Meet our Cohort 2019-20


Isabelle Claoue De Gohr: English Teacher - Harris Academy Purley

Cohort 2019-20

To be a teacher, you kind of need a passion for it. Like doctors and lawyers, you can’t really fall into it. But for me, it was a little bit of both. Trust me: it’s far more interesting, and miles more restful than being a daydreaming intern at the Ministry of Justice or working Tesco’s 3-7am graveyard shift! But at the same time, I had everyone – friends, family, distant acquaintances – around me talking the same line: you’d be great as a teacher. And so I sort of fell into it, hop-scotching from temp job to temp job as a teaching assistant, before landing into a permanent TA job at Harris Aspire – now part of Harris Professional Skills Sixth Form.

The Harris Federation is excellent, even purely from an academic perspective. I’ve been working for them for nearly two and a half years, now – in both primary and secondary schools – and their philosophy is pretty simple: OK is never good enough. You don’t get to beat the national averages by just twiddling your thumbs.

That is part of the reason why I wanted to train with Harris. If you see someone doing well in life, you want to know what their secret is, right? But having seen them work from the inside, I see the ‘hidden’ stuff that people might not necessarily see.

I honestly don’t think I could’ve stumbled my way through the last half-term without a cracking good team around me. Everyone checks in every so often, to make sure I’m alright.

My mentor has, to date, been so calm and reassuring. My Head of Department always arranges for me to observe other experienced teachers, and the Pastoral Director of Learning can often be found in the little office right next to my classroom.

There’s this poet that I absolutely adore, called Taylor Mali. He’s an American, and a former teacher, and the ‘rest’ of my reasons for becoming a teacher came from him. His best-known poem (which he speaks on YouTube with a passion I GENUINELY wish I had just in general life) is called What Teachers Make, and the last lines are just so powerful:

I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow

And if someone ever tries to judge you
Based on what you make, you give them

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?