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Learning from experience…

Many new teachers embark on their careers with the ambition of making a difference to the lives of their pupils. But for many, what they quickly realised is how this career enables them to continue their own education and personal development. Here, three probationer teachers share what they have learned since they qualified.

Meredith Robinson, Probationary Teacher at Buckstone Primary School in Edinburgh

“In this job, every day is different and demanding. It keeps it interesting, but it also made me appreciate I still, and always will, have a lot to learn to keep inspiring passion in my pupils.”

Meredith joined the teaching profession with hopes of giving others the great school experience she had enjoyed herself, but soon found the job to give so much more: “There is a lot to take in during the first year as you find your feet, but I’ve been amazed at how quickly I’ve adapted to my new surroundings and new challenges. I’ve found there to be a great sense of community in the teaching profession – my colleagues are extremely supportive, as ultimately, we are all working towards being the best we can be for our pupils and our wider community. That makes even the most challenging days so rewarding and worthwhile.”

Sarah Dawson, Primary Teacher, Dyce Primary School, Aberdeen

“My plan to become a teacher went off track for a few years as I wanted to gain some life experience, I was working for Aberdeen University promoting the PGDE course and I thought “It’s time for me to do this!” I took on various placements in a school whilst working full time and quickly realised this was my calling. I knew this is the job I was meant to do.

From time spent volunteering and working in casual teaching positions to gain experience, I knew what to expect from teaching my first lesson, but I was unprepared for the sheer buzz I got from doing it. My first day flew by and I couldn’t believe the range of activities and lessons available to teach the children. Although it is an intense job, my love and passion for being a teacher has not changed.”

Nicola Kierny, Drama Teacher, Williamwood High School, Glasgow

“I’ve been surprised in my role by how much I’ve learned from the pupils and how teaching has pushed me to become a better version of myself. I’ve had wonderful lessons and difficult lessons all within the same day, and that forces you to be at the top of your game. It can be incredibly hard work, but the pupils keep you going – if you try for them they will always try back for you.

One common theme that was recognised by each of these new teachers, is that by putting their all into the profession they’ve not only helped their pupils to learn and develop, but they’ve seen themselves grow in equal measure. “All whilst”, Nicola concluded, “doing a job which makes you feel amazed, proud and honoured every single day.”