Hannah Smith

"The support network of the lecturers who were always available and interested made completing the PGCE so much easier"
About my career

I completed my Law degree at the University in 2003. After university, I became a Paralegal at a solicitor’s, before discovering I did not want to train as a solicitor! Subsequent to this, I worked for the General Medical Council for five years and at a hotel for two years. I then finally took the plunge and applied for the PGCE in 2012, 8 weeks after the birth of my second son!

I fully qualified in 2013 and soon gained a promotion at the end of my NQT year, monitoring the progress of pupils across Key Stages 3 and 4, identifying those who were struggling to make progress and putting in place appropriate intervention. I have now achieved yet another promotion and am now the Head of Modern Foreign Languages!

In my job, teaching consistently good lessons is extremely important to me, as is ensuring pupils make good progress throughout the department. However, the most important factor to me is that pupils leave our school with the skills and manners that will successfully see them through life.

My top tip for students is…

Don’t expect a graduate job to fall on your lap. My first graduate job came from a temporary position I took for 6 weeks. From the very first day, I gave 110% to the job and made it clear I was looking for a long-term career. Through hard work and initiative, I was offered a permanent contract and I remained there for five years.

Patience and resilience are two skills that will help you in the process, and the rest of your life.

Advice for Newly Qualified Teachers from MMU…

Organise your time as effectively as possible, including your free periods, and stick to it. It's great having a chat during your free period, and I recommend forging good relationships with all colleagues, but not at the cost of burning the midnight oil because you've not marked all the books!

The most important thing to know is that good relationships with pupils are the key to everything.  Don’t expect to walk into the classroom and have all the children behave impeccably in your first week. Good behaviour and a willingness of pupils to learn needs to be earned and this can only be done through building relationships.

Teaching is definitely a job where resilience must be the fundamental prerequisite!

I’m inspired by…

Cathy Brady and Gee Macrory were particularly supportive when I experienced a difficult time. Prior to starting the course, I lacked confidence in both my subject knowledge and academic capabilities but both the tutors encouraged me so that I am now progressing quickly in my career and aiming to complete a Masters.

Why I love Manchester Met

The support network of the lecturers who were always available and interested made completing the PGCE so much easier.