Ready, steady, teach - Why I swapped press for pupils

28th November 2008 at 00:00

I remember jumping for joy as I walked out of my last science lesson a decade ago, saying goodbye to secondary school and thinking I would never have to sit through another physics lesson again. How things change.

Today, I'm not just sitting through such a lesson but I teach it to energetic primary pupils.

Teaching was never my plan. For four years I worked as a reporter for the local newspaper, covering breaking stories, rushing to the scene of fatal road accidents and fires. I was a regular in court - on the press bench - and in council chambers, writing about planning wrangles plus other parish, district and county issues. Occasionally I'd enter the glitzy showbiz world, interviewing not-so A-list celebrities who were starring in the local Christmas panto or attending charity events. But every so often I'd also find myself in dangerous situations, being chased by unhappy residents or threatened by convicted criminals. So I decided to change my career.

I've been an NQT since September - and absolutely love it. Instead of being hunted by an angry mob of adults, I am constantly hounded by a bunch of cheery children, bursting to tell me something, anything, that will catch my attention for a few seconds.

As well as equipping tomorrow's adults with subject knowledge to prepare them for secondary school and adulthood, I have found it particularly rewarding to improve children's self-esteem and attitude to work.

There are many aspects of teaching that are similar to my previous career - the deadlines are never-ending, teamwork is particularly important and a headteacher is certainly comparable to an editor.

I'm constantly referring to my journalism skills at school, particularly within literacy, and have recently created a school newspaper. Shorthand is a great tool within staff meetings, but is also fantastic as a re-focusing exercise when pupils drift off task.

There was one thing I thought I'd particularly miss when I left journalism - the three-course posh nosh that the newspaper paid for in return for a restaurant review. It's just a good job that my favourite pudding is chocolate sponge and mint custard.

Bridget Ballance trained at Wolverhampton University and is now an NQT at Elston Hall Primary School in Wolverhampton.

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