment, and HR. They learn about operations, production, and a little bit of Business Accounting. Once in the 6th form we offer BTEC Business Studies which covers many of these areas again but in much greater detail. For example, one of the units involves correcting and writing up company accounts.

A picture of the Thomas Aveling School building
The Thomas Aveling School in Medway

Business is really relatable for school aged students …

From researching the Spiderman franchise to looking into why an Apple phone is more expensive than Samsung, the beauty of Business Studies is tapping into the things kids know and love and how this relates to their topic.

Obviously, there are topics which could be less exciting to young minds and these are the ones you have to spend time thinking about how to teach them in an engaging way – things like interest rate rises, gross-profit margin, the break-even point and cashflow for example. My fail-safe method is to use an acronym for those ‘boring’ facts they all need to recall. ‘Spiced’ which stands for ‘Strong Pound, Imports Cheaper, Exports Dearer’ is one we are using a lot at the moment.

I teach through storytelling…

I try to bring back examples from running my motorcycle business and of good managers I’d had, difficult financial times and things like that. My life experience really helps me here. With business teaching it is really useful to have a background in what you teach, which is what I definitely loved about my own learning at Kent Business School and all the lecturers who inspired me.

I was incredibly proud to be promoted to Director of Learning this year..

This means I am responsible for academic attainment, attendance, and behaviour for a quarter of the school. On top of my timetable, much of my role is reactive, although I try to be as proactive as possible where I can. I might be dealing with an upset student, holding a meeting with a parent, liaising with staff on a specific student’s issues and mentoring students on any one given day!

The position draws on my life skills as a teacher and parent, as well as my experience of dealing with bereavement and adversity and I really get huge satisfaction from it.It’s a demanding position, which means that I often work through much of my lunch, but I try to take some time to recalibrate by watching a bit of BBC news and enjoying my packed lunch and flask of coffee.

Andy graduated from KBS in 2019

School might finish for the children at 3.10pm but not for us teachers…

There might be lesson planning, meetings, detentions, after school clubs and parents’ evenings.  I helped run an enterprise club and a small group intervention as part of a ‘Covid catch up’ scheme plus regular revisions sessions, weekly.

I head home around 5pm and have a healthy dinner…

My wife is French but grew up in Jerusalem, so we love unusual dishes with lots of flavour. Her speciality is a fish curry, and she home makes things like hummus and middle eastern salads. I do cook sometimes, but she prefers to hold the fort in the kitchen, which is fantastic for me as she’s a great cook.

My son and daughter keep me grounded…

They’re teenagers, so the evenings are often spent ferrying them about to sports clubs or helping out with homework, though my son and I play video games together, too. My kids are my teenage jargon buster to help me out with some of the phrases the pupils come out with that go over my head. They also remind me daily that I am certainly ‘not cool’ and that no school kids will ever think I am!

I also have another job…

I work occasionally as an instructor for a company who do 4×4 off road driving for children and adults, which is a very good antidote to teaching as it’s practical and high adrenaline.

The beauty of teaching is how varied it is..

I love the pattern of teaching. Every hour it changes as you have a different class. Every six or seven weeks there is time off. I think I have a great work life balance, despite the marking and prepping and extra responsibility. It’s a job I would recommend to anyone.

When you graduate from Kent Business School you become part of our globally connected alumni community of more than 23,000 graduates from 87 countries. 

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