We hear from the men and women at the front of the class about what inspired – and continues to inspire – them to take up teaching. Here’s the view from the staff room at St Mary’s Shaftesbury

Rebecca Dixon

Rebecca Dixon (Prep School Teacher)

What motivated you to take up teaching?
I have always been interested in helping others, and as a child thought I might like to be a doctor: at 13 I was volunteering every Saturday at the local hospital on the geriatric ward. As I grew older, I became more interested in children and had lots of holiday jobs looking after children; many of my friends said I should become a teacher. It turned out that I didn’t enjoy science nearly enough to work in a medical field, but I loved English and Drama, so using those skills, combined with the rewarding aspect of helping others and my enjoyment of children naturally led me to teaching!

What brought you to and keeps you at your school?
Good fortune brought me here; knowing how lucky I am to work with such lovely girls and colleagues in a beautiful environment keeps me here.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, and its biggest challenge?
The most rewarding aspect is watching it all ‘click into place’ with a girl who has struggled in a particular area: it might be academic or simply a matter of confidence, but when a pupil breaks through a learning ‘barrier’ it is a great feeling…for both of us! The biggest challenge is knowing when to ‘switch off’. Teaching is all-consuming and if one is not careful it is easy to be working – or thinking about work – for far longer than is healthy.

As a parent of two school children I am acutely aware of the impact my correspondence has on their teachers, so I have a rule of thumb: trust the teacher: if every parent emailed every time they had a query or minor concern, there would be no time for the teacher to plan or teach! Perhaps Pink Floyd should remix their iconic song for the modern age: “Parents! Leave those teachers alone!”

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