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Blackboard Awards 2023

Karen Batchelor, Wheatfield Primary School

Subject or Primary school year: Primary 5

Your place of birth: Lisburn, County Antrim

Studied at: Stranmillis University College

First job: Key Stage 2 Teacher in Grove Primary School

What it taught me: The importance of good communication skills and of finding a slightly more experienced colleague, a team mate that inspired me to learn and to grow as a teacher.

Family/status: Mother to three grown up children, Lucas, Sophie and Callum.

Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Teaching is a very rewarding career that takes a lot of hard work. There is never a dull moment as no two days are the same and you are always learning something new. In the old days it was often referred to as a vocation and I suppose in some ways that is still a little true as teaching is definitely not a 9 to 5 job! You are a teacher 24/7 whether that’s when you refuse to throw something out because it might come in useful for a topic or you’re buying a little reward in your grocery shop for your 25 kids that weekend or wondering what was up with so and so that day when you are washing the dishes that evening. It is also important to remember that Teaching is a very social career not only based on the good working relationships established with your pupils but also with colleagues in your team as you need their support to create that shared vision. As a young colleague often reminds me, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’

After graduating in the Summer of 1991, I subbed for a time in different primary schools in Belfast before securing my first teaching post in Grove Primary School where I taught Key Stage 2. After three years I moved to Wheatfield Primary School and am still there, teaching children whose parents I have also taught. I sometimes find it hard to believe that I have chalked up thirty years of teaching experience! For most of that time I have had the privilege of teaching Primary 7 preparing each individual child for transition to secondary education. It is so lovely bumping into a past pupil and finding out what they are doing now and chatting about a little shared memory from their time at school, such as fun times on a residential or the tears shed at a Leavers’ Assembly. As the needs of the school changed I have taken on different roles. At present I am Key Stage 2 Lead on the Senior Leadership Team, Deputy Designated Teacher for Safeguarding and Child Protection and Numeracy Coordinator. I have worked with many amazing colleagues who were always there to guide and support me and I 

Blackboard Awards 2023