David graduated with a degree in economics from Lancaster University. He then worked for two years before deciding to become a maths teacher. Even though David's degree does have some relevance to his teaching (particularly at A-level), he still had to do a six-month mathematics enhancement course to improve his subject knowledge and be accepted on a PGCE maths course
I have now been teaching for two full years and found the NQT quite difficult, but I am now more used to the job and really feel I have found my feet as a teacher. This year I have a new responsibility mentoring teacher trainees coming into school. I hope to eventually work my way up in the department.
A typical day is busy, non-stop! I am constantly doing things on the go and getting new things to do, so I definitely can't put things off. I arrive at school between 7.45 - 8am for an 8.20am start. Most of the lesson plans I do in advance. We have tutor time from 8.30 - 9.00am; I don't normally get free periods, so I am generally teaching five periods a day.
We have after-school staff meetings usually on a Monday or Wednesday, and once a week I do after-school football training for year 9s. I also plan and prepare lessons for the next day or couple of days. It's a very heavy workload, but I feel that if I've worked hard during the week, I can make the most of my weekends and holidays. I enjoy everything about the job, but the main thing is that you are always kept busy and always doing something different. In the job I did before I started teaching, I used to get bored just sitting at a desk. Whereas with teaching you never stop, are constantly on the go and never get a chance to sit down, which I don't really want to do anyway. There is a great deal of job satisfaction and a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, whether it's the kids or staff. There are always new challenges and no two days are ever the same.
I sometimes worry about getting things right, particularly when it comes to dealing with pupils' personal problems. There are never two situations the same so I feel it's important for teachers to always try to think about where and what the pupils are coming from before school, and where and what they are going to after school, and take it all into account.
I feel very strongly that those thinking about secondary teaching should do their research to see what it's like actually working in a school. This could involve visiting a number of schools, asking to shadow a teacher to see what a typical day is like, or volunteering in schools on a regular basis, which will also provide some of the necessary in school experience for PGCE applications. I also recommend that those interested in becoming secondary teachers speak to people working in the profession to see what they have to say about it.
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