Head of Junior Department

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What is your background?

Degree from London in Music, PGCE (Primary) and an MA (from the Open University)

What initially attracted you to your job?

Initially I was a Primary teacher. I was attracted to this because I knew that every day would be different and I would enjoy working with children. I was also attracted by the clear career structure. I applied for a management position so that I could have more control and stay within the organisation of a school.

Define your job?

Absolutely crazy!! 

Can you walk me through your day-to-day activities?

At 7:30am I'm at school meeting the earlybirds! I start teaching at 8:20. Although I have a slightly reduced timetable, I spend my day running around photocopying, making phone calls, arranging and attending meetings, teaching, planning, marking, seeing parents, dealing with boys, organising the day-to-day running of my department, and ensuring that everyone is happy and things are running smoothly. I leave work anywhere between 5pm and 10pm... it depends on the day!

How has your job changed in the last 5 to 10 years?

Since I started teaching, teachers have become more and more accountable for everything they do, and spend a lot of time jumping through hoops.  Paperwork is quite amazing, and creativity seems to be dying as teachers follow strict schemes of work.

What are the key issues facing your sector?

I work in the independent sector.  The current financial crisis is an issue, as are the changes to the Common Entrance. 

How does government legislation affect your job?

To a certain extent independent schools are exempt from government legislation.  However, there are some aspects we have to abide by (e.g. EYFS), and other issues we seriously consider and adopt if we think it appropriate.

What impact has technology had on your job?

Lots! We use computers, interactive whiteboards etc.  Computers play a huge part in teaching and learning.

What are the best things and worst things about your job?

The best things are the children, the fact that to a certain extent it is possible to manage your own day, and of course the holidays. The worst bits are the intense terms (which do allow for the great holidays), the exhaustion, and often very unreasonable and rude parents.

Do you have any horror stories?

Yes - lots!!

What attributes do you need/what are you looking for when hiring someone in your role?

Someone well qualified from a good university with good subject knowledge and organisational skill. Someone with charisma, enthusiasm and drive.  Teachers need to motivate pupils, so a positive outlook on life, a cheery disposition and the ability to work as part of a team.

What are your tips/advice for those starting out?

Teach for two years, go abroad for a while for fun, and then come back and be career minded.  I've been career minded for a long time and am scared that if I get of the treadmill and go abroad or try something new, I may lose my rung on the ladder!

What are your favourite websites?

YouTube - for teaching resources
SparkleBox - for fun things to print out and put on the walls
Facebook - for keeping up with my friends during busy times

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