Are there things you wish you'd been taught?
You’re not just dealing with the children, you're dealing with parents as well. I've been a parent longer than I've been a teacher, and I totally sympathise with parents. It's really difficult and frustrating when you come into a school and you're hearing not-so-great news about your child - this is a person you love and care and worry about. But most of my experience with parents has been the same as with pupils - I've been really lucky. But handling bad news is something I think the universities and colleges don't teach. They teach you how to teach your subject, they teach you how to hold a restorative conversation with a child, but they don’t teach a person how to give out bad news. And sometimes it's just the nature of the job - you will have to give out bad news.
Are there things you think can't be taught?
Yes. I think that's one of the most important aspects about being a teacher - that what you do is you stand up in front of 20 students and you open up who you are. You have to be honest, you can't come in every day and do the job and pretend to be something you're not. And you might get observed and a teacher might say 'well you need to be harder, you need to be firmer, and you need to be patrolling the length of the classroom.' But if you're not that type of person and you try and be that type of person, and you're going to find the job a lot tougher to do.
But equally, when you're open and honest with students, they'll let you know exactly what kind of person you are. And you hope that what you're seeing back is someone that cares, someone that worries about them, someone that wants them to do well.
What do you wish people knew people knew about being a teacher?
It's a challenging job and it's not for everyone and you go through emotional rollercoasters because it's a very mentally draining job, but when I hit those highs, I'm so glad I came into the profession. There are so many things I've done in the last nine years of being a teacher. You can ski with students, you can go to football grounds, you can assist in rugby.
You won't find another job with so much diversity available to you. And so much personal pride at the end of it as well. I don't think you'll find another job that can give you that at the end of it.