Early Career Teachers: Meet the teachers


The Early Career Teachers programme is our response to Early Careers Framework.

Across the country, we have a community of over 14,000 educators taking part in the programme – working together to keep getting better and give new teachers the best support during their important first years of teaching. This series introduces some of the wonderful educators in the ECT community.

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Libby Isaac

Assistant Headteacher for Teaching and Learning, The Seckford Education Trust in Suffolk.

Libby is the induction coordinator for Early Career Teachers. She also hosts a radio show on Teacher Talk Radio, and tweets @libbyisaac. Meet Libby to talk skipping, sleeping in school, and why the Early Careers Framework is so exciting. 

What was the first career you dreamed of having when you were young?

Either a professional snowboarder or a radio presenter!

If you weren’t a teacher, and could do any other job, what would it be?

I would love to be a radio presenter, or an Egyptologist. I studied Egyptology for my first year at University as I thought I could model my career around the leading lady in the Mummy films. I found out quite quickly that a lot of Ancient Egypt had already been discovered! But I would still love to do this.

When you were at school, how would your teachers have described you?

Very sociable! Confident, determined and headstrong, but also an incredibly hard worker.

What’s one thing that makes your school special?  

Each of our schools are very small, we always know the students by name, and have an "each and every student" mantra. We also offer a 2 hour enrichment program every single week for each of our students, to help them experience new things and to help bring a curriculum alive.

What's your favourite thing about the pupils you teach?

It would be the buzz of interest and learning, the way they can almost compete when wanting to answer or ask a question. Knowing you have them when there is utter silence and respect for what you are explaining and talking through.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Passionate about my subject, interested in them, scary (in the sense I have very high expectations.)

What’s the funniest/strangest thing a pupil has said to you?

When a student asked if the body of staff all lived in the school and where we slept at night.

What’s the most exciting thing about the changes in the Early Career Framework to the way we support new teachers? (Read about the changes here)

The fact it is no longer a tick box of standards, that there is a real coaching, mentoring element, where new teachers can feel supported and not rushed through a standard. They can go back to things if they need more time and practice. That the school has to really invest in them as people and employers.

What’s the last new thing you learned (or the last thing you got better at)? 

How to make my computer full screen, F11. Seems very silly, but mine was not for a long time and it wouldn't let me access certain technological things within certain programs.

What's your favourite quote?

"It takes a village to raise a child."

If you were to set a Guinness world record, what would it be for?

Whistling! Or skipping with a rope.

Finally... what’s your ‘ECT ambition’ for your time working on the Early Career Teachers programme?

Mine is to fight for time, making sure the mentors have the right amount of time with their delegated ECT. That the headteachers are all aware how important the new mentor role is within a school and for supporting the Early Careers teacher within the school.

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Ali Raybould

Year 2 teacher, Heartwood CE VC Primary in Norfolk

What was the first career you dreamed of having when you were young?

I wanted to be an astronomer- I never wanted to go to space but I wanted to study planets and stars.

If you weren’t a teacher, and could do any other job, what would it be?

Sounding so cliché but now I’m teaching I really couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Does it count if I say I’d love to move abroad to teach? My friends went to Singapore, I have other friends in Kuala Lumpur- I think if I could do anything it would be use my teaching to pack the kids up and explore the world.

When you were at school, how would your teachers have described you?

Attentive in class. Terrible at time management with homework.

What’s one thing that makes your school special?  (or unusual, or exciting, or different)

Our school is going through a huge transformation at the moment. We have new leadership, a new vision- plus we are going from infant to primary so suddenly we have an influx of much larger young people with all their curriculum needs and challenges. It’s really exciting to be in the midst of these changes because we’ve already come so far. Our school is amazing.

What's your favourite thing about the pupils you teach?

Their little personalities. They are so funny - some of these kids are incredibly witty! They just come into school in their own way. Every one of them is so special and I’m lucky to be their teacher.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

I think the children in my class would call me “silly”. I hope they’d call me kind and know I’m always there for them. I’m quite firm with my behaviour expectations so maybe that too. We have a nice balance.

What’s the funniest/strangest thing a pupil has said to you?

When we were voting for the name for our class pet (a giant African landsnail) a child looked me square in the eyes and said “His name should be Catawat of course” - like there was never any other option. Catawat, of course. How silly of me…

What’s the most exciting thing about the changes in the Early Career Framework to the way we support new teachers? 

I love the structure and method of coaching to really support the early career teacher.

What’s the last new thing you learned (or the last thing you got better at)? 

My husband’s mobile number by heart! I’ve been trying for ages- it’s so hard to learn phone numbers these days.

What's your favourite quote?

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.'

If you were to set a Guinness world record, what would it be for?

Batch cooking?! I love prepping food.

Finally... what’s your ‘ECT ambition’ for your time working on the Early Career Teachers programme?

I’m going to follow the programme closely, keep up with targets and prove it works!


Thank you to Libby and Ali for answering our questions! If you would like to share your own answers as part of our ‘meet the teacher’ series, you can take part at this link – and we might include your blog in a future digest.

Early Career Teachers

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