“I went to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, and now I am a Primary School Teacher.”
Caroline, Primary School Teacher
Primary School Teacher
Description of Job:
I am currently a year 4 teacher in a primary school in Knutsford. I have taught years 4 and 5 for the length of my career so far. As well as teaching all of the primary subjects, I have also been involved in lots of school developments, subject leadership (history/geography, music, outdoor learning and PE) and have been on 3 residential trips.
English Language (A)
English Literature (B)
Science Dual Award (BB)
Graphics Technology (C)
English Language (B)
General Studies (C)
Manchester Metropolitan University
Course: 4 year Primary Education BA (Hons) (specialism in Maths & Thinking Skills)
What inspired you at school?
Some of the teachers at AGGS inspired me to become an enthusiastic and inspirational teacher. Their help and guidance spurred me on and the education I received there set me up perfectly for my time at university.
Any useful tips/advice?
Don’t take your school years for granted and don’t let the pressure of ‘needing to know what you are going to do in life’ get to you.
What have you done since leaving AGGS to get to where you are today? (eg work experience, GAP year, apprenticeship, volunteering, travelling)
For work experience I worked in after-school clubs, went into schools during my free periods to shadow teachers and also worked in a pub as a waitress and barmaid for 7 years. After A Levels I went straight to university (MMU) and did a 4 year Primary Education BA(Hons) course. From here, I went into my first teaching post.
How did you get into your current role?
From University, I went straight into my first teaching post.
What specific qualifications are needed for your job?
GCSEs, A-Levels and either a Primary Education degree of PGCE degree.
Are there any particular subjects that have to be studied to be able to do your job?
Maths & English in particular; science also.
What is a typical work day like for you?
I arrive at school early to set up my day, usually at around 7.15/7.30am. After teaching maths and English in the morning with a break in between, I have a 50 minute lunch break, which I sometimes use to mark books so that I don’t have to take them home to mark. I teach theme in the afternoon usually, depending on what the theme of the half term is. For example, the theme I am currently teaching is The Jungle Book, so I am teaching lessons that are linked with that. School ends at 3.20pm and I usually stay in school late until 5/6ish then take any leftover marking home to do.
What is the best bit about your job and do you have a particular career highlight?
The best bit of my job is working with children. I love to inspire them to learn and have fun while doing it. The real highlight for me is simply having my own class of children to teach and watch them progress throughout the year through my teaching and guidance.
What are the worst things about your job?
Workload and fitting everything in is an issue for all teachers. Being able to plan, mark, teach, assess is a lot to take on and it is often difficult to fit in around everything else, such as subject leadership etc. Work/life balance is hard.
What skills help you most in your job (i.e. teamwork, communication, leadership, time management)?
Teamwork, communication, leadership, time management, passion, good rapport with children, patience, hard work and motivation.
What advice would you give to students looking to get into your line of work? (e.g. subjects to study, getting work experience)
Get into as many schools in your free time as you can (when you get study leave etc) or apply for jobs in after school clubs. I also worked for two beaver scouts groups in Bowdon and Hale and this helped to understand children and planning activities for children outside a school setting. I worked in after-school clubs, went into schools during my free periods to shadow teachers and also worked in a pub as a waitress and barmaid for 7 years. All these experiences made me the person I am today and convinced me even more that teaching was what I wanted to do. You have to be sure.
How did your experience at AGGS help you to achieve your successes?
Work hard BUT don’t take these years for granted; you will look back on these days and wish you could do it all over again. Have fun and don’t let the pressure of ‘needing to know what you are going to do in life’ get to you.