James Marsden

Cropped version of James Marsden's photoDegree: MChem Chemistry

During his second year at Sheffield, James got involved in the University’s Schools Associate Scheme, which gave him two weeks’ teaching experience in a local school. After graduating, James went on to teach at Bourne Grammar School, where he is now the Head of Chemistry.

“Being from Sheffield, I knew of the university’s excellent reputation and the Department of Chemistry was the best of many that I visited before choosing my course. I thoroughly enjoyed studying in the department and have wonderful memories of my time there.

“During my second year, I was involved in the University’s Schools Associate Scheme, giving two weeks’ teaching experience in a local school. The amazing Dr Julie Hyde and Dr Ed Warminski led the Schools’ Lab programme in my third year, where we designed and delivered experiments for use in teaching secondary Chemistry. I am still in touch with Dr Hyde through the RSC’s Secondary and Further Education group (SaFE) and it was her course and passion for education that convinced me that teaching was the career I wanted to follow.

“For my masters project, I worked under Dr Mark Winter on producing educational videos for teaching undergraduate practical techniques and the department were very good in helping me to have a teaching focus for my final year.

“Having a strong degree from a respected university and the chance to develop teaching experience throughout allowed me to get onto my first-choice PGCE course, and having a masters qualification was definitely a bonus in applying to an academically selective school and continues to give me an edge when looking for career progression.

“I’m now the Head of Chemistry at Bourne Grammar School (in Lincolnshire) and I use my degree experience every day. Teaching A-Level allows me to stretch and challenge students to better prepare them for their own degree courses. The connections and friends made on the course help me to keep up with the latest developments and to pass on exciting and interesting stories to my students. I also have a rich vein of anecdotes and personal experiences which keep my students engaged and interested.

“If I were back in year 13 filling out my UCAS application, I would do it all over again without hesitation. The fantastic teaching in the department and their desire to help me to achieve my goals has been a huge part of getting to where I am today and puts me in a strong position for the future.”