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Case study: teaching primary

A primary school pupil

Stephen Mitchell, primary school teacher

Before getting into teaching, Stephen graduated with a 2:1 in musical theatre at the Guildford School of Acting, and went on to appear in musicals in London’s West End. Taking the School Direct (salaried) route into teach, Stephen explains that although the training follows a set pattern and timetable, each day is completely different and presents its own set of unique challenges.

“As a primary School Direct student, a ‘typical’ day doesn’t exist. My class arrives at 9am and I take the register and make sure everyone is happy before teaching can begin. I normally start the day by teaching numeracy or literacy, which is followed by assembly and then morning break. In the afternoon, I normally have some kind of training time. This is when I get to observe other teachers at work, which is a great opportunity to pick up techniques and ideas.”

After the children go home, Stephen then spends some time in the classroom marking their work. This is the time he gets to assess their learning, change lesson plans to suit their requirements, and ensure that all his lessons are challenging enough for all learners. Stephen notes that this process can take some time as a new learner, so he often receives help from his mentor.

“On the School Direct (salaried) route, I have a regular one-to-one with my mentor, which provides an invaluable opportunity to review my progress and experience.” Stephen also attends after-school meetings with other newly qualified teachers or School Direct trainees, which acts as another level of support.

“It seems like a demanding schedule, but it is very rewarding. I’ve been told that things get easier with time – but for the moment I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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