THE Bradford Meet the Teacher series is returning with a fresh batch of teachers who are all passionate about improving the lives of young people in the Bradford district.

This series the teachers come from schools in the Dixons Academies Trust, one of the district’s most successful academy chains which runs nine schools in the district and is due to open a Sixth Form Academy in September.

Each week teachers will share stories of how they were inspired to get into teaching, what makes a good teacher, and what life is like for a teacher in and out of the classroom.

Shameem Azam is a raising standards leader in English at Dixons Cottingley Academy in Bingley.

Hi Shameem, what made you decide to be a teacher?

“I came into teaching because education changed my life and I understand the opportunities it can provide the young people we serve – I was one of them.

“From a very young age I had great role models in schools who instilled the confidence in me to be the very best person I could.

“As well as understanding the need to support young people academically, I passionately believe that teaching is about developing young people into mature adults.”

What is your proudest achievement since you have been teaching?

“It has to be that moment when a young person realises that they can be successful.

“It thrills me every time I witness a young person’s confidence grow.”

What is the most challenging aspect to teaching?

“The unpredictable nature of the job is the most challenging aspect by far, yet it is what makes the profession so rewarding.

“Every day, no matter how planned and prepared you are, you never quite know what the day will bring.

“I can only describe it as a non-stop, uphill treadmill – one that keeps me on my toes.”

Who was your favourite teacher and why when you were at school?

“Mrs. Deegan at middle school, because she always had a smile on her face and something positive to share with everybody.

“It’s obvious to me now that she loved her job and her enthusiasm was infectious. She encouraged me to have a ‘can do’ attitude-one that has shaped me as a teacher today.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into teaching?

“If you know you want to teach, then teach.

“If you feel you can make a difference to a young person’s life through education - both pastoral and academic - then you need to get yourself into a school and experience it for yourself. Honestly, there’s no job like it.”

What do you do for fun in the school holidays?

“I love to read, catch up with friends and spend quality time with my family, basically with life.

“Teaching is such a full time job, that we need the time to recuperate during the holidays.”

Tell us about the funniest thing that has happened to you as a teacher?

“Well, my catchphrase when dealing with ‘lively’ pupils was always ‘Don’t make me call your parents’, in a bid to get the pupil to understand that a teacher’s actions are determined by pupil behaviour, and that they are in control.

“That was until one of my most ‘lively’ pupils gave me a mug with the message engraved on it as a leaving present!”

What qualities do you look for in a good teacher?

“A great teacher is someone who is passionate about making a difference to young people’s lives, and is relentless in achieving this goal.

“Young people are so full of life that every day brings new challenges-a teacher has to love teaching enough to live for those moments of reward.”

A number of courses are available to help prospective teachers train and find work, and for more information search Get Into Teaching online.