Caroline graduated with a BA Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University before going on to complete a PGCE (Early Years) at the University of Birmingham. She currently works as a reception teacher in an independent school.
I began searching and applying for jobs during my PGCE and always tried to visit the schools I was applying to. Before the visit, I would look on their website to find key points I felt were important to discuss. I made sure the school knew I was interested in finding out about their ethos and the principles behind it, and feel this was key in securing my current job. This not only showed the school I was interested, but also ensured I was applying to schools that matched my own views and values.
When I applied for my current role, I matched my personal statement to the school, picking out the skills and qualities I felt they would be most interested in. On securing an interview, I ensured I was fully prepared and had lesson plans ready to give those who would be observing me. I found out from the school what level the children were at and made sure the lesson was fun and challenging, something that gained me praise during my interview.
My degree and PGCE were very relevant, as the school was keen to employ someone with a secure knowledge of the early years.
I get to work at 7.45am and begin by setting out the classroom, ensuring everything is ready for the day and all my resources are to hand. I greet the children and parents as they arrive at 8.30am and I am available if any parent wants to talk to me. Lessons begin at 9am and tend to be literacy based. The morning break is 25 minutes long and I am on duty for this twice a week. After break, we have numeracy lessons until lunchtime. During lunch I spend some time either helping serve in the hall or on duty outside. Afternoons include geography, science or history lessons, followed by phonics and a story. After the children leave at 3.30pm, I tidy the classroom and prepare for the next day. I tend to leave school at 5.30pm, sometimes later, and quite often spend time at home researching ideas or making resources.
The most significant development of my role will be my appointment to Early Years SENCO (special educational needs coordinator) in September. I am currently happy in my role but would one day like to become a head teacher.
What I enjoy most about my job is that every day is different; you never know how the children are going to react to something or what their response will be. It is also extremely rewarding to see the children grasp a new concept and progress over the year.
The most challenging part of the job is the deadlines, whether it is reports, profiles or meetings.
Teaching can be tough but it is also a very rewarding career. If you are considering teaching as a career or are looking for your first teaching job, get some experience volunteering in schools. If you create a good impression and a job comes up, they may remember you. Offer to help the teacher after school. It shows you are willing to go the extra mile and that you are dedicated to the job. All of this will help you build a good reputation, meaning you may have several schools you can call on as references.
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