A Day in the Life of a Head Teacher – An interview with Mrs Smith
Across the UK, over 8.2 million pupils attend 24,372 schools and within them, there are approximately 438,000 teachers educating our children for university and future life. On average, the teachers who are in the classroom work an astonishing 10 hours 40 minutes a day; a 53 hour week. But, Mrs Smith, our head teacher, is anything but average.
Out of her busy schedule, she managed to find time to talk to us!
What is your average day like as a head teacher?
My working day begins at ten past five when I get up, I usually review emails for ten minutes, then get ready for school. I’m in school for about quarter past six. Between quarter past and half past six I then usually work on the update if it’s a Monday so that that’s ready to be sent out to students. I also work on the daily reports that need to be done for the beginning of the week. Then I review my emails because I get about 150-170 emails a day. If I have time, I will go into an assembly before starting my day’s meetings; I can have five, six or seven in a day. Sometimes I have to go out so the day is very, very busy.
By now it’s usually about four o’clock and I will then follow up asking questions, doing some research, or writing letters e.g. congratulations letters. Then I may have an evening event with parents or a presentation; I usually leave here around seven most nights.
Does being a head teacher affect your family?
It completely affects my family; I have five children and four grandchildren, and so they can’t just pop in and see Grandma. My children almost have to make an appointment to see me. My husband mainly works at home. He is a bit like the mummy and I’m a bit like the daddy; I’m always late home. He goes to their parents’ evenings and often, for example when they get their GCSE results or A level results, he usually goes there because I have to be at whatever school I’m at. They all know that if they really need me, I drop everything for them. So it is a very good combination and actually it means they get the best of me because I don’t have to deal with all the little niggles, the little fights and all the problems with friends because Daddy does that; so I get the good bits.
What made you want to be a head teacher?
The cheesy answer is because I want to make a huge difference. The honest answer is because I genuinely believe that by working with a group of people in a school, we can make a difference to people’s lives. It sounds silly but I love the job; the excitement of not knowing what’s coming next, it is never boring. I really love watching people do well, or help some girls who don’t know how to get better and I really love making sure that people enjoy what they do and it’s not just all about learning. It is about learning academic things, but it’s also about learning lots of other things; changing the environment and giving more opportunities.
Did you have any different aspirations or career dreams before you became a head teacher?
I always wanted to be a psychologist. When I went to university, I did psychology to begin with and I did English as another subject and I was really, really good at English but I wasn’t very good at psychology. In those days, I did a BSc in Psychology and there was a lot of maths, and I’ve got a lot better as I’ve got older. I changed to English and from there it was impossible to become a psychologist then because back in the day you needed to have a science degree to follow it through. So yes, my aspiration was that and I always would have loved to do it but it a way that’s sort of what I am now.
Our interview with Mrs Smith shines a light on a head teacher’s life and shows us how much time and effort they really put into making our lives as students better.
BY: Holly, Olivia and Madeleine