'Ofsted made me realise I can actually do the job'

Name: Tessa Daniels

Age: 24

Current post: Newly qualified, teaching Year 1 at Gunton primary school, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Career to date?

When I did my A-levels, I had in mind that I wanted to teach, so I took a year out to have a break. Then I went to university, to King Alfred's College in Winchester, and took a four-year BA honours course with qualified teacher status. I specialised in movement studies, which is basically PE with a posh name. I had danced and always enjoyed PE at school, so it seemed an obvious thing to do.

Why did you become a teacher?

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to work with children. And I've always thought of it as a rewarding career because you're having such a great input into the rest of their lives. You're their starting point on how they begin to see things. You can try to make a difference, and it's certainly proving to be like that - this last year, for me, has been very rewarding.

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

We had an inspection, which made my first year more stressful than normal, but I had a positive experience with Ofsted. I wasn't looking forward to the inspectors' visit, and neither was anybody else. But I'm glad it happened because it made me realise I can actually do the job. I don't think many people would look at it like that, but in your first year it's quite encouraging and it does give you a confidence boost.

And the worst?

I was under no illusions I was going to have a life in my first year. But probably the worst part of the job is the way it takes up all your time outside school. With any new job there are all sorts of things you still need to learn. I think next year will be a lot easier - I hope so anyway.

What do you like most about teaching?

Just every day being different. I wouldn't like a job where I knew what was waiting for me every morning. You know to a certain extent because you plan what you want to do, but rarely does it go as you expected.

You do have to be adaptable. And I like the fact that the children make you laugh - they tell you all sorts of funny stories that are completely random, and usually nothing to do with what you're talking about.

What is your dream job?

I'm very interested in working with children with special needs.

Top tip?

Be open-minded about everything. Don't have pre-conceived ideas about what it's going to be like.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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