'I've got to know the kids and they know me...

... I enjoy every lesson'.

Name Samantha King

Age 23

Current post NQT teaching geography at Gosford Hill comprehensive school, Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

Career to date

After A-levels, I took a joint honours degree in geography and geology at Keele University, followed by a PGCE in secondary geography at Oxford. I got my job at Gosford Hill this time last year.

Why did you become a teacher?

I never wanted to do anything else. Having positive relationships with my teachers at school was one of the big influences. It seemed a natural thing to do. When I was at school I hated geography until Year 9, when a young and enthusiastic teacher took over, and he seemed to make it exciting. My teacher at A-level was my form tutor as well, which helped.

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

It might sound odd, but I'd have to say parents' evening. A couple of Year 9 kids told me they hadn't liked geography before, but now they were choosing it as one of their options for next year. That made me feel proud. At a recent Year 11 parents' evening, a couple of pupils thanked me because they really believed they'd improved after working hard in my lessons. About half of my GCSE set are doing A-level next year, so I was pleased with that.

And the worst?

I found it difficult to get accepted at the start of the year - especially by some of the older pupils. It seemed as if I was invading their territory, and it took me a long time to develop a good atmosphere in the classroom. It is much, much better now. I've got to know the kids better and they know me, as well as the ground rules and what I expect of them. I'm enjoying every lesson.

What do you like most about teaching?

Interacting with the kids, especially outside the lessons - talking in the corridors. And seeing real enthusiasm in the kids during your lessons is a high point in the job.

What is your dream job?

I'm not really sure if I'd like to go down the pastoral route, or whether I see myself running a department. At the moment, I'm keeping an open mind.

Top tip?

Try to focus on the positive. It's so much easier to ignore what has gone well because it's the things that haven't gone well that need thinking about. So give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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