"When I got home after my first day of teaching, I couldn’t quite believe I was a ‘real’ teacher"
I always wanted to do teaching but knew I’d like to specialise in primary teaching so used my undergraduate degree in sport science to get onto the PGCE. I then opted to carry on studying at the University and started a master’s degree in education.
Turning from graduate into NQT, I had three placements at schools as well as tapping into support and courses available to trainee teachers at MMU. Thanks to the University’s links with schools around the region, I was able to stay close to home as tutors aim to place soon-to-be teachers with primary and secondary schools close to where they are living.
It’s hard work but worth it. In Droylsden, my first placement, I was recommended by the headteacher there to the headteacher of the job I have now, which is just down the road. Quite a lot of my friends experienced the same thing.
When I got home after my first day of teaching, I couldn’t quite believe I was a ‘real’ teacher – and on my own in a classroom. It was a big moment! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Teaching is so different to almost all other things. You’ve got a classroom of children to look after and teach – I don’t think anybody could fully prepare you for what it’s like.
Life in the classroom as an NQT is extremely hard work and stressful at times, but in the end it’s very rewarding because it is constantly changing and challenging without any time for the monotony that comes with many jobs.
There were lots of opportunities with sideline courses and they are brilliant. They ran a music course for those who were hoping to become music leaders, which I wanted to do – and I’m now the head of music at my primary school.
I believe that in the small world of teaching, it is often who you know rather than what you know. Make each first impression count and remember head teachers talk – don't give them the chance to say something negative.
Take every opportunity as it is given to you. Make the most out of extra training and CPD. Get involved in the wider life at school – knowing children from all areas of the school is what makes walking down the corridors enjoyable. It also helps when you need to tackle poor behaviour. Take some time out during holidays and weekends for yourself – remember, a tired teacher never performs at their best!
More than anybody, my mum has inspired me to be a strong successful person. She raised two children whilst working full time and doing a master’s. If she can do it, so can I.
There is great support while doing a PGCE at Manchester Met – the tutors get people in from different agencies to talk to us, such as if you wanted to sign up to be a supply teacher. They would always help with things like application forms because applying for teaching jobs was new to us all.