I got into teaching originally because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was half way through a degree in business, and realised I didn’t want to work in an office. I had a burning desire to make a difference in the world, and a random conversation with an old teacher of mine made me look into teaching as an option. I pursued it and here I am nearly 18 years later, still loving my job every single day. I was fortunate enough to win the regional Teaching Award as a relatively new teacher back in 2005, and am still teaching at the same school now (which is the school I attended as a pupil!). My old teachers have come and gone, and colleagues have moved on around me. But I love the place… and can’t wait for my son to attend in 2 years time. I’ve seen the school go from one of the best in the city, into special measures in my time, and it has been a challenging place to work the last few years – but now we’re out of special measures, have wonderful leadership with a new headteacher and it has renewed my love and passion for the job.
What for you is most rewarding about being a teacher?
Making a difference, every single day.
What are the most challenging aspects?
Not giving up… there are days when it’s a hard job and feels so defeating… but I’ve become the most resilient person because of it.
What do you think are the most important qualities a teacher should have?
Empathy, listening skills, passion, belief, ambition.
How does it feel when you receive thanks from your students?
As we move forward into a society where teaching is even more so a ‘thankless job’, the little things have the biggest impact. The card I received fuels my unending desire to be the best and ensure the students become the best they can be.
What specifically does receiving this thank you card mean to you?
The two boys that sent me the card have been through a turbulent time at school. Each are not the type to even say thank you, or show appreciation. But clearly, taking the time to send this means a great deal to me. I’ve printed their comments and stuck them in the card which is proudly on display in my office. I get quite emotional when the effort put in to keep kids on track pays off.
What do you hope pupils will learn from this initiative?
Being grateful for the things teachers do is often something one doesn’t think about until later in life. First day of a new job, an apprenticeship, or whatever it is. Taking just a minute to thank someone means they will see the impact on their lives and for these two students in particular, they can already see the reward of the effort others put in.
Do you have any tips for a young person looking to get into teaching?
If the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is making a difference, then you’re a teacher.