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"After graduating, it took me a while to find a job and following a short spell of temping, I got offered a position as 'Cover Supervisor' in a Secondary school in my home town. Not knowing entirely what it would entail to begin with made the role exciting and since I have had the opportunity to work alongside members of SLT (Senior Leadership Team), it has been an invaluable and insightful experience in a thriving educational institution.
The Cover Supervisor title is a role that the government created as a sort of loop hole - I am someone who is always on the school site and can get asked to cover a lesson either in advance if a member of staff is off, or last minute if someone falls ill. It basically saves them money because they don't have to employ as many traditional 'supply teachers'. I'm also a part of the Sixth Form management team so when I'm not covering lessons, I'm involved with something to do with them.
My contract has since been extended and I can say with ease that I love my job. Due to the nature of the environment and the challenges that a large comprehensive school and its students brings, every day is varied, one day I could be covering in English all day and the next I could be mentoring Sixth Form students in need of some advice on revision, university or just coping with stress.
The communication, leadership and organisation of my workplace is outstanding and I applied for the job with a view to going into teaching, though I wasn't sure to start with. Two months in, and I was certain that teaching was the career for me, so to boost my English credentials (to go with my degree in Journalism), I enrolled for an online course at the University of Oxford in Critical Reading, which provided a solid foundation (and refreshed my memory) in English literature. I had also been thinking about doing a masters for some time, so by doing a PGCE next September, I can gain that qualification while also becoming a specialist in a subject I love, in a profession that I adore."
CLARE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CHESTER
"'You're new!' was the first thing Oscar said to me when he met me for the first time. I replied in autopilot, 'So are you!' Oscar liked this, though it took him by surprise, and with a naughty giggle and a cheeky smile ran off to construct a 'bear's cave' from Lego. I am about to embark on my first graduate job as an Early Years Teacher which from the start promises to be full of unexpected challenges and rewarding moments.
I chose to teach children under the age of 5 as I found during my PGCE year at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University, that I loved the way which this year group makes you think on your feet and constantly be creative to ensure that learning is relevant, accessible and exciting. I was looking for a career that enabled me to work as part of a team, yet give me the opportunity to be creative and explore my own ideas to achieve set goals. Early years teaching met these criteria perfectly.
I had previously experienced working in public relations and I found the skills I had learnt during this time invaluable for my career choice. PR taught me the need to be observant and to respond not only to what people say but also what they fail to say.
When monitoring and recording children's early stages of development this ability to be acutely aware of children's actions was very useful and constructive. Encouraging and moulding independent learners and developing confident inquisitive young people is never endingly fascinating and motivating. There is never a dull moment when children are not afraid to express themselves and explore the world around them and at this age they never fail to amaze me with their perspective on the world. I imagine I will learn as much from them as they hopefully will learn from me!"
MILES, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY