Mark studied fine art at Nottingham Trent University before completing Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) and qualifying as an early years teacher
How did you get your job?
I originally started as an unqualified practitioner, and then began looking into various learning opportunities, before coming across early years' teacher. As I previously had a degree, I was able to apply for a one-year postgraduate course to become an EYT.
Early years teaching is typically a female-dominated industry. Why did you decide on this career?
I have always had a passion for being creative and inspiring, I enjoy the wonder and inquisitive nature children display towards the world they live in and forever want to be a part of that. To me being in a female dominated profession doesn't come into it.
What's a typical day like as an early years teacher?
Every day is completely different; a typical day doesn't really exist. However, your day consists of being around friends, talking, exploring, playing and learning how the world works. You have to be very flexible, caring, fun and display a mutual respect towards the children (and adults) around you. What could be more satisfying that being surrounding by fun curious and inquisitive young people?
What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
Watching children grasp a new concept, finding out something new and pushing themselves to do something they may have originally been nervous to do.
What are the challenges?
Time pressures, ensuring you keep a flexible balance between the paperwork, learning stories or whatever your role consists of, against ensuring quality teaching time is spent with the children.
What qualities are important for a career in teaching?
- friendly nature
Is there a lack of males in teaching and if so what more needs to be done to encourage more men into teaching careers?
Yes, and I feel this is because:
- Pre-conceived attitudes towards the profession. It has previously not been taken seriously, it is only recently that the true importance of early years learning is being recognised by governments and society, but there is still a long way to go.
- Pay is a large issue. There’s not a lot of money in it, unless you move up the career ladder and move through to management. However, as soon as these steps are taken there is less time spent with the children.
- Pre-conceived attitudes to men wishing to work with early years children. A lot of stigma is attached to men wanting to be involved.
- I feel to be able to bring more men into childcare there needs to be more targeted teaching towards young people about the profession of early years and how their career can develop as they progress.
What are your career ambitions?
I really want to engage with supporting staff and their professional practice. I have worked in the past with students undertaking their early years teaching and guiding them in their understanding of early years learning. Therefore, working with nurseries and students on driving their practice/nursery forward would be my main driver.
Tell us about an issue facing the teaching/childcare sector today.
Funding. I feel that there is too much importance being placed on early years learning and its impact, however the sector as a whole is not being given the right amount of tools, time and funding in order to deliver quality education and care.
What advice would you give to others thinking about this career?
I would advise them to ensure they are aware of the job role and responsibilities required, as well as looking at nursery's that may offer the opportunity to do volunteer placements to get a feel for the profession.
Find out more
- Learn more about the role of an early years teacher.
- See what the teaching training and education sector has to offer.