Interview – Fiona Haywood
Fiona Haywood – Primary School Teacher
What do you consider the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
Rewarding – Seeing that growth in the Prep students from the start of the year to the end – there’s no other grade where you see quite the same level of change.
Challenging – Making sure you’re meeting all the diverse needs of the students: they’re all so different! Learning needs, emotional needs, physical needs etc.
If people were considering working as a teacher what advice would you give them?
Don’t become a teacher unless it’s what you really want to do. You have to genuinely like children and enjoy working with them.
What qualifications or experience is required to become a teacher?
Degree, then lots of on-the-job learning! After 20 years I’m still learning all the time.
What path did you take to become a teacher?
I went to uni straight from high school and did a BA Dip Ed degree.
Were there any other careers you considered pursuing when you left school?
I’d always thought I wanted to be a teacher, but then I did really well in Economics at high school and actually started an Economics degree. I realised pretty quickly it wasn’t for me! I changed to teaching in my second year of uni.
Can you see yourself remaining in this line of work forever?
I can’t really imagine doing anything else long term, although I haven’t tried anything else so who knows? I’d be happy to keep teaching until I start getting too grumpy. I never want to be that grouchy old teacher who doesn’t enjoy the kids. Then it’ll be time to retire.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher! I was given a blackboard for my sixth birthday and I could play schools for hours! Unfortunately, my two sisters were both older so I usually had to be a student.
What are your standard hours?
8.30 until three with the students. Then there is morning set-up, planning, lesson prep, meetings, admin etc. We do get fantastic holidays, but a good portion of it is dedicated to preparing for next term. It saves your sanity to be on top of things when the kids come back into the classroom.
Is there anything you can tell us about your job that people wouldn’t expect?
The level of emotional attachment you have with the kids you teach. You’re not just their teacher, especially with the younger ones. Sometimes they need you to be a surrogate parent. And if you care about them, they will love you back!