'Filing was too boring. I needed a new challenge'

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Name- Sarah Watts Age- 29.

Why did you become a teacher?

Part of my geography degree involved working with children in St Lucia for a year. It didn't come to me in a blaze of light. I had a taste of it and thought it was something I'd like to do.

Career to date?

After university I did voluntary work in Kenya. I returned to the UK and that's when I thought, "Enough trekking around the world - time to settle down." I worked briefly for British Airways as I needed the money. I was an administrator earning pound;22,000, answering the phone, filing, personal assistant to the head of department - basically a doddle. I'd go in, I'd finish, and that was it.

But I soon got bored. I needed something challenging. I'm now in my second post. I'm teacher in charge of geography at John Hanson Community School, Andover.

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

I had my first Year 11 GCSE group go through their exams. I was looking at the grades and a girl came up to find out how she'd done. It was the highest grade she'd got for any of her subjects, and she was so grateful. Teachers don't pat themselves on the back enough. Often it just takes one person to show their appreciation.

And the worst?

I did have a child swear at me. I was covering a lesson and he said something bad about the school. I had to say to him,"You don't say that."

And he said, "Oh, f*** off."

You don't take it personally - it's just the realisation of what kids are like these days.

What do you like most about teaching?

The children's achievement, and knowing that ultimately I have been part of that.

What is your dream job?

Definitely not headteacher. I really admire heads, but I wouldn't like the workload. I'd like to be a good practice teacher - somebody who can go around enthusing others.

Top Tip?

It's hard work. Be prepared for a couple of years with no social life. But go for it, enjoy it. You get out of it exactly what you put in.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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