Linda May – Thompson Primary School 10 Feb 2020

Why did you decide to get into teaching?

I have always wanted to work with young children. At 16 I was not in a position to take years of further education so trained and worked as a secretary. As years passed and I had my own family that desire never left so I worked my way up from TA to studying for a degree with Open University, eventually becoming an Early Years teacher whilst working at our local primary school. I have been employed there ever since and absolutely love my job.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a teacher?   
Those wow moments when learning just ‘clicks’ and a child can do something or understand a concept for the 1st time.

What are the most challenging?                                         1. Parents/carers – If they do not value or respect you in a positive way this will reflect of the student’s views and behaviour in class. It is so worth the energy and time to get to know your parents and develop a trusting, working relationship.
2. Endless recording and paperwork! I absolutely agree there is a need for standards and tracking pupils but it needs to be minimized and manageable. It must not take away from quality time spent with the children or direct you to tick sheets rather than teaching to fulfil target data.

What do you think the most important qualities a teacher should have?
A non-judgemental open mind, and an open heart.  Every student is different but search for that special something in each and every one of them and celebrate their unique attributes as a class. This will develop an inclusive culture where children are respected and accepted collectively.

How does it feel to receive thanks from your students?
It’s so lovely to receive thanks and appreciation for something that potentially parents and students alike see as a compulsory service offered to all. The best present by far are those scrunched up pictures from a child’s pocket that they had done the previous evening at home.

What specifically does receiving this thankyou card mean to you?
It means that absolute world that someone has actually thought of the benefits and rewards they themselves receive because of my input as a teacher. It is compulsory for children to receive an education and so many view this as a chore or just something they have no choice in rather than viewing it as a learning journey to inspire and better their own futures.

What do you hope pupils will learn from this initiative?
The ‘What’s In It For Me’ factor, viewing teaching and learning as a joint process to enrich and change their educational journey. Having respect and giving thanks to educators is a massive boost for the teaching profession, which will create a better learning environment for students and teachers alike.

Do you have any tips for a young person looking to get into teaching?
Keep an open mind and an open heart. Every year is very different from the previous one as students and families change. Give every single child the same value, expertise and time to ensure they can feel of equal values regardless of cultural and academic differences. Don’t get bogged down with paperwork.