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In their shoes - Lead Teacher

Lead teacher career advice

In our 'In their shoes' series, we aim to give you a brief insight into the many roles within education.

Here Adrian Coates from High Well School in Wakefield (a special school for pupils with social and emotional needs) lets us in to a day in the life of a Lead Teacher.


Tell us about your job

As a Lead Teacher I am primarily a class teacher delivering a variety of subjects, but I also support the Head Teacher with other essential tasks involving curriculum, staffing and recruitment.

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Tell us about a typical day at work

On arrival I ensure that all my teaching resources for the day are organised and ready and meet with the Head Teacher to discuss the day ahead. We then have a whole staff briefing to ensure everyone is aware of what is happening on that day.

We welcome the pupils into our school breakfast club and the school day begins. My days usually consist of teaching, helping to ensure the school runs smoothly and anything else that crops up! The whole staff team meet at the end of the day to discuss any issues and then I ensure I am prepared for the following day.

What do you enjoy most about your role as Lead Teacher?

I am very fortunate that I still get to teach and interact with the pupils daily but also get the opportunity to have a say in how our school is run.

We are a small school so everybody knows each other. I really enjoy being able to speak with colleagues and pupils on a regular basis, offering support when required. Providing emotional support to our students is as important as academic learning. I consider it a privilege to be in a position to help these young people prepare for a positive future.

What do you find challenging?

For me, the key to helping young people develop is knowing your pupils – what will engage them, motivate them, make them smile. The children I work with have a wide variety of needs and have experienced difficulties with their education.

These pupils have low self-esteem and lack faith in themselves and others. Gaining their trust is not easy but, with resilience and patience, you have a unique chance to help someone realise their potential.

How did you get into teaching?

I changed career in my thirties. I worked in IT and redundancy gave me an opportunity to re-train. I volunteered in local primary schools and realised that I loved the atmosphere within a school. I did a schools-based PGCE and have never regretted the move.

What advice would you give anyone thinking about a future in teaching?

Make sure you spend some times in schools and make sure it's for you. This may sound daft but don't do it if you don't like kids. The holidays are great (especially if you have young children) but it's a job which you need to be fully committed to. I don't think anyone would appreciate their own children being taught by someone whose heart wasn't really in it.

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