From the virtual world to the real classroom

What was your job title before you entered teaching?
Prior to teaching I was a computer operator for Sandwell City Council amongst other things in various local government departments.

Why did you leave?
I left to start a family and didn’t return.  I began an Open University degree and worked part time in retail to fund my course while my children were young.

What made you choose teaching?
Helping out at my children’s school I remembered fondly how much I had loved my primary school.  The head of my son’s school encouraged me to think about teaching as a career. Now I consider teaching to be my first career; I was merely engaged in a range of unfulfilling jobs prior to that

Did you find it difficult being a student again?
It took me seven years of part-time study to finally become a teacher as I took the Open University route.  Being a mature student was hard because you are juggling so many things; family, work and study.  But you are doing it for yourself and not your parents or anyone else, so the self motivation is very strong.

What were the most useful skills you brought from your previous role? 
Being a mum certainly meant that I could relate to children in school very easily. Interpersonal, communication and basically life skills in general had been well honed through a multitude of previous experiences.

What do you most enjoy about teaching?
I love being around young people. Watching them grow and develop is an amazing thing and knowing that you have made a difference to people’s lives and life chances is extremely rewarding.

What has been the highlight of your teaching career so far?
Highlight has to be getting my first teaching post in a fantastic school, Grove in Handsworth, and then I suppose winning the National Primary Headteacher of the Year Award in 2007.

What are the difficulties and how do you overcome them?
Difficulties are always around work life balance and pressure from central government around league tables. I try to be pragmatic and practical.

What are your plans for the future?
I can’t ever see me not being in education because it is very important to me.  I love my job.

What advice would you give to those considering a career change to teaching?
If you enjoy hard work and are passionate about working with young people then go for it. If you want an easy time with no accountability and lots of money - then forget it!

Tracy Stone is headteacher of Rookery primary school and children’s centre in Birmingham

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