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'You meet so many different challenges along the way'

Name: Helen Woodward.

Age: 22.

Career to date?

I went to university in Bedford and took a BEd honours course in PE. I began teaching at Lodge Park technology college in Corby, Northamptonshire, last September.

Why did you become a teacher?

I was brought up in a teaching family. My parents have both been teachers. I loved sport at school and becoming a PE teacher was the only thing I could see myself doing. I got on really well with my PE teacher at school, and she encouraged me to help out at summer camps in the holidays - to get me in tune with working with young people. I just loved it from the start - seeing the difference I made to them with the skills I have.

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

Taking charge of the hockey. I help to coach the senior team and they recently won their first match ever. That was a big thing for them - and for me, too. It was great to be there with them helping them through it.

And the worst?

Illness at work. At the end of last term, I just could not shake off some of the bugs that were flying around the school.

What do you like most about teaching?

The relationships with the kids - also with the rest of the staff. In any other job, you're working with adults. I prefer to have a complete range - you've got the children coming in fresh from primary school, and it's my first year and theirs too. Then you meet Year 11 who have already made their mark on the school. I love working with people from all walks of life - you meet so many different challenges along the way.

What is your dream job?

People have told me that apparently PE teachers make good heads, but I don't know whether I want to go along that line. I'd definitely like to be a head of department. I'd also like to go into external coaching - and maybe use the school's facilities and encourage kids from outside to get involved.

Top tip?

Be organised and pace yourself. So many people want to grab you in your first week at school. Just be aware of how long it's going to take you to settle in. You learn something new every day so don't be surprised about that. It's quite hard work, but it does get easier.

Interview Martin Whittaker

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