A vibrant new career
Zainab Kasmani, trainee primary school teacher
When she graduated with a degree in English language and communication, Zainab wasn’t sure she was ready to head straight into teacher training. She took tentative steps at first, completing a starter course and then teaching English abroad. Four years working for the NHS followed, before she decided she was in a position to commit to a career in teaching.
“During my time at the NHS, I realised that it definitely wasn’t for me,” Zainab says. “So I started thinking about the other options. I thought about speech and language therapy and teaching children with special needs. I thought, ‘The only way I’m going to know for certain if teaching is the right career for me, is if I go part-time at work and volunteer in a school’.”
She continues: “I volunteered at a local primary school for two days a week and from the moment I walked in to my first class, it felt very natural to be interacting with children.”
Zainab also found there were plenty of skills from her previous role that she could bring to the classroom: “In my previous role I learnt a lot about diversity issues. I had dealt with situations where language had been a barrier to people accessing services. This experience has really helped me to support pupils from a wide range of backgrounds in their learning and development.”
The experience of volunteering cemented Zainab’s decision to start out on a new career. So she began investigating her training options, before choosing a School Direct course with Camden Primary Partnership. Like most School Direct courses, this includes a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
“I was out of education for about five or six years and I just felt that the skills that I’d gained from working could be better utilised in a classroom environment. When I researched training options, I decided that a course that offered theoretical grounding, practical experience and a PGCE would be the best option for me. The School Direct training ticked all of my boxes.”
While it may have taken Zainab a while to be sure that teaching was the right career for her, she’s not in any doubt now.
“Teaching is a lot more vibrant than my previous career. Schools offer a very dynamic working environment,” she says. “You encounter problems, as you would in any career but you have the support of colleagues to try new approaches and techniques until you find the right solution. This really helps you develop as a teacher.”
We visit a primary school in South Shields and see how the teachers interact with the year 6 children. Transcript (PDF, 46KB)
Primary support teacher Craig Cairns describes how his experiences teaching abroad have impacted his lessons, and what he loves about primary.More about this case study
It is a fantastic profession which has so many different roles within it.Sarah Stevens, primary school teacher
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