United Teaching Blog

Cate Kay Paddington Academy United Teaching

"There have been a few surprises..."


Trainee English teacher Cate was used to long hours and short deadlines from her former career in the media. So how did teaching line up with her expectations?

Teaching is exactly as I imagined, and yet also completely different. The pride you feel when a student does well; the occasional late night spent marking and trying to get on top of planning; the adrenaline of getting a class onside - these are all in line with what I expected. But on the other hand, there have been a few surprises; notably, I didn't expect to feel so well supported by my colleagues, and I also didn't quite realise how changeable class dynamics can be!

My highlights so far have been managing to learn names (I'm terrible for names, but I've got there!), getting to know the students, and receiving appreciation cards from my students at the end of the half term.

I used to work in the media, and the job is completely different to my old career. Even though we worked against hard deadlines and pulled long hours in my previous job, the pace of teaching is so much more intense. Every hour of every day there is action of some sort and you often find yourself doing three things at once. The holidays are definitely needed, and deserved. I expected the biggest shock to the system to be no longer being able to work from home, but actually I really don't miss it - I would miss the school community too much and being in the hub of all the activity.

After half term, I’m really looking forward to teaching my Year 10s poetry, seeing the school production of ‘Oliver’ and catching up with fellow trainees.

One key thing I’ve learnt over the past few weeks is to r-e-l-a-x! I wish I could go back in time to before I started teaching, or in the first week or two of it, and tell myself that there is no need to worry. I’ve been so well supported with United Teaching and within my department, it’s really helped me.


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