Isobel V.

Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Isobel V.
Historical Archaeology
United Kingdom

My employment

State primary school
United Kingdom
Small business (0-49 employees)

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A day in the life of a Teacher in the United Kingdom

Pick extracurriculars which give you transferable skills - those will be more helpful than you can imagine.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work at a larger than average state primary school in London which works with a cohort of students who generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Like all schools, the aim of my school is to educate young people and to encourage them to become curious lifelong learners.

What do you do?

I am a class teacher of a Year 6 class. I am an experienced KS2 teacher which involves planning, preparing and teaching lessons. As a Year 6 teacher, I am heavily involved in preparing children for their SATs at the end of the year. I believe, however, the most important part of my job is preparing children to be well-rounded global citizens who are confident and caring members of society. I strongly believe in developing the whole child and not just delivering the national curriculum.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

After I graduated from York, I completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education, which is part of UCL. Prior to this, while I was at York, I completed multiple placements with YSIS and through this gained experience across a variety of primary school settings. This confirmed to me that I wanted to be a primary school teacher. Once I had completed my PGCE, I used TES jobs (a teaching job website) to find a job at the school where I now work. This is where I completed my NQT year. Since I have been teaching, I also completed a Masters in Education at UCL.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I always knew that I wanted to be a primary school teacher once I had completed my Undergraduate degree.

Describe your most memorable day at work

As I work at a challenging school, there are many memorable moments and always many stories to tell. My most memorable day has to be when a child in my class, who was often reluctant to work, loved our project on light and shadows. He spent his whole weekend creating a shadow puppet show - equipped with hand puppets and scenery. I can still remember how happy and proud he was - as well as how he could explain the science behind what he was doing. Definitely a memory I will never forget and on the hardest of work days, memories like this (and there are a lot of good memories) help me through.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Teaching is a job with a lot of perks but also some challenges. While the holidays are always great to look forward to (although there is some work during those too), the workload during term time is a lot and I do often find myself bringing work home with me. It is also a job which is hard to leave at work. I am extremely invested in supporting the children I work with, both educationally and emotionally, and therefore it is hard not to worry and think about things they may be going through when it is the weekend or holidays.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Schools tend to be a very supportive place to work and everyone has the same aim - which is for the children to make progress and be happy and safe at school. It is great how everyone is on board and it is not a competitive environment at all. I find the school where I work to be a relatively informal setting, which I enjoy.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

As I mentioned previously, the extracurricular activity of volunteering through YSIS definitely supported me in becoming a primary school teacher. Through this I got the experience I needed to apply and get on a PGCE course and also much more. I learnt strategies from different teachers and got to experience most year groups from Nursery to Year 6 - something I didn't even experience on my PGCE.

What would you like to do next with your career?

The next step in my career would be to become a member of Senior Leadership Team at a school. I am currently a subject lead and would like to further my responsibility by leading a phase at a school.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

I am a strong believer in planning if possible - plan, plan, plan! From as early as possible, I thought carefully about what I wanted to do and the steps I needed to get there - which led me to YSIS. On the other hand, and definitely contradicting what I just said, I also think its really important to take things as they come. If you have a goal and set your mind to it, it might not happen exactly the way you thought it would so be flexible and don't panic. Finally, pick extracurriculars which give you transferable skills - those will be more helpful than you can imagine.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I am very passionate about what I do and am happy to answer questions on Primary Education, especially in inner city schools. I have also completed a Masters in Education so would be happy to talk about that process. I feel like I would be able to offer support in Primary PGCE applications and job applications as well.

Next steps...

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