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I love the challenging teaching

Karen Brunskill, assistant head, with responsibility for the tertiary department (16-19)

"I get into school at about 8am and check the diary and e-mails. By that time other staff are arriving and we'll talk about the youngsters in the department and deal with any issues that have arisen from the previous day.

Three mornings a week there is a leadership team briefing. I also meet up with heads of other departments to make sure we have staff covering the "hotspots" - the classes where youngsters need high levels of support.

I teach in my department every morning, working on careers education and guidance, enterprise and work-related learning. I absolutely love the teaching: it's challenging and varied, and no two days are the same.

We're following the Asdan award scheme, with modules called "Towards Independence", and I try to raise pupils' awareness of different jobs and training, and the skills they need. We also visit work environments that might be right for some of them, such as catering, hotels, shops and cafes.

At any time in the day a parent may drop in - we have an open-door policy. Also at any time, a member of staff may need help with a youngster with challenging behaviour.

I do break duties and at lunchtime I feed one of the girls. Afternoons are quite often non-contact time for me, though I may be covering, for instance, in the sensory education department. After school there is usually a meeting of some sort.

The most challenging part of the job is keeping classroom teaching as your main focus when there are so many other balls to juggle. But the reward is being part of a team that has created a safe, nurturing environment, equipping these young people for adult life."

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