Wayne Smith 23 Jan 2020

Why did you decide to get into teaching?

For a very long time I always knew I wanted to work with children and young people. This passion started when I achieved a role as a youth leader at 17 years old. I was not academically successful, in fact I gained very low GCSE grades and was always in and out of trouble, but I had a passion for music and performing arts. I was lucky enough to have a friend who offered me a job working in a carpet shop and was there for five years! I started as a drivers mate delivering beds and carpets. After a short while I was promoted to a salesman and trusted with a warehouse store. Still leading a youth group I was inspired and really loved working with youth which made me decide, I really wanted to ‘step into teaching’. I had no idea how or if it was even possible for me due to my qualifications. I decided to apply for A level courses after receiving advice and was accepted onto an Access to Higher Education programme at Selby College. I then went on to study Music at the University of Leeds and then a PGCE with The University of Huddersfield. These were the hardest courses of my life and many times I thought I can’t do this but with determination and grit I managed to pass everything and achieve an outstanding teaching practice grade for the PGCE.

What for you is most rewarding about being a teacher?
The most rewarding part of teaching for me is seeing the success of my students. I absolutely love when I am out and about and hear of ex pupils and how well they are doing! Even the small achievements makes it worthwhile.

What are the most challenging aspects?
Chewing gum is an absolute nightmare!!! Keeping up with paperwork and filling in forms aghhh but its still worth it, its only a small part of the job. At least I’m not lifting carpet and beds anymore.

What do you think are the most important qualities a teacher should have?
1. The ability to connect with students, being strict and horrible to kids wont gain you any rewards, I find making a student smile means they learn so much more, and this creates a more respectful environment.
2. Fun lessons every time! Planning and preparing fun and exciting lessons that adhere to learning goals go a long way to achievement, students will always remember the time they laughed at something and not the time they sat in silence.
3. Empathy, this quality serves its purpose when teaching music! This is because you have to be patient, kind and understanding. Everyone has different learning styles, it’s our job to find which one works best for them.

How does it feel when you receive thanks from your students?
It melts my heart, I feel I deserve no praise, it is the student that succeeded, I was just there.

What specifically does receiving this thank you card mean to you?
This card was from a student that performed in a concert and thanked me for giving them the confidence and opportunity to perform. I was so proud of each and everyone and did not deserve this card as they were the ones that braved the stage and performed. But it means a lot because sometimes the little things we do really do touch lives without us even realising it.

What do you hope pupils will learn from this initiative?
I hope pupils will learn from this initiative that teachers were once pupils too and we are all relatable in some way of another.

Do you have any tips for a young person looking to get into teaching?
This is one of the most amazing jobs I have ever had, if you want to go into teaching, do it. Be prepared for some of the funniest and saddest times of your life! Everyday is like a soap opera not one day is the same, if you struggle with change teaching is probably not for you. If you thrive on change I’ll see you in the classroom 😊