Name: Emma

Teacher at: Newby

Subject: Year One

What made you decide to be a teacher?

I’ve always wanted to work in a career that gives back to others. When I started college, I aimed for nursing but decided that I probably wasn’t cut out for all the bodily fluids involved. Turns out, there’s quite a lot involved in teaching – especially in Early Years.

What is your proudest achievement since you have been teaching?

As cliché as this sounds, my proudest achievement is seeing children start school unable to read or write and then leave my classroom a year later being able to do both. There’s something incredibly magical and humbling about being part of that journey.  

What is the most challenging aspect to teaching?

I think the most challenging aspect for me is about having to compromise. You so desperately want to get it right for every child, all day every day. You have a vision of how amazing you want your displays and resources to be. You have big plans for trips, visits, wide and varied experiences. In reality, you can’t do all of those things without having to compromise somewhere. Sometimes that means not laminating all your resources or having to scale back on a trip. It’s also about remembering that the most important resource is you. You have to be rested, energised and ready to give the children everything.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into teaching?

Teaching is about more than just working with children. Spend time in at least three different schools to work out whether it really is the career for you. It’s the most demanding but rewarding career and it’s not for everyone. Equally not every school is the same so spend time finding the right kind of school for you too. Ask to speak to some teachers who have recently qualified about their training experience; what they needed more of, what they wish they asked. Also ask to speak to teachers who’ve been in the profession for a number of years – what keeps them going?

What do you do for fun in the school holidays?

I enjoy spending time with friends – but then I find time during the week to do this too! I think it’s really important that fun isn’t something that only happens in the holidays. Book a mini-break at a weekend. Do a spa day on Saturday. Things like that really keep you going – especially in an 8 week half term. I enjoy travelling and have a number of places on my bucket list. Next on the list is India.

Tell us about the funniest thing that has happened to you as a teacher?

The day I discovered human poo on my shoe was probably the funniest thing that’s happened - It was one of those, you laugh or you cry situations. The shoes obviously haven’t lived to see another day.

What qualities do you look for in a good teacher?

A smile is always a good place to start and goes a long way. I think a good teacher has to be passionate. Passionate about what they are teaching as well as how they are teaching it. As a school our mantra is ‘Every child needs a champion’ – I think a good teacher is someone who champions the children they’re working with, finding the best in everyone.