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'It's nice to be almost like a parent to them'

Name Rebecca Gretton Age 24 Current post Newly qualified, teaching music at Monmouth comprehensive school, Monmouthshire

Career to date?

I did a degree in music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. After that, I worked and travelled in Australia and Canada, and then took a PGCE last year at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

Why did you become a teacher?

My love of music. When I was a student I was working in a call centre to put some money together to go travelling, but I got really fed up with the job - it was very boring. Instead, I started teaching young children how to play the piano and sing. I loved getting something out of teaching, seeing the children respond. I loved it so much I thought, 'Well, I might as well go on and make it a career'.

What's the best thing that's happened to you so far?

Having my own Year 7 form. It's so nice that I have that control; I can do what I like rather than just sitting in and watching it. It's nice to be almost like a parent to them.

And the worst?

Difficult pupils. I find that quite tricky, though I'm getting round it now. It's not that long since I've come out of school myself, but I find that children's attitudes have changed. Attitudes towards teachers, such as cheekiness - not so much here, but in schools where I did teaching practice. I would never have dreamed of saying things like that to teachers when I was at school. The other thing is the hours. It's a lot harder than I'd expected to go from one day at college and then four days teaching, on to a full timetable and double the hours. It takes it out of me; when I get back from school I'm completely exhausted.

What do you like most about teaching?

The school's lovely and all the teachers are really supportive. Everybody's friendly and willing to give advice; there is a really strong support system here. That's what I like about it. I've got my own classroom, so I've got a base to work from. I just enjoy the lot; there is no particular area I can pinpoint and say I like that the most.

What is your dream job?

I really enjoy the pastoral side of it. I'd like to see myself as head of year at some point.

Top tip?

Be certain teaching is something you want to do, because it's a lot of work. And go into it for the right reasons. Not because it's something to fall back on, but because you love teaching, or your subject, and like watching people learn. You've got to have a real commitment.

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