The following article comes from class teacher Toria Bono, the second part to her ‘Becoming the Teacher I Am’ series.

Last week, I shared about how my teaching journey began and that I ended my P.G.C.E. year knowing that I didn’t want to teach secondary but that all I wanted to do was teach. I wish that I could tell you that I got a job in a primary school and everything was fine, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

Living in Northern Ireland, permanent full-time jobs were few and far between – most teachers remained in their first post until retirement, which made it incredibly hard for new teachers entering the profession. Given the fact that my P.G.C.E. was in secondary, I had no chance of getting a job in a primary school. I did try though – I applied for temporary posts, part-time posts, maternity covers, but I wasn’t shortlisted for anything. I became more and more despondent and signed up for supply cover – however, I didn’t even get that due to my secondary training.

Then one day my mum, a Year 6 (P7) teacher at the time, told me that her headteacher wanted to see me. He offered me some supply cover. He said that every Wednesday morning, for 6 weeks (in the run up to the 11+), I could teach a group of children from P7 who were slightly disruptive, while the teacher got the rest of her children ready for the upcoming test. I jumped at the chance and I went in that first Wednesday, excited and walking on air! However, without going into too many details, the first session showed that I needed to work on my behaviour management skills if we were going to do any learning. Over the next few weeks I did just that and at the end of my time with them, I was really sad to see them go.

NQT teaching children

I went on to teach a great deal at that school and due to the cover opportunities afforded to me by the headteacher, I gained a wealth of experience teaching Reception to Year 6 (P1 – P7). As I gained experience, so opportunities opened up in other primary schools and I worked for most of that year – gaining the primary experience that I needed to get the full-time job I so desired. I began to get short-listed for jobs but I couldn’t secure a post and at the end of a year of supply teaching, I made the difficult decision to leave Northern Ireland and move to England.

Now, most people would have got a post before moving over, but not I. In my infinite wisdom, I thought it would be much better to move over, supply teach and then apply. However, my plans were scuppered for a number of reasons and it took me five years to return to the classroom. As strange as it may sound though, I’m incredibly grateful that I did have five years of working in the hospitality and retail industries because when I returned to teaching there was no doubt in my mind that this was what I wanted to do. I knew that there was no other job in the world that could give me the level of joy and fulfilment that teaching did.

Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.

Scott Hayden

In all honesty, there were times during that five years when I thought teaching was lost forever, but due to a strange set of circumstances, I found myself back at university studying for a P.G.Cert.P.D in primary.

Since returning to university, I have never taken teaching for granted and I count myself incredibly lucky to be part of the best profession in the world. Scott Hayden was describing me when he said: ‘Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.’

If you want to find out how I began to bring my first two loves together when I returned to the classroom as a full-time teacher (yes I got a job) then join me next week.

Primary teacher Toria Bono


Toria Bono

Toria has had many roles in the primary sector – from class teacher to school leader, but is happiest when she is teaching children. She currently teaches at Thomas A Becket Junior School and wants all children to have the best possible learning opportunities.

She is committed to using research to inform her decisions about how best to teach and is keen to support other educators to do so too.

Through her blog Teaching Others & Learning All The Time, she shares her experiences, opinions and lessons learned in the classroom. She also empowers other eduleaders on Twitter via the #TinyVoiceTuesday and #TinyVoiceTuesdayUnites hashtags.

Follow Toria on Twitter – @ToriaClaire

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