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 thousands of teachers and leaders 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.

louise.jpg

Louise

Mentor teaching Year 4 at Sketchley Hill Primary School in Burbage

In this quickfire Q&A we’re meeting Louise, a mentor in Leicestershire. Louise teaches a Year 4 class at Sketchley Hill Primary School in Burbage. In her quickfire Q&A she tells us how to remember Roman numerals, her musical talent, and why their school is like one big family.

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

I dreamed of being a musician

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

Professional flutist

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

Quiet, polite, shy

What’s one thing that makes your school special?

It is one big family, the amount of support people give to each other is amazing

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

Their sense of humour. They always make me smile

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Firm but fair

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

What part of Ireland are you from? (I’m Scottish!)

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

It clear what need to be done and the support that is in place

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

Roman numerals can be remembered using: I value xylophones like cows do milk.

What's your favourite quote?

Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

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

Most time spent reading. I love a good book!

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

To become a strong support to successful early career teachers.

Bodsham-Church-of-England-Primary-School.jpg

Catherine

KS1 teacher at Bodsham Church of England Primary School in Ashford, Kent

In this quickfire Q&A we’re meeting Catherine, an early career teacher teaching KS1 at Bodsham Church of England Primary School in Ashford, Kent.  In her quickfire Q&A she tells us why she’d enjoy being an estate agent, what animal you can see from their school, and haunted classrooms...

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

Teacher... or journalist

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

An estate agent - so I could nose around houses.

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

Polite, completes work on time, quiet.

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

The rural location - you can see deers!

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

Excitement - they are so enthusiastic to do well and tell me things.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Funny, kind and caring. I know this as I have asked them!

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

That there is an old lady which regularly sits in our class. Several children at different times have said this. I wonder if we have a haunted classroom.

What's your favourite quote?

"Just because it is happening in your head, doesn't mean it's not real." Dumbledore, Harry Potter.

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

For holding the biggest cat in the world, the longest!

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

I've been learning lots about computing as I teach it.

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

That it filters into further career development.

books-1419617.jpeg

Kathryn Leese

English teacher in Manchester

In this quickfire Q&A we’re meeting Kathryn Leese, an early career teacher on the programme who teaches English in Manchester. She tells us about behaviour management, Shakespeare quotes... and how one pupil reacted to her hair colour!

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

Becoming a teacher.

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

I would work for the NHS.

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

Energetic, hard working and friendly.

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

Staff support each other.

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

Their unique characters.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Firm but fair.

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

"Miss, why is your hair red?"

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

The content that is used to support our development.

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

Behaviour management strategies for a tricky class.

What's your favourite quote?

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here" - Shakespeare.

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

Books marked!

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

To become the best I can possibly be at my job.

la4pQspc_400x400.jpg

Leon

KS2 teacher and mentor on Early Career Teachers at Winsor Primary in Beckton

In this quickfire Q&A we’re meeting Leon, a KS2 teacher and mentor on Early Career Teachers at Winsor Primary in Beckton. In his interview he tells us about the job he’d do if he wasn’t teaching, his favourite thing about his pupils, and what he would hold a world record in...

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

A knight in shining armour.

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

Historic walking tour guide.

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

Hardworking but needs to improve his presentation!

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

The huge mix of nationalities represented at our school.

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

How inquisitive they are.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Strict!

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

"Sometimes I eat lego."

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

How practical it is with clear, concrete examples of what good practice is, routed in research.

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

Speaking Portuguese.

What's your favourite quote?

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

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

Eating crisps.

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

To see my mentee grow and develop as a teacher.

Jayne Rodgers.jpg

Jayne Rodgers

Year 1 class teacher at Green Top Primary School in Doncaster

This week, we’re meeting Jayne Rodgers, a Year 1 class teacher at Green Top Primary School in Doncaster. Janye is a mentor on Early Career Teachers, and in her quickfire Q&A she tells us why Green Top is a magical place to work, her memories of her own induction period as a new teacher... and why her career in archaeology never got off the ground.

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

An archaeologist - but I couldn’t spell it so I changed my mind quite quickly.

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

Rockstar…but I can’t sing either, unfortunately.

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

Chatterbox. My friends’ parents used to call me Giddy Annie!

What’s one thing that makes your school special?

Inspirational leadership, awesome staff and amazing children!

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

Their resilience and curiosity.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Funny…not sure if they mean in a comedy or peculiar sense!

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

While teaching the Easter story in RE, a girl asked me for the spelling of ‘Cockroach’ - because apparently that is what Peter denied Christ three times before….hilarious!

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

I remember my induction period to be mountains of paperwork and stress. I love how the ECTs can follow our models and incorporate them into their practice.

What’s the last new thing you learned

Our CPD sessions are geared so that we learn new things all the time - but more importantly how we can pass on this learning to our kids.

What's your favourite quote?

"You don’t stop dancing because you get old, you get old because you stop dancing."

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

Going to gigs….live music was the one thing I missed during lockdown. Making up for it now though!

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

To pass on the good practice that I have been privileged to encounter since working at Green Top. It truly is a magical place to work.

It’s also to ensure that my ECT doesn’t lose her awesome enthusiasm for this wonderful profession!

Pic.jpg

Francesca

Second in Faculty for English, City Academy Bristol

Francesca is a secondary school mentor in Bristol. She is Second in Faculty for English at City Academy Bristol. In her quickfire Q&A, she tells us about being an artisan baker, her love of leopard print, and learning along together with her early career teacher. 

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

I quite fancied being a chef, lawyer, and teacher. I actually was an artisan baker and pastry chef before training to be a teacher! Working in law never happened though…

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

Having joined the teaching profession in my thirties, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few other jobs and careers. If I could do any other job now it would probably be a restaurant critic, because good food makes me very happy!

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

Quiet, diligent, witty, hard-working, not naturally gifted at sport but always gives it a go.

What’s one thing that makes your school special? 

Our school values: Grit, Honesty and Team Spirit! Our amazing staff and students embody these values every single day.

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

The humour - teenagers are hilarious and never fail to make me smile.

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

Too many to mention! Recently we were revising similes and a student proudly announced: “Miss, a simile is a facial expression you make when you are happy!” - this one made me smile.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Loves leopard print. A lot.

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

The idea of early career teachers having a coach who is able to model and practise action steps with you, and knowing that this support will be there for two years, reassures teachers that there is dedicated time and resource to enable their development and growth.

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

I joined a rowing club - so I am in the process of getting better on the ergometer!

What's your favourite quote?

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” - Maya Angelou.

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

Most variety of leopard print worn in one outfit.

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

I aim to keep learning alongside my early career teacher and improving my own practice as a result. My early career teacher is wonderful and I have already learnt lots from her. Long may this continue!

sf

Catherine Rushton

Assistant Principal for Teaching & Learning, The Nicholas Hammond Academy

Cat is an induction coordinator on the programme in Norfolk, and Assistant Principal for Teaching & Learning at The Nicholas Hammond Academy. In her quickfire Q&A she tells us about asking why, dressing up as a scientist, and how Early Career Teachers is already having an impact. You can follow Cat on Twitter at: @CatherineRust2.

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

I always dreamed of studying science (especially biology) to do something - I was not sure what until later on!

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

Physiotherapist, I am fascinated by how the body works and how the muscles/skeleton are involved in movement.

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

Challenging. I loved to debate and question everything they said. My teachers probably got sick of my constant need for clarification and asking “why why why?!”

What’s one thing that makes your school special?

Team spirit. We embody TeamNHA! The support the amazing staff provide for students and each other is unrivalled!

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

Their sense of humour, even when they don’t realise they are being funny. Never a dull moment. Laugh lots, enjoy their company, and suddenly teaching isn’t a chore!

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

I should probably ask them. I’m going to guess strict but fair. I’d like to think they’d say I explain things carefully so they understand and listen to their concerns, be that about learning or anything else.

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

I asked my students how I could make them learn better in science. They said by me dressing up as famous scientists. I’m actually quite up for it!

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

The graduated approach that carefully covers the multitude of skills required as a teacher. I’ve already seen this having impact!

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

Applying ADHD strategies to my classroom. I am working on this as part of my personal IQ and have learned how to more effectively support students with ADHD…. This is still a work in progress but really enjoyed trying new strategies.

What's your favourite quote?

“Comparison is the thief of joy” - I don’t know who said it but I believe it applies to so many situations! We should all focus on ourselves, our own progress and achievements without comparison. Someone always appears better or worse, that’s not important. Let’s get better for ourselves and help others along the way!

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

Multitasking….. so many plates to spin

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

To support our cohort of ECTs both in my role as visiting fellow and induction coordinator, with the end result being well-rounded confident professionals, ready to contribute to the teaching profession!

Imageblog.jpg

Alice Bayes

Maths teacher, Ashfield Comprehensive

Alice is a maths teacher at Ashfield Comprehensive in Nottinghamshire – she tells us about marking books, being too enthusiastic for a Monday morning, and what Guiness world record she would hold.. You can follow Alice on Twitter at: @AliceBayes. 

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

A teacher - ever since the age of 4!

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

Honestly I'm not sure, definitely not a standard Maths graduate role!

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

Asks too many questions! (I'd still argue there's no such thing, but I haven't had to teach me!)

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

Including the sixth form it’s the biggest school in the country. Thank goodness my short legs can stay in the Maths block.

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

I never know what's going to come out of their mouths - I'm still trying to figure out what's going on in their heads!

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

Energetic (perhaps too much for a Monday morning) and she doesn't give up!

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

When doing well at a task, "Miss, I'm Frankie Einstein!" - meaning clever like Albert Einstein, but confusing it with Frankenstein!

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)

My mentor's time is protected and funded, so I know when he's supporting me he has the time to do so.

What’s the last new thing you learned?

Marking books can be quick and easy when you're supported by your department!

What's your favourite quote?

"It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul." - Sofia Kovalevskaya

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

For the most tasks started before finishing the first one! (I'm working on it!)

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

To see my students finish this year and feel like I've done them justice.

HAPARKINSON.jpg

Hannah Parkinson

Year 3 and 4 teacher, Slaithwaite CE J & I school

Hannah is a Year 3 and 4 class teacher at Slaithwaite CE J & I school, and in her quickfire Q&A she’s talking outdoor learning, teaching teddies and watching England win the world cup... You can follow Hannah on Twitter @MissHAParkinson

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

I have always dreamed of being a teacher - ever since I used to line my teddies up and teach them what I had learnt at school that day!

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

It would definitely be a job involving helping children. I have always had a particular interest in SEND so it would probably be linking to that somehow too!

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

I was always that child at school that would be the teacher’s own personal assistant - I would do the laminating and any jobs that they needed doing! I would like to think I would be described as helpful!

What’s one thing that makes your school special?

My school is an extremely exciting place to work, mainly due to the great facilities on offer to the children. They have an amazing outdoor learning experience with a fantastic woodland space, an allotment, a pond and an outdoor learning cabin.

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

My favourite thing is that no matter how much work I have to do or how stressed I feel that day, the children always manage to put a smile on my face! I never know what they’re going to come out with next but I love hearing all their stories and ideas. We have a really good time!

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

I would hope they’d say I’m caring, funny and smart.

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

Before the football this summer one of my pupils asked if I remember watching England win the world cup the first time - I’m 22!

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

I feel like there will be more support for me as an early career teacher, and I like how there are now so many materials available for me to develop my professional practice.

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

My school teaches pupils French, which has never been a strong point of mine after studying Spanish until A-level, so I have definitely had to learn a lot - but I’m enjoying learning along with the children and developing a new language!

What's your favourite quote?

“I’m a teacher. What’s your superpower?”

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

Being the clumsiest person in the world!

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

I can’t wait to learn as much as I can about how to be the best teacher I can be for the children in my class and become an outstanding teacher.

MicrosoftTeams-image (35).png

Declan Forde

Teacher, Asfordby Hill Primary School

Declan is an early career teacher on the programme, and teaches a year 5 class at Asfordby Hill Primary School in Leicestershire. Here he talks bad jokes, quality CPD and lost interactive whiteboard remotes. You can follow Declan on Twitter @forde_mr.

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

Through primary school, I had many different careers I thought about, including: scientist, lawyer, detective, doctor, vet and zoologist.

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

I was extremely interested in (and nearly pursued) law in sixth form, so I’d be intrigued to see where that took me!

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

Quiet and shy, but easily distracted!

What’s one thing that makes your school special? 

The sense of community amongst school staff, parents, children and all other stakeholders; I noticed this immediately on my first visit and it still rings true now.

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

I love that they make my day brighter, every day. There are definitely tough days in teaching, but it takes one joke or funny comment from my pupils to brighten my day.

How do you think your pupils would describe you?

I can say (with complete certainty) that they would say that my jokes are awful, but I think they are hilarious!

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

“Mr Forde, this isn’t water down my back, it’s just lots of sweat” - my support staff and I thought it was equally hilarious yet gross!

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

The most exciting change has to be the entitlement to quality CPD. Although some of the content in the first ECT conference wasn’t new (it had appeared on my initial teacher training), it was brilliant to engage with these concepts with the visiting fellows and other ECTs to gain a variety of perspectives.

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

I’ve just worked through a routines module and coaching cycle. My mentor and I decided to work on my “think pair share” routine with cold calling. The small changes made to how I introduced this routine made sure my pupils knew clearly what my expectations were for this routine and makes “talk pair share” much more beneficial.

What's your favourite quote?

Don’t reinvent the wheel” - the first piece of advice from my first placement mentor. Wellbeing should be at the forefront of everything.

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

For the most time spent thinking I’ve lost my interactive whiteboard remote when it’s actually in my back pocket.

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

Continually develop my practice so I can make an impact for my pupils.

MicrosoftTeams-image (30).png

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.

MicrosoftTeams-image (29).png

Ali Raybould

Year 2 teacher, Heartwood CE VC Primary in Norfolk

Ali is a year 2 teacher at Heartwood CE VC Primary in Norfolk, who is mentoring on the programme. Here, she talks batch cooking, courage and giant African land snails. You can follow Ali @RaybsLearning

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 all the teachers, mentors and induction coordinators who have taken part in the series for sharing their stories. 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

Find out more

Click here