“I very much took the scenic route to education.”
Anthony Sheriff isn’t joking. After leaving school in Ireland, he spent a year in Australia before returning to Ireland before then going to college in Liverpool. From there he found his way to different cities in the United Kingdom before spending two years as a teacher in Dubai.
Travelling the world may or may not have been a goal for Anthony that he was always aware of but it definitely would have been a surprise to his younger self that he was travelling as a teacher.
“When I was a teenager absolutely I was sports mad. Right back as far as I can remember as a child, my mam always says that I was kicking a football before I could walk. You’d probably struggle to find a sport that I haven’t played or competed in at one stage.
I was never the academic type. I was never the type to be massively interested in school apart from PE. When I was in school all I wanted to do was to be out playing sport really. It’s not that I hated school, I got the work done that had to be done but I think my mind was just on sport the whole time so I was never massively interested.”
Initially after leaving school, Anthony worked in different jobs. He was a greenkeeper, worked in a bar and in construction. He moved to Australia for a year on a whim when his friend asked him if he wanted to go.
Anthony openly admits that he didn’t know what he wanted to do at that stage of his life.
College didn’t become an option for him until he was 22 years of age after leaving secondary school at 18. It was all that time he spent on building sites in Australia that made him realize what he really wanted to pursue in life.
“I was doing a lot of these labouring jobs and it was a bit of craic and all on the site, it was enjoyable at times but I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. That’s when I started to have a deep think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”
Since PE was the only thing he had any care for during his time in school, Anthony began searching through online courses to see what qualification he could actually earn and what career he could build. That led him to Liverpool John Moores University in England.
Once he started studying in Liverpool, Anthony no longer had to figure out what he wanted to do. His career outlined itself in front of him.
“Liverpool was where the opportunity was…an absolutely excellent college. It’s just a fantastic place. The tutors the way they worked with us so closely because going into it I was worrying you’d be going into a class of 100 people the way you see college on television and there’s these big lecture halls. It’s very impersonal.
But that wasn’t the experience at all. They focus on each individual. They’re just very, very helpful and the course they put on was excellent.”
After finishing his degree at LJMU, Anthony became a qualified PE teacher in England and earned his master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Psychology. Working in Manchester and studying in Leeds after going to college in Liverpool, Anthony was able to broaden his connections within the sports industry.
Since then he has worked with top level athletes to help them in sports psychology while also starting his own podcast that features some big names across different sports.
The balance between his two areas of expertise, sports psychology and teaching, have helped Anthony to become a very approachable tutor who encourages discussions in lectures to maximize the time he has with his students.
“I believe strongly in working together with the students n my class and will always encourage students to share their opinions to help create interesting discussions. I am also a strong believer in reflective practice and believe that this approach will allow me to improve continuously which will then maximize the student’s potential to achieve their goals.”
The broad nature of Anthony’s skill set and the fact that he has worked internationally in different roles at high levels made him an appealing tutor for Portobello Institute.
Our students continually benefit from his ability to connect with the individual and understand their needs.
“I’m used to working with children, teenagers, adults, whatever it may be. But also when I see students coming in and they’re studying PE, I can better understand them because I’ve taken the scenic route.
A lot of people come in straight from school, straight to college and then back into a classroom teaching whereas I very much didn’t do that. I know what it’s like to finish school and not really have a clue about what you want to do.
I’m one of those people who did every job in the world and I found out what I didn’t want to do before I found out what I did want to do. That’s definitely helped me understand students coming from different areas of life.”
BA(Hons) Education Studies and Physical Education
PGCE Primary Education with PE Specialism
MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology