How to become a primary school / kindergarten teacher

How to become a primary school / kindergarten teacher

This alternative job fits the bill for:

  • Part time jobs

Nadia Foley-Comer knows that if you want to warp expand little childrens’ minds and have them grow, there’s nowt more satisfying than becoming a primary school teacher. It’s the career that’s as alternative as you are.

Name: Nadia Foley-Comer

Career title: Newly Qualified Teacher

Full-time/part time: Neither right now

Qualifications and/or training duration:

I trained on a part time PGCE (primary) for just over a year and a half.

Skills: Patience, a love of learning, creativity are a must

Salary: It starts in at just over £19,000 a year, but you get more if you’re working as a supply teacher.

Job perks:

Working with children, watching them grow as individuals and as a collective. When the child who has been baffled finally explains why (s)he understands. Good holidays!

Downside of the job:

Looong working hours. Often taking work home. Pressures from external agencies related to performance and targets.

What made you want to go into this profession?

I had worked with children since I was sixteeen, and felt it was the natural next step. My friends were really encouraging, saying things like I’d be sure to love it. They were right.

How physically or mentally demanding is the job?

Very, in both respects. Mentally, you seriously need the ability to keep calm while twenty or more children seek your attention, and that takes practice. Physically, it’s really tiring. I’m used to a really active lifestyle but I dealt with the tiredness of teaching by getting to bed early whenever I could.

Long hours?

I tried to get to school just before 8 in the morning, so I could have a full hour to organise myself before the children arrived. Some teachers leave school as early as 4, but often planning or staff meetings may keep teachers in school until 5.30 to 6.00. It’s a long day.

Most amazing career moment to date:

Sharing an interactive website showing the process of mummification with a class of 8-9 year olds. They loved it, especially the gruesome bits, obviously.

Most hideous career moment to date:

Shouting at the whole class during a science investigation.

Do you meet interesting people and if so, who was the most interesting?

All sorts of people come into to school to share their experiences with the children. I met lee miller’s grand-daughter. Lee Miller was well connected in the surrealist art movement during the 1930s and later became a photographer during the 2nd world war. Lee Miller seemed a very interesting woman. Go here for a picture of Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath tub at the end of WW2. Her granddaughter explained how hot water and baths were hard to come by, and so Lee had relished in bringing the muck of the war Hitler had created into his pristine white enamelled bath!!!!!).

Danger factor:

Being responsible for the safety of children takes care and detailed consideration. Never forget it. Especially when you’re taking about 20 kids on a day trip somewhere.

Sexy uniform?

Er… Not really…

Opportunities for travel/work abroad with your career:

Plenty… I hope. I want to do teacher exchanges with schools in other parts of the world, especially developing countries. We have a lot to learn from seeing how things are done elsewhere.

Do you meet fit, clever, solvent blokes in your line of work?

Potentially. More men are entering the teaching profession these days.

Can you still see yourself doing this in 20 years’ time?

Sure. Also, teaching doesn’t need to happen in schools. I hope to move the learning outdoors, and be a pioneer in creating outdoor learning environments.

What advice would you give young women who are interested in this career path?

If you enjoy working with children, and have a passion for learning and inspiring future generations to greatness, maybe teaching is for you. It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding. But do take the time to choose the course that feels right for you. There are loads of different avenues into teaching so explore which one best suits you.


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