Sculptor loves shaping the lives of the students she teaches

I definitely wasn’t prepared for the number of kids I’d have to clean up as a visual arts teacher! I’ve gotten paint removal from school shirts down to a fine art.

How is this year of the pandemic going for you? Are there any new challenges you face this year compared to last year?

Although we are back to face-to-face teaching, it’s a challenge. With so many disruptions, there’s a real need to maintain consistency in learning.

How transferable are your skills – are there any other jobs you could do using similar skills and qualifications?

I think the skills you build as a teacher are highly transferable. Teaching requires a high level of organisation, time management, flexibility and instantaneous problem-solving. The leadership and management skills I’ve developed during my career would come in handy in a range of professions.

Did you have a different career before you became a teacher? How were those skills relevant to what you do now?

When I left high school, I started an apprenticeship in commercial cookery. The time management and organisation skills I learnt have been endlessly helpful. I then moved into art, and still maintain my sculpture practise. I think it has really helped me stay relevant in regards to my teaching content. The kids know that when I’m asking them to push themselves with their art making, it comes from personal experience of knowing how hard it can be!

What advice do you have for people wanting to get into this career? What should they study, and what experience do they need to get into this field?

I came into teaching after studying fine arts for seven years. There are a number of paths and incentives now for people wanting to get into teaching. You can have a profound impact with this job. It’s hard not to take it home with you in regards to work to be done and with your connection and concerns for the kids, but you shape the lives of the students you teach, every day.

What personal skills do teachers need?

Emotional intelligence, empathy, a high level of organisation, and an ability to respond quickly to the ever-changing day-to-day that is the life of a teacher. And an understanding that teachers take a lot of their work home.

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