New face

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Name Philip Turner

Age 23

Current post Newly qualified teaching Year 6 at St Leonard's CE primary, Burnley, Lancashire

I'd originally thought about teaching before I went to university. But I didn't get the A-level grades I wanted, so I did a degree in communication processes.

After university, I spent a year travelling then got a job as media manager with a clothing company. Part of the job was customer services, and part of it was managing a website. One day I was reading the paper over breakfast and there was an advert for the graduate teacher programme at St Leonard's.

I didn't really understand how it could work because I'd never heard of in-school training before. So I rang up and asked about it and the head said interviews were closing in a couple of days, come along.

I did and it went well. I came back the next day and was asked to take part in a lesson so they could see how I interacted with the children, and to see if I liked it. I loved it.

I had an interview with senior management, who wanted to take me on immediately. It all happened within a few days. One day I was working in media management, the next I was going to be a trainee teacher. Although I'm still a newly qualified teacher - I've done the graduate teacher programme - this is really the end of my second year.

I chose primary because I wanted to work with younger children. Friends who teach at secondary schools say they could never teach such young children.

But I enjoy it. I find the children more responsive and open-minded. And you can see that you're making a big difference to someone's life when they're that young.

Once, I had what colleagues call a "magic moment". It was the first time everything went according to plan: the lesson flowed, all the pupils understood it and their work was brilliant. It was an adrenalin rush. When I walked into the staffroom afterwards everybody was laughing at me, and they started singing Magic Moments.

I've been lucky; there hasn't been a negative moment. The worst thing that's happened is a lesson that hasn't gone well.

The best thing about teaching is the sense of achievement. This school is not in the most privileged area; there are many single-parent families, and many of the children have no male role models. You can see how important you are in some children's lives - and that means a lot to me.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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