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Geography careers: Education and research

Geography careers: Education and research
23 Sep
Hear from three geography graduates who went on to pursue research and/or teaching

Degrees in geography can provide you with employment options across a broad array of sectors. One option open to geography graduates is to remain in academia and pursue individual research at a higher level. Another popular avenue involves becoming a teacher and passing geographical knowledge on to the next generation. Of course, the two can go hand in hand, as researchers and academics at universities are often involved in teaching undergraduates. 

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Shajiyah Begum, Geography Teacher

Academy in South London

Degree: Geography, Queen Mary University of London

After completing a PGCE at the Institute of Education, I obtained my current job as a geography teacher at an Academy in South London. Now a newly qualified teacher, I teach geography to Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils. Day to day I contribute to the planning of lessons and resources in the department, which are shared amongst the Humanities team, and set assessments, monitor pupil progress and record data on the system according to the Academy guidelines.

I chose geography because it allows you to gain a better understanding of the world we live in, and how human and physical interactions shape our landscape. I personally believe studying geography will make you a well-rounded person, as the subject contains aspects of different subjects such as science and history. 

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Dr Damien Mansell, Senior Lecturer in Geography and GIS

University of Exeter

Degree: BSc Geography, University of Sheffield

As a glaciologist, I have field experience in Greenland, Svalbard and Iceland and am passionate about teaching and the use of GIS to understand spatial data, patterns and trends. Much of my work involves teaching students GIS skills to understand spatial data such as GPS recordings, satellite images, maps or drone photography. One of the resources that I am currently designing is an immersive environment computer game-style virtual fieldtrip tool, which allows educators and learners to explore virtual environments. 

Everything must happen somewhere and in geography we can better understand this by exploring the interactions of what is happening in both space and place.

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Sarah Bonar, Geography Teacher and International Rugby Player

Degree: Geography, Loughborough University

I enjoy working with young people so that was my biggest drive to get into teaching, but I also really enjoy geography – as cheesy as that sounds! After graduation, I worked for a sports charity and trust, it was a good experience but it wasn’t as hands on with young people as I wanted it to be. That was when I realised that teaching would be a good career to go into. During rugby season my day-to-day usually involves a weight session in the morning before getting into work around 7.30am. I then prepare and teach my lessons for the day, and then I’ll do some marking and lesson planning. After work I’ll head to training in the evening, then depending on how busy it is, I will do a little marking before bed – so it’s a pretty full-on schedule. But when I’m out of season it’s not that bad!

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