"What inspired me to become a teacher were my best teachers and my worst teachers. In school, I noted how big an impact a teacher could have on your achievements, confidence and enjoyment of school. I wanted to be that positive influence for young people as they moved through their education.
The most rewarding aspect of my career is probably a very common answer, but it’s the lightbulb moment. When you’ve spent weeks trying to teach a concept and it just clicks. When you have a good relationship with your class, they ask you crazy questions (especially in Science) and you spend the lesson discussing something really interesting that has nothing to do with the curriculum. I love those lessons, so do the students.
Teaching would be easy if you just had to teach, but you have responsibilities in pastoral care, admin, parent relations etc. The workload can sometimes be overwhelming.
There’s been so many small moments that have stuck with me. From pupils recalling my teaching methods in a supermarket years later, to my Further Maths students throwing me a surprise party when I left my job in Ireland. With some students, I’ve felt like I have been that positive influence in their school life when they’ve needed it.
My advice for anyone who wants to enter the career of education would be, if you have a passion for teaching, go for it. It’s hard in your first few years, but try and get a good work/life balance. Work smarter, not harder. There are plenty of great resources and teaching hacks out there that will make your life easier - use them. Be there for your students and colleagues and they’ll be there for you when you need them."
To learn more about Sinead and her journey as teacher: