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'Getting into teaching was the best decision I ever made,' says Teaching graduate

Although it has its challenges, Samantha Jones says getting into teaching was the best decision she ever made and that it has been “life-changing”.

The 27-year-old, who studied for a Primary Initial Teacher Education degree at the University of Worcester, says she is now doing the career she had always dreamed of since she was young.

She told how the University had helped her prepare her to face the challenges ahead in her career.

“Although I had a rocky start getting here, I can honestly say that it was so worth it,” she said. “Nothing worth having is easy and anyone considering going into teaching should know that it is hard but if you are serious about it and want to be the best teacher you can be, the University of Worcester can give you that.”

Although Samantha remembers being interested in teaching from a young age and seeing her aunt in action in the classroom, after school she went on to study Business Studies and Law at A-Level and then on to university.

But, realising that she wasn’t happy during her first year, she decided to leave to pursue her childhood dream of teaching.

She did a year at college to ensure she had the qualifications she needed for consideration on a teaching course.

One of her college teachers recommended the one at the University of Worcester.

“After looking around on an open day, I knew it was for me. The vibe was just right,” said Samantha. “The interview was scary at the time but the seriousness of it all sold it for me - I wanted to do this and Worcester clearly knew what they were doing. I trusted that they had everything I needed to train me.”

Although Samantha initially worried she would struggle to bond with others on the course because she was commuting, but said she ended up making an “amazing group of friends”, including her best friend of seven years.

During her three years of study she focused on the later years (5-11 years) and also took the SEND pathway, doing a placement in a special needs school.

Samantha, who lives in Stourbridge, went on to graduate with a 2:1 degree classification in 2014.

Samantha took a job teaching Year 6 at Wollescote Primary School in Lye and has not looked back since, completing her Newly Qualified Teacher year.

In her second year, she was given a TLR (Teaching and Learning Responsibility) position in the school’s Teaching and Learning team. This meant other teachers within the school observed Samantha and others teaching using the new approach they had adopted. The team also looked at current research, which fed into decisions about new policies and practice at the school.

In 2017, after two-and-a-half years, Samantha left for a position teaching Year 6 at Huntingtree Primary School, in Halesowen, but also as Phase Leader of Years 5 and 6, English Leader and a position on the Senior Leadership Team.

“Getting into teaching was the best decision I ever made,” said Samantha. “I'm in my 4th year of teaching now and I absolutely love it. Don't get me wrong, it's not without its challenges - without which I probably wouldn't do it - but it's a lifestyle unlike any other. Teaching is a craft that is ever changing. The hardest thing is to accept that it's not always going to go the way you'd expect or even like. You have to adapt - daily. But the University definitely prepares you for that with the amount of placements and variety of schools you train in.

“It’s about staying true to yourself and being kind to yourself. It can be a tough profession, but I've found that, with the right team of people and knowing yourself well, a career in teaching is life-changing. I still talk to my tutors and lecturers from Worcester - especially Suzanne Horton. She is still so inspiring to me as a teacher, an author, a professional, a woman and a friend.”