Graduating from Middlesex University with a first class honours degree in Primary Education, Katherine Kelly was ready and excited to be in charge of her own class – but, as she found on her first day, even the best-prepared teachers need to think on their feet.
"On the first day of term I remember feeling incredibly prepared and organised for the day ahead," Katherine says. "I had created all of the resources for each of the lessons and had 20-page presentations to accompany my teaching, just as I had done during my placements. I had also created name places for the children to help them find their seats.
"The children entered the classroom at 9am and it took them at least 30 minutes to find their coat peg, their tray and then find their seat to sit down!" Half an hour into her first day and already running behind schedule, Katherine quickly decided to change tack.
"I decided to follow advice from the lecturers at Middlesex and do what any good teacher should do – I changed the lesson completely!" she recalls. "It was literally at this point that I felt the adjustment from being a trainee teacher to a class teacher."
Just over a year later, Katherine now teaches her own Year 2 class in London's Arnos Grove. She also looks after Computing for her school, is subject leader for Art, Design and Technology and mentors a newly qualified Year 1 teacher. This is all in addition to the various roles she takes on day-to-day for her pupils, providing first aid, a shoulder to cry on and anything else a situation may demand. It's a juggling act she has been perfecting since she graduated – made easier by the strong practical experience she gained at Middlesex, which has helped her to become more flexible and enjoy the spontaneity of the job.
"It's wonderful not knowing which direction the school day will go in," she says. "The most exciting part for me is when a class of 30 is so engaged in their learning that they can't be disturbed, even for playtime. There is no better feeling, knowing that you have ignited a thirst for learning that cannot be extinguished for that moment or day."