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New face

Name Jenny Mead-Payne

Age 24

Current post Newly qualified, teaching class 5 at Bushfield middle school, Milton Keynes

I didn't originally plan to be a teacher. During my sociology degree at Surrey University I took a year out to work as a social researcher, but I didn't enjoy it much - I didn't like sitting behind a desk.

I was interested in teaching when I was young, but I'd gone off the idea because my dad was a teacher. It was always an option, though. So I did a voluntary placement for half a term at my local primary school, and justfell in love with it. I then did a PGCE at Northampton University.

For me it was always going to be primary school; it's always been the most important part of education. I thought, "If I'm going to do this, I want to do something that has a real impact". I don't know if I'm particularly lucky, or if this is the experience of most newly qualified teachers. I've enjoyed it. It is a challenge; it's not an easy ride, but you always seem to manage when problems arise, and if someone's there to help you.

I've found behaviour management the most difficult area, probably because I didn't get much experience of it in my training. So when I came here, though the majority of the children are fantastic, a couple have been particularly difficult.

Most of my challenging moments have been associated with them: you've tried everything, you're feeling a bit lost, you don't want to give up, but you don't know what else to do.

But the team I work with are great; we help each other with all sorts of issues. We have learning and peer mentors and it's a good system for trying to help children with behaviour problems. So the help is always there. But as an NQT you think, "I'm not experienced enough yet to deal with this on my own". You have to get around that mindset and realise there's a whole school here with everyone to help you.

The best thing is being with the children in the classroom. I enjoy being around them because they're so positive. I particularly like going on school visits, seeing the children outside applying the knowledge they've learned in school and being able to build on it in real-life situations.

It's great when they get the point of what you're teaching. You can see it in their eyes. It's much more important for them to learn about how lessons apply in life rather than just in class.

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