Name: Chris Fryer
Degree and university: English at Oxford before doing my PGCE at Cambridge.
What is it you actually do in your job?
I’m a year 5/6 class teacher in a large primary school in Cambridgeshire. I have a mixed year 5/6 class, which I take for the foundation subjects, as well as a year 5 numeracy class, and a year 6 literacy class. It’s very difficult to summarise the role of a primary class teacher – you have to be pretty flexible.
Were you always interested in teaching as a career?
I’ve wanted to work with children since I was a child: I’ve previously worked as a youth worker and as a teaching assistant. I originally got a place on the secondary PGCE but I decided not to start that course because I knew I’d prefer the variety in primary teaching – the opportunity to teach everything from maths and literacy to social skills and PE. It’s great to be involved in children’s development at this age because they’re incredibly creative and enthusiastic.
Would you undertake further study in order to gain promotion?
I’m considering an MEd. or MA., but it would be more for my own development than for promotion.
What do you most like about your job?
The variety and the feeling that your work is worthwhile. Mostly I like being in the presence of enthusiastic, creative, fascinating young people, all day.
Are there any downsides to what you do?
I’m not someone who’s motivated by money, but I think that the importance of teaching as a profession ought to be recognised by paying teachers a wage which reflects the hours they work, and their level of training and responsibility, on a par with other graduate professions. I could be in the city, marketing tobacco, for five times what I earn educating children.
What do you think are the most important skils you need to make a success of teaching?
Enthusiasm and positivity – I think you need to enjoy your time in the classroom.
What would be your best piece of advice for graduates coming into this sector?
There’s no substitute for experience. If you can, spend time in a number of schools to get a sense of the age range you’d like to work with and the kind of school you’d enjoy and work well in.