Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to Biology Teacher I TCIM Careers
Name: Rahma Sesay (she/her)
Job: Biology/Science Secondary teacher
A level: Biology, Chemistry, Religious Studies and Welsh Baccalaureate
Graduate degrees: Biochemistry BSc, Cancer Cell and Molecular Biology MSc, Education MA
Journey in 3 words: Unsure, Confident, Risk
Favourite scientific fact: All humans contain the same number of chromosomes however we have so much variation as a species genetically and physically different.
Briefly describe your current role: I am a biology teacher at a private secondary school. I teach biology to students year 7 all the way to year 13. I love the fact the biology is so relatable and it stimulates a range of questions from students
Favourite thing about science: I love that science answers questions (to a certain extent). As a child I was very inquisitive and very practical in my approach of things. Science made sense to me, it presented me with answers to my questions and it provided the proof to back it up. What I also love is that what you have learnt previously in the past, can also be disproved by research. So then you adapt, and re-learn the new found information.
How has the arts inspired how you teach science? Arts inspires how I teach science so much! science is actually a very visual subject. A lot of the models that are used in science are a scientist's visual interpretation of the research presented especially at a molecular level. I use art as a way to help my students to remember and understand key biological processes and key terms.
What did you enjoy the most about your masters course: My own personal growth and my level of understanding. I will be honest, when I did my Biochemistry (BSc) degree, most of the time I felt like I was doing the work but not truly understanding the topics of the modules. It was not until my 3rd year when I did my dissertation( the effect of treatment of breast cancer between pre- menopausal and post-menopausal women.) things started to click and make sense. So when I did my MSc in cancer Cell and Molecular Biology I felt more confident going into the course because I really understood the science behind it.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow the same path? Do not be afraid to ask for help and be vocal if you do not understand. Once we get to university there is this expectation that we will understand things straight away. However, that is not the case. One of my biggest regrets was I suffered in silence during my first degree. While I got a good grade in the end. It could have been better if I seeked help earlier. Also teaching is an amazing profession you get to inspire the next generation to have that same love for science that you once had as a student, so do not discredit it as a career option after a science degree.
You have three degrees, what advice would you give on choosing a university and the right course for yourself? Research the university, look at the feedback they have received with regards to the course you want to take. If you know what you want to do after university, see if that university has links to help you with your future plans.
In every journey, there are highs and lows, what are some of the lows you’ve experienced and how has this shaped your path now? As mentioned earlier, during my first degree I struggled with part of the course, and it affected my confidence especially when those around me seemed to be thriving. For a while I did not enjoy the course as I felt like I did not get it. To put this into context. I was a high achieving student in secondary school. I was used to getting things the first time and working independently until I understood it. This phase of my life taught me to be patient, to be vocal when I do not understand something and then that everyone learns differently and at a different pace so do not compare yourself to everyone.
You run an amazing platform called sesaysaysso! What inspired this and what do hope to achieve with this? I wanted to make biology accessible for my students and for parents who may want to help their children, but do not have a biology background. The podcast can be listened to at anytime and each episode only lasts about 10-12minutes. When I teach I draw a lot and always have ideas in my head of ways to help students remember things. So instagram allows me to promote my biology visual images to help students remember key biology facts.
Outside of science how would you describe yourself? I describe myself as an Introverted extrovert. At first I am shy and reserved but when you know me I am quite weird and outgoing. I am into traveling, drawing, photography and cycling to name a few.
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