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'You feel you've done something good with your day '

Name Julie Elmy Age 41

Current post Teaching French and German at Kingsmead community school, a language college in Wiveliscombe, Somerset

Career to date?

I did a languages degree and spent a year in schools in France. At the time, I thought: "Oh no, I can't do this." It was only after having my own children that I thought: "Oh yes I can." I did the graduate teacher programme last year. I was a learning support assistant for four years after having a career break with my children. Before that, I was an executive officer at the Land Registry, and before that I was in retail management with a supermarket.

Why did you become a teacher?

It was through my children. I was involved with playgroup. Then, as a learning support assistant, I took more active roles, taking half-classes and small groups. I found I really got a buzz out of it. Having had the career break and worked in schools, I couldn't bear to go back to the office work I'd been doing. It was just too monotonous. Languages have been a passion for me since I started learning French and German. I've done a lot of travelling and I like talking. It's such a pleasure to go to another country and see a language at work - and to see children catch that same enthusiasm is a real pleasure.

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

I'm very involved in ICT. We all have interactive whiteboards here. Our county adviser asked me to lead some training using these whiteboards, so that was a thrill. I have also done some primary teaching because of our language college commitment, and the pupils are very enthusiastic.

And the worst?

A demanding Year 10 class. It's a challenge to teach kids who don't want to be there. But we're making headway. They're learning in spite of themselves.

What do you like most about teaching?

I like sharing my enthusiasm, and when pupils leave the classroom saying, "Yeah, that was brilliant" and you overhear it - you feel you've done something good with your day.

What is your dream job?

I'd like to be in the classroom. I don't see myself going into management. I don't want to go back to paperwork. And I'd like to do more ICT work.

Top tip?

Spend some time in a school and soak it all up. See if it feels right. Being an LSA convinced me that I could do it. But I think it would have been quite a shock to walk in and become a teacher without being used to the hurly-burly of classroom life.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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