Sadie Powells

4th July 2008 at 01:00
Teacher at South Witham Primary School in Lincolnshire
Teacher at South Witham Primary School in Lincolnshire

Why did you become a teacher?

I've always wanted to teach, but I got fed up with studying and took a job straight out of school. I worked in a bank for 12 years, then got back on track by becoming a teaching assistant at my son's school. Working as a TA, I saw some teachers who were wonderful and others who made me think: "I can do better than that". Both kinds were an inspiration.

What would you be if you weren't a teacher?

I don't know. Working in a bank was hideous, so I wouldn't go back to that.

Best bit of the job?

You become part of people's lives. I can imagine some of my class in 30 years' time, saying: "Do you remember Miss Powells? She was nice, she was. Probably dead now."

How's your work-life balance?

I'm a stressy person. I can't just knock up lesson plans on a Sunday night, I need to have everything under control. I'm more chilled than I used to be, but that's not saying much.

What advice would you give a new teacher?

Be sure you really want to teach. This is not a job you can do half-heartedly.

Most satisfying moment?

As a teaching assistant, I worked at an inner-city school with a boy who could barely remember his own name. But I taught him to sew, and he loved it. If he did his work, I let him do some sewing. He began coming to school every day, for the first time in his life.

Most embarrassing moment?

I can't switch off. I was in America recently, for my 40th birthday, when I saw a children's newspaper that I thought might be useful back at school. I found myself asking for copies, even though I was supposed to be enjoying myself on holiday. It's not embarrassing, just a little bit worrying

Sadie Powells, 40, was talking to Steven Hastings


1988-1999: Worked for NatWest as a cashier and in customer services

1999-2006: Teaching assistant in various schools, and working towards Qualified Teacher Status from Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln

2006-present: Year 3 and 4 teacher, South Witham Primary School, Lincolnshire.

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