Paul Smith

BA (Hons) Primary Education

Studying at BCU has moulded Paul into the passionate teacher he is today. Now six years into his teaching career, he lives in the boundless joy of shaping young minds. He credits this to the nurturing foundation provided by BCU for his impactful journey.

"My journey through education studies at BCU was a great experience, it shaped me into the teacher I am today. The most rewarding part of my course was the different placements I did. This allowed me to be immersed in an environment where learning was fast-paced, and we were encouraged to adapt on our feet through day-to-day experiences. Although the intensity of this new experience sometimes felt daunting, the unwavering support from BCU made overcoming these challenges possible to overcome.   

Fast forward several years, and I’ve been a primary school teacher for about six years. BCU not only equipped me with the necessary skills but also introduced me to the school where I teach now. I did my second and third placements there. The love I developed for the school during that time compelled me to stay. Now I am currently teaching year four, but I have had experiences teaching various year groups.

As most primary school teachers can agree, there is no such thing as a typical day. It’s very different each day, sometimes even minute by minute. Often, I may start each morning with a plan of action only to suddenly realise something has changed. However, there are some daily non-negotiables to expect such as teaching, lesson planning, giving feedback and marking and nurturing relationships with the students. Providing diverse experiences both in the school and outside the school during school trips is vital.  

Teaching can be challenging at times like anything, however, the positives by far outweigh the challenges. Seeing the progression and development of children over the years is a great joy. Recently my class and I went on a trip to Cadbury World, and the joy on the children’s faces, experiencing this for the first time was rewarding. Moments like these make the challenges worthwhile, knowing they may leave a lasting impression on a child’s memory.

One particularly memorable experience in my teaching career was teaching a child with speech and language difficulties. Witnessing his development and growth over the years was very satisfying, especially since by this point, I had only been teaching for a few years it was a great highlight of mine to assist in his development and watch him flourish.

During my journey, I have grown a lot as an individual and a teacher. From my days on placement at BCU to becoming an experienced teacher. When I am asked about the qualities needed in primary teaching, my go-to answer is always patience. Teaching is a gradual process, and being supportive and encouraging is important. Often, you may be the trusted adult a child turns to, so these qualities are needed. It is also crucial to be hard-working and motivated, as being a positive role model is beneficial for both you and your students.

It's important to remember, that no matter how challenging it may seem, you are not alone. Whether you're a student, an associate teacher, or even a seasoned veteran in the classroom, mentors offer invaluable support throughout your journey. Having mentored several associates myself and was one at a point, I deeply understand the importance of having someone guide you step-by-step.

Although it has been a couple of years since I was a student, BCU has never truly left me. I even work at the very school where I was once a placement student. BCU has been a place of opportunity, a stepping stone that led me to where I am today. The journey has been rewarding, and the impact BCU continues to have in my professional life is profound even when I’m not there."