A day in the life of Mary Kinoulty

2nd January 2015 at 00:00
Tudor warship the Mary Rose lay hidden at the bottom of the sea for centuries. Now she is housed in a state-of-the-art museum, where this educator aims to transport pupils back in time

I leave home at 7.30am and, with no books to carry these days, I'm pursuing an on-off walk-to-work campaign. The last part of the journey, through Old Portsmouth and the historic dockyard to the Mary Rose Museum, is my favourite. I am still thrilled to enter the new museum, which opened last year, and our very special part of it - the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Learning Centre. It's brilliant to have purpose-built facilities for teaching and learning.

I arrive at the office just after 8am and talk to my team about the day ahead. The ongoing topic of discussion is the impact of the new national curriculum. The loss of the Tudors as a compulsory element of primary history has been a challenge, but it's great to see teachers working creatively to enable pupils to keep visiting the museum. Secondaries are an increasingly important part of our work. Most realise that school trips are so much more than a one-day event and we have partnerships with two excellent Hampshire comprehensives.

At 8.40am, the daily briefing brings the whole museum team together. Even though the busy summer season is over, we're expecting more than 1,000 visitors today. We've had almost 700,000 visitors to the museum since it opened in May 2013.

At 9am it's time to read emails and return phone calls. The general theme is school bookings, but I'm also working on various funding applications. At 10.30am, students from Brune Park Community School in Gosport arrive for the fourth day of a transition project for all Year 7 pupils. In a carefully orchestrated programme, the 11- and 12-year-olds rotate between three team-building activities in the lab, classroom and museum. I started planning this with the school in the summer term; developing new ideas and working with schools to meet their needs is one of the most satisfying parts of my job. Every day is different and I love the variety: teaching primary, secondary and A-level students really keeps me on my toes.

I have lunch at 12.30pm at our on-site cafe; the students finish their activities half an hour later and their visit ends with a photo opportunity for the whole group. Then I prepare for our next event: an open evening at Bohunt School in Liphook. We're showcasing our partnership with Bohunt - school of the year at the 2014 TES Schools Awards - to prospective pupils and their parents. We pack up the van with our display boards, replica artefacts and a giant Tudor game board. After a quick snack we leave at 4.15pm - rush hour.

As is usually the case, parents begin arriving ahead of the scheduled start at 5.30pm. Helped by an enthusiastic pupil, we explain how a visit to the museum brings learning alive.

At 9.15pm, after meeting 1,800 parents and children, we head home. Already I'm thinking about tomorrow: a return visit from Bohunt to test out a new version of one of our secondary history workshops. At least the teachers will know why we're tired. Who said museum education was a quiet life?

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

We will give your school pound;100 if your story is published.


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