What is it about your job that gets you out of bed in the morning?
Without a doubt, working with and supporting young adults and children. Knowing that something as small as a check-in conversation could help someone through their day. It is also knowing that what I am part of is getting students ready for adult life, so they are confident and independent women who have the ambition to achieve their goals and know that they have support around them – whether that’s through the PSHCEE curriculum I create and deliver, inspiring them through my subject, or helping them through their studies as their head of year.
What is the first thing you do when you start work each day?
I update my ‘thought for the day’ in my office. Today’s, for example, is: “We think too much and feel too little.” My year group visits throughout the day to have a look at it (and also to check the leaderboard for form house points!), and it’s a great way to get the students to pop in and say hello. Then I’m usually heading straight off to lead a morning netball club, whilst maybe answering a few emails on the way – if I’m lucky.
What is the best and most challenging aspect of your role?
The best part of my role is helping students achieve their goals. I love to really unpick the problems my students face and help them get through their tricky moments.
I also really enjoy teaching them life skills in PSHCEE such as sexual and mental health. And, obviously, coaching moments like winning county tournaments!
I would say the most challenging part also dovetails with the best part. It can be really hard having a tricky conversation with a student who is really upset or going through something really difficult – particularly when you have to go straight from that to teaching year 9 trampolining.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I really did love most of my subjects, but physical education stands out for sure.
I am ‘ugly’ competitive when it comes to any kind of game and really thrive working alongside others in any team sport. If it wasn’t PE, then English or psychology.
I did a Joint Honours of English and Sport Science at university, so I originally thought I wanted to go into sports journalism, as PE and English always were my favourites!
What are you currently reading?
I am reading two books – Game on: The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport by Sue Anstiss. I was lucky enough to meet her at a sports conference for young aspiring athletes recently, and my friend bought me a signed book. And I’m also reading Richard Osman’s The Bullet that Missed, just for a bit of fun.
What has been your career highlight?
As part of my role as Trust consultant for Senior PSHE for the GDST, I have run a few conferences for all PSHE leads across the GDST. It was really inspiring to have a room full of people all with the same goal to improve PSHE for young girls across the country.
I spoke about developing relationship and sex education and gave some tips for improving spiritual, moral, social, and cultural committees across schools.
As a group we came up with some trust-wide initiatives for events like Anti-Bullying week that brought the trust of schools together.
I also won’t ever forget seeing my recent year 11 group on results day. Having witnessed the difficulties they had with online learning, it was so rewarding to see how much they achieved in such tough circumstances. Seeing their happy, proud faces made it all worth it!
If you weren’t in this role, what would you be?
Definitely something which doesn’t involve being behind a desk all day! Either sports journalism or coaching. If it wasn’t in the sports sector, I think it would still be something to do with working with young people. Maybe a career as a mental health or sex education speaker going into different schools and running workshops.
Lauren went to Northwood College GDST in West London. She has a BA Hons (QTS) in English and Sport Science from Loughborough University and holds several sports coaching qualifications and a certificate in Mental Health First Aid.
Lauren has been teaching at Notting Hill & Ealing High School (GDST) since 2016, where she has also been head of houses and is currently head of year 11. Lauren also works as a PHSE consultant across the GDST.
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