Ask the Graduate: Secondary School Teacher

RO Central Team - Friday, November 29, 2019
Posted 6 days ago


Day In The Life: Jade Collins (Secondary School Teacher )

Who am I? 

Hello everyone, I have recently just graduated (in June 2019) from my PGdipED (post graduate diploma in education) course at the University of Birmingham. This means that I am now two months in to my new qualified teacher year. I teach English at a secondary school in Chelmsley Wood called John Henry Newman Catholic College. I teach all year groups, so year 7 to year 11, which means my timetable is pretty full! Before I got into teaching, I studied English at the University of Birmingham for three years.

Best bits:

Getting to know pupils and helping pupils achieve greatness is the best part of my job. It is the best feeling knowing that you really are helping pupils get to where they want to be by pushing them to always try their very best. It is not only amazing seeing pupils thrive inside the classroom but it is also great when I see my pupils achieve extra-curricular excellence as well as academic excellence. The best part about my job is knowing that you are genuinely making a difference to people’s current lives and their future by teaching a subject you have a passion for and that is why I chose this profession. Another great part of my job, close to the best, is having my own name on a classroom door, it was definitely a moment I had to share on my Instagram story.

What to expect from a career in this role:

Everyday as a teacher is different – the pupils you see, the lessons you teach and the encounters you face are never the same. There are lots of highs and a few lows, as in every job, but the great thing about teaching is you can always put yourself in a pupil’s shoes as every person has gone through school, so you can make everything relatable. You need to be prepared to be a classroom teacher, a part-time agony aunt and the best time manager in the world.

A typical morning as me:

My mornings typically involve a lot of coffee. I arrive at school at around 7:30 each morning so that I can set up my classroom (this means get the PowerPoint ready to go, all the books handed out and all the handouts are cut up ready to give out). I then have a brief meeting every morning – these will cover different school issues, so we are always up to date with what is happening. At 8:45 I will have my first lesson; this differs every day so every start to my day is different depending on the class I am teaching. Lessons last an hour and we have two lessons before it is breaktime where I can sit with all the English teachers and chill out for 20 minutes before its period 3. By the time it gets to breaktime I am usually very hungry; a typical break time snack for me is chocolate and crisps to get me ready for 3 more hours of teaching.

A typical afternoon as me:

My afternoons typically involve a lot of coffee also. I will teach another two hours before I can have my lunch break, then it’s one more period before its basically home time (well after tutor). Lunch time is my favourite time of day because I get to catch up with everyone about their day and eat. We have 30 minutes for lunch, so I always bring my own lunch as there isn’t really any time to go out and grab food, but this saves me so much money! Again, my afternoon is very much dependent on the students I teach and how they are feeling by this point in the day. Afternoons are very unpredictable as a teacher because if a number of pupils in your class have had a bad lesson prior to yours, their mood and behaviour can reflect this – so afternoons are all about resilience and adaptability.

A typical ‘after school’ as me:

Teachers are allowed to leave school at 3:30 (so 30 minutes after the pupils) but very rarely does this happen. I like to get all my planning, printing and admin work done after school so that I am not stressing or running on a time limit when I come into school in the morning. We have a lot of meetings after school as well which usually consist of cookies, cake and hot chocolate so I don’t mind attending. Every Thursday after school I teach a sixth period to my year 11 class; this is basically a revision session to go over any misconceptions found in their exams (this time I provide the cookies and cake). There is the occasional big sweep of marking that has to take place after exams which I complete at school after 3pm. Once I am home, however, I am home and I do not check emails or do any work as this is my time and it is important to keep work life and home life separate, in my opinion.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my unpredictable life as an English teacher. If you have any questions please ask :-)



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