Kerry Bishop

Current employer: West Park CE Primary School

Current job title: Primary school teacher

Current location: West Sussex

“Studying at the University of Plymouthhas enabled me to develop into the best primary school teacher I can be at this stage. I believe that the support provided by the lecturers has enabled me to reach my full potential.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I graduated from the University of Plymouth in September, 2016, securing a primary teaching job in a primary school in West Sussex. I am teaching a Year 4 class all the subjects embedded within the primary national curriculum. It’s great having my own class and being able to plan and teach exciting lessons so that all the children develop a love for learning.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

I have always held an aspiration to become a primary school teacher and my university degree has furthered this passion. My university degree has played a significant part in influencing my future career paths within the profession. Following a subject leader module, my ambition to become a physical education subject leader has increased. I hope in years to come to be able to lead this area within the primary school I am now working at. I also hope to progress onto being a member of the senior leadership team in years to come. I believe my university degree has provided me with the requisite skills and confidence to consider these career paths in the future.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Since completing my studies at the University of Plymouth, I feel my confidence has increased in relation to my academic abilities. As a result, I feel in the future that I would like to undertake a masters qualification linked to the teaching profession. In particular, I would like to further the research undertaken during my dissertation project.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The main difficulty about being a primary school teacher is the multitude of pressures placed on us as professionals. With the ever changing education sector, different pressures are placed on teachers to adapt their teaching to different approaches, whilst ensuring that children are not negatively affected by these changes.  

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

On my course, in particular within the physical education specialism, we have been provided with an array of exciting opportunities, including going away on a residential experience, family days, SEND experience in school, gymnastics, and dance modules. However, my favourite moment has to be celebrating our successes at our final PE awards night.

In relation to teaching, my all-time favourite moment has to be when my class performed their class assembly to their parents. As part of their assembly they performed the dances we had been creating in our PE lessons. These dances were based on dances from around the world. In particular, I enjoyed watching them perform their Haka style dance because of their facial expressions. Its moments like this that enables you to realise why becoming a primary school teacher is the most rewarding career and why the hard work is worth it.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

If I was to do anything different during my time at the University of Plymouth, I would like to have joined and participated in more societies. As a result, I recommend to all students studying at the University of Plymouth to sign up and enjoy a society, especially during your first year of study.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

My advice to those who want to pursue a career within the teaching profession is to gain sufficient experience in schools prior to studying. This will ensure that you are ready and fully prepared for the challenges and rewards of the profession.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at the University of Plymouth has enabled me to develop into the best primary school teacher I can be at this stage. I believe that the support provided by the lecturers has enabled me to reach my full potential both academically and as a trainee teacher. I also believe that the resources available at the University of Plymouth are up to date and valuable for our training.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I most definitely have learnt to be resilient during my training; for instance, when experiences have not been successful, still being able to overcome these with the support from colleagues and lecturers. I feel that I have developed the requisite skills needed to be successful as a primary school teacher, including effective teamwork, time management, and communication skills.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

As part of the BEd programme of study, we undertake school placements every year. These expand in length and responsibility as you progress throughout the degree. The placement experiences secure your desire to pursue a career within primary teaching, following the challenges of campus based assignments and theory work.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I have many memories from studying at the University of Plymouth, but I would have to say that my first day has to be my all-time favourite. I had mixed feelings about the prospect of studying away from home, but as soon as I met my course mates and lecturers I knew that the next three years were going to be the best three years of my life.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

Although I have only just commenced my career as a primary school teacher, I feel that the communication between myself and certain lecturers will remain strong. In particular, I feel that the support from my professional tutor and lecturers within the physical education department will be apparent during my NQT year.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

I would definitely recommend studying at University of Plymouth. I believe that the opportunities available are extensive and supportive in enabling undergraduates to develop the knowledge and skills needed for future careers.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Grab every opportunity you’re given with both hands and enjoy your time at the University of Plymouth. The time just flies and before you know it you’re standing in the marquee graduating with your best friends.

Child climbing up climbing wall, Image courtesy of Shutterstock