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What Is It Really Like To Be A Teacher?

To help you decide if teaching is the career for you, our wonderful community of teachers within our partner schools have taken time to share some of their thoughts and experiences. In the Teacher Case Studies section below you can read about what a typical teaching day looks like, the benefits, rewards and challenges of teaching from those actually teaching and their words of advice for anyone considering joining the profession. There are further Teacher Case Studies in the Subjects section of our website.

The A Day in the Life of Videos section contains two short videos:

  • In A Day in the Life of a Teacher, current teachers Pete Marsh (Biology) and Emily Lister (Geography) from Weydon School in Farnham, Surrey talk to SCITT Director Maria Mezzullo about what a typical day entails. From the start of the day through to home time they look at managing behaviour, tutor responsibilities, extra-curricular and professional development opportunities, duty times and much more.
  • In A Day in the Life of an i2i Trainee, current i2i trainees Ben Roberts (Music) and Alice Ruffle (MFL) chat to Maria about life as a trainee, including professional study days, teaching a class for the very first time, the highlights, the challenges, and why they love what they do.

If these case studies and videos inspire you and you would like to find out more about training to teach with i2i then please complete our Enquiry Form  and a member of our team will be in touch.

The i2i SCITT is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. We expect all staff and trainees to share this commitment.

Teacher Case Studies

Kate - Design Technology Teacher and Year 8 Form Tutor at Amery Hill School. 

How and why did you become a teacher? 

I did my degree in Textile Design and then 2 years as an assistant designer for a yarn manufacturer. This was not the right career for me with no progression. I thought that there would be plenty of opportunities as a teacher to progress and develop. I have always been keen to help others learn the skills and knowledge that I have.

Please describe a typical day in your role 

A typical day involves arriving about 40 minutes before students arrive in order to get prepared for the day. Answering emails to colleagues and parents and messages to students. Some mornings we have a staff briefing lasting 10 minutes and then I have my tutor group. We have a 6 period day of 50 minutes long. Most days I teach 5 or 6 lessons. At the end of the day we may have a meeting, parent's evening or CPD training but not every night. I may need to deal with any incidents that have happened during the day or requests from other staff to complete something.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

I enjoy showing and teaching young minds as much as I can about my subject DT but also allowing them and helping them become independent learners and thinkers. I think DT lends itself to this very well.

What do you believe are the main skills you need to work as a secondary school teacher?

Patience, resilience, good sense of humour

Please tell us a little about the benefits/rewards and career development opportunities that come by joining the teaching profession.

There is an endless list of possibilities within teaching and you can go in whatever direction suits you and as far as you want to go.

What advice would you give someone wanting to become a teacher?

If you have a passion and enthusiasm for your subject and want to pass that onto others. Don't try to do everything at once and be able to say "no" now and then. Take the lows with the highs but just try to remember the highs.

Charlotte - Design Technology Teacher at Weydon School specialising in Textiles. Trained teacher for 4 years. Progress and Achievement Leader (PAL) for 2 and a half years and Head of Textiles for 1 year.

Please describe the key elements of your current role 

My teaching role largely consists of planning to ensure the lesson is always appropriate for the students. This also largely crosses over with my role as Head of Textiles. Once I have planned and taught the lesson, I really like to be reflective and review how well it went and where amendments can be made in order to make the lesson better next time I teach it. Giving the students feedback and checking their understanding is also a vital element which I undertake on a weekly basis. Building positive relationships is a large part of both my teaching and PAL role. This enables the classroom to become a positive and safe environment where the students feel safe to take risks. My PAL role takes up a large proportion of my week and this could involve a huge range of elements from setting a tutor programme to helping to solve behaviour issues. The role is truly endless and hugely rewarding.

How and why did you become a teacher?

When I was 13 and picking my GCSE options, my Art Teacher asked me what I wanted to do. I said a hairdresser. I was never a high flyer and never felt confident at school. She spoke to me about university and made me feel like I could achieve anything. She said about the possibility of being a teacher which felt alien to me because this was something I never considered. But since that point, I became very focused on achieving that goal. I attended an inner city school which had very limited opportunities. The most important thing to me as a teacher and PAL is making students feel like they can achieve their goals and ambitions no matter how big or small they might be. I also feel very passionate about children just being happy and I know school is a vital part of this.

Please describe a typical day in your role

I typically arrive at school around 8am due to a 35/40 minute commute. I then spend around 30 minutes looking/replying to my emails as I could receive anything from 40-70 emails a day! By 8:40, I am either talking to individual students within my year group or walking around the tutor base to support the tutor team or just see the great activities they are getting up to. 3 days of the week I teach all day so on these days, I am whizzing around setting the lesson up. This may involve getting out fabric, resources, equipment etc. On days where I am slightly lighter and not teaching all day, I tried to walk around lessons at least once a day to see my year group and try to catch them being great. I would also use this time to liaise with team members, have link meetings or catch up on planning/student feedback. After 3:30, I am typically either in a CPD session, meeting, holding a Year 11 spotlight session or doing more planning/ prepping of resources for the next day. I typically get home around 5:30 and 3/5 days a week will do an additional hour of work once I am home.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

The relationships I develop with the students and seeing they develop/ grow. I love seeing the students go from Year 7 to Year 11 and become people we are proud of who are ready to move onto college or apprenticeships and take on the world. When they get back in touch to tell you what they are up to is just so rewarding and makes me feel very proud.

What are the biggest challenge(s) you encounter in your profession?

Time. Always time! I never feel like I have enough time to plan and give feedback to ensure the students are getting the best deal on top of trying to do tasks such as learning walks or staff pop-ins. I have learnt that it is absolutely vital to prioritise and use the team around you. I am very lucky in DT, we have a fantastic team who are very supportive and a great sounding board.

What do you believe are the main skills you need to work as a secondary school teacher?

Resilience is vital. You will spend 4 hours planning a lesson which goes completely wrong. Having the ability to not only bounce back but bounce back quickly is imperative. But always remember, the next day is a new one and another opportunity to make an impact. Being open minded and relatable is also key. Not all students come from loving, caring homes which are supportive and it is down to you to help bridge this gap and make them feel school is a great place to be.

Please tell us a little about the benefits/rewards and career development opportunities that come by joining the teaching profession.

The camaraderie of working with people through a tough job really keeps me going. It contributes to loving where I work and is another thing which makes me feel committed to working at Weydon. I have been tremendously lucky that leadership believe in me and have given me the opportunity to progress very quickly. Not only have I progressed quickly but I have been supported throughout with the opportunity to always complete CPD such as NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership)

What advice would you give someone wanting to become a teacher?

Ensure you are at the right stage in your life to commit that amount of time required. Have a great network around you at home for support and be opened minded to working in various schools. 



A Day in the Life of Videos

A Day in the Life of a Teacher

A Day in the Life of a Trainee Teacher



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