What inspired you to become a teacher?
"Watching other teachers. I went into school to help as a volunteer reader because my son was struggling to read and I couldn’t understand why. I could overhear the teacher in another room and I just became aware that I loved the school environment, the ethos and the commitment from the school for the children and their parents. It was inspiring. It made me think, I could do that."
Sue then went on to become a Midday Supervisor at the school before applying to become a Teaching Assistant.
“I was very lucky to work with some fantastic teachers and I began to feel it was something I really wanted to pursue. The school supported me by funding my degree, and during this process I became a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA), which meant that I got to cover classes when teachers get their planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA).”
What subjects did you enjoy teaching most?
"I really enjoyed Literacy and RE. In one class we discussed ‘What does God look like?’ It was a discussion led lesson where the academic barriers were removed and everyone had a voice."
Sue graduated from University Campus Suffolk (UCS) in 2006 with a First in Early Years Education.
"My dissertation was based on what motivates children to learn. My initial aim was to be a teacher and have my own class before I turned 40. Once I got the degree, I moved onto the next step which was a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)."
What does gaining a QTS entail?
"Because I wanted to earn, I decided to do the Graduate Teacher Training Programme (GTP) (replaced by the School Direct Salaried programme in June 2012). This gave me the opportunity to be in school for the majority of the week, as well as study 1 day a week. By that time I had been in a school environment for 9 years, so a lot of things were familiar to me."
In 2008, Sue reached her goal when she moved to New Cangle Primary School to start her NQT year and was given her own class in Year 3.
"I was so pleased. But after a year or so, I started to think what else can I do? I trained to become a Middle Leader through the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML). Then I was given the responsibility to lead Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) as I was very passionate about that. I also became part of the Senior Leadership Team."
When the Deputy Headship position became available, Sue applied and successfully got the role. After the first term in her new role, Sue’s Headteacher announced that she would be leaving the school. Sue then decided to apply to become Acting Headteacher to help lead the school and seek a permanent replacement – she ended up taking on the role of Headteacher herself!
How has your experience of becoming a teacher, affected what you implement as a leader?
"Having been a parent and a teacher, I am very keen to develop my staff and their careers. The support I have had, has helped me to inspire others. I have 16 LSAs who've gone onto further education, as well as others who are leaving to start their teacher training, finishing their degrees and continuing professional development to gain their English, Maths and Science GCSEs."