In celebration of National Careers Week, we delve deeper into the remarkable journey of Steve Hill MBE, the distinguished Teacher of the Year 2023.


With a career spanning 27 years, Steve’s story is not just about teaching; it’s an inspiring narrative of impact, passion, and the profound influence teachers can have on shaping young minds.

Discovering the Calling



Steve’s journey into education unfolded unexpectedly. Originally aspiring to become an RAF pilot or a police officer, he found himself as a trainee quantity surveyor, feeling unfulfilled and disinterested. Steve’s mother, working in a school, played a pivotal role in redirecting his path. “She planted a seed, and that seed grew. I thought, maybe she has something here,” Steve reflects. 


After two weeks of observation in both secondary and primary schools, a clear revelation emerged. “I loved both, but there’s something very special about primary school for me,” Steve recalls. The allure of having a classroom of 30 children for the whole year ignited a passion that would shape the next decades of his life. 

A Turning Point



Fifteen years into his teaching career, Steve encountered a turning point that transformed not only his teaching approach but also his life trajectory. Realising he felt like a “fraud” preaching about following dreams without actively pursuing his own, Steve embarked on adventurous journeys during school holidays.


Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking through Borneo’s jungles, and running marathons in remote locations such as the Sahara desert, North Pole and the Amazon rainforest! This became his way of practicing what he taught.


“It’s about showing them and hopefully showing the children that, through self-belief, hard work, determination, and never giving up when things get tough, anything’s possible,” Steve emphasises.




These journeys not only provided personal growth but also became a powerful tool for inspiring his students. From climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to running marathons in the Amazon jungle, Steve brought the spirit of exploration into the classroom. “It’s just brought a new exciting dimension to my teaching, to the classroom, and hopefully inspired the children to go on to follow their dreams,” he shares.


Steve’s expeditions serve as tangible examples of determination, resilience, and pushing boundaries. The experiences resonate with students, encouraging them to dream big and believe in their abilities. “I bring the equipment in, try the equipment on, try the food I’m going to be taking. It’s just brought a new exciting dimension to my teaching,” Steve affirms.

Guiding Career Paths



National Careers Week underscores the significance of helping students explore their future paths. Steve champions early conversations about careers, inviting professionals to the classroom, and organizing workplace visits.


“Young age is the right age,” he asserts, believing that exposing children to various professions broadens their horizons.


These conversations not only benefit students but also inspire teachers to remain open to new opportunities and challenges throughout their careers.


Navigating Tough Times



Reflecting on the challenges of teaching, Steve acknowledges that it’s demanding but underscores the importance of entering the profession for the right reasons. He recounts the initial struggle of transitioning from a class teacher to a deputy head, managing increased responsibilities.


“It’s a tough job, but it’s not getting any easier. It’s a demanding career, and you need to be in it for the right reasons,” Steve reflects.


However, embracing the challenges and staying true to his passion for teaching kept him going.

Words of Wisdom for New Teachers


To new teachers embarking on their journey, Steve advises them to remember why they entered the profession – for the children. Stressing the importance of developing positive relationships from day one, setting expectations, and enjoying the journey, he reminds teachers that the impact they have is immeasurable. “Remind yourselves why you got into the profession. It’s still the greatest privilege in the world,” he encourages.



Essential Qualities for Success


Steve identifies genuineness, organisation, and the ability to simplify complex concepts as key qualities for successful teaching. Being genuinely invested in the students, maintaining organisation, and breaking down lessons into manageable chunks contribute to effective teaching. “Being organised is really important. Be yourself, give of yourself within your classes,” Steve advises.

Impactful Mentorship



Having experienced the significance of mentorship early in his career, Steve now pays it forward as a mentor to Early Career Teachers (ECT).


Stressing the importance of being there for colleagues, sharing resources, and observing each other’s teaching, he emphasises the role of mentorship in creating a supportive teaching community.


“I like to think I’ve been successful in my teaching career because of the mentorship I received,” Steve acknowledges.

The Best Part of Being a Teacher



For Steve, the ultimate joy lies in the children. The daily smiles, high fives at the door, and being part of their lives make every challenge worthwhile. “It’s the greatest privilege in the world,” he says. As he looks back on his career, the excitement remains undiminished, driven by a passion for teaching and an unwavering commitment to the well-being and growth of each student.


In celebrating National Careers Week, Steve Hill’s journey serves as an inspiring reminder of the profound impact teachers can have on shaping futures and instilling a love for learning that lasts a lifetime. From unexpected beginnings to transformative expeditions, his story captures the essence of teaching as a noble and dynamic profession.


As we reflect on his words and experiences, let us continue to champion the importance of education and mentorship, ensuring that every child’s journey is filled with inspiration, discovery, and limitless possibilities.