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Commitment? No problem

They came from as far away as Manchester and Loughborough to the TES party. And the NQTs there told Dorothy Lepkowska why they love the job

Could it be true? Teachers gathered together all admitting they love their jobs? Sure enough it was. The First Appointments party, on April 23, attracted more than 70 young staff including a few familiar names from the TES staffroom forum.

"Miss Communicate. So that's what you look like" could be heard ringing around the Dickens Inn in St Katharine Docks next to the Tower of London as people put faces to names and made new friends.

Miss Communicate, 23, on a PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, asked for her real name to be withheld "to protect the innocent". She said: "It probably won't surprise anyone to know that I worked in Africa for a while, teaching sex education, and my first job will be teaching citizenship and some science. I can't wait to start teaching. It's going to be great."

Swallowtail, her forum sidekick, had travelled from Manchester for the party.The NQT said: "I just really wanted to do something which combined my English degree with working with kids."

Joy Archer retired on health grounds four years ago, but keeps up with the profession. "It's great that so many young teachers are here meeting each other. It's a great support network. At that age they are still really idealistic. It's a job you really have to want to do."

Two male teachers who could relate to that were Scott Stevens and Andrew Pinkham, both 26, colleagues at Parklands junior, in Romford Essex. "Ever since senior school I have wanted to work with children," said Scott, "and before becoming a teacher I worked for five years with deaf youngsters. It is great to see the look on children's faces when the penny drops and they understand something that they couldn't get to grips with in the first place. You realise how much of an impact you have on the way they look at things."

Andrew switched from accountancy to go into teaching.

"I really enjoy the variety of teaching different subjects. Kids' responses are always really interesting because they are so unpredictable," he said.

"We've a great camaraderie in our school and excellent morale."

Dee Tomlin, 43, is head of performance faculty at Reading girls' school. "I teach music and it always amazes me to see children's confidence grow through music. I love watching them come out of themselves, it's so rewarding."

Jimmy O'Donnell, 31, left a job in advertising to become a teacher. "I found that it was just wasn't rewarding enough and I wasn't get much out of it.

"I went travelling for a while to think about what I wanted to do and did some classroom observation work and teaching assisting when I got back. I start a PGCE at Strawberry Hill college, in London, in September. I can't wait."

Rebecca Hill, 23, came all the way from Loughborough, in Leicestershire to the party. She is an NQT at Holywell primary. "I absolutely love my job," she said, "and I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I can remember.

It is my dream job and, really, I never want to do anything else."

Her friend, Charlotte Spencer, 33, added: "I started out in personnel management but the truth was that I had always been a frustrated teacher.

Now every day is completely different."

Ruth Sargeant, 35, has just enrolled on a three-year degree course to allow her to teach key stages 2 and 3 with mathematics at University College, Chichester. Previously she worked for 19 years as a nanny.

She will have to endure a long journey every day from her home in Clapham, south London, to campuses in Bognor Regis or Crawley. "I have to do this because this is the ideal course for my requirements. It will be bit of a slog but worth it in the end. I'll have a choice of where I can teach. It is an exciting prospect," she said.

Lizzie Terry, 22, realised teaching was for her after work experience in schools. She is in her final year of a PGCE at Goldsmiths college, London.

She will start working at Blessed St Dominic RC primary, in Barnet, in September. "I just love being around children. It is incredibly satisfying because even at a really young age they have such interesting personalities. It is a nice feeling to know that as a teacher you might make a difference."

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