Want to get into teaching? Read on to find out how you can be mentored by Gemma too
Gemma Clark, 32, is head teacher at Tymberwood Academy in Kent – in the two years since she started she has seen pupils’ results improve by 50 per cent. She also advises struggling schools across London and trains other academic professionals. Here, she gives her top tips on making it as a teacher…
‘You need to be resilient. The days are long – sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re tough.’
‘I’m a bit of a geek. Every night I prepare my to-do list for the next day. As a teacher you have so many tasks, and if you’re not organised you can easily get bogged down.’
‘Many people learn best by trying things for themselves. I can say, “You need to do it like this, or think like that,” but it can be hard for people to picture what you’re saying.’
‘If you’re bored, so are your students. Creativity makes life easier. If you’re excited about teaching, 99 per cent of the time the people you’re teaching are, too.’
‘You need to be patient. Often, pupils won’t understand what you’re saying the first time round. You might need to find one way of teaching something to ten children and another way for the rest. But then you’ll get them coming to show you their work and they’re so excited – that’s a lovely part of the day.’
‘I set myself mini challenges. And I try not to get frustrated if things aren’t completed in time. You only have a certain amount of hours in a school day, so it’s not always going to go perfectly.’
‘There are lots of routes into teaching. Not everyone has the same opportunities, and I get to train people who have perhaps done a PGCE later on, or started out as a teaching assistant.’
Interested in a career in teaching? The Department for Education offers various means of support for those looking to start their teaching career, including tax free bursaries and scholarships to support people while in training.
A useful website providing information on the different routes into teaching and the support available is Get Into Teaching.