An interview with Jennifer Murray
Why did you choose to work at St Mary’s?
This was a big move for me, both in terms of career and my location. I had been teaching internationally in the Middle East before and had never lived in London. I was also moving from working in school to my first full time post in Higher Education.
I knew that being part of a community was really important to me and also that I wanted to work somewhere where there was a diverse student body and lots going on. When I came for my interview, I was given a campus tour and was struck by how friendly and welcoming everyone was. I got a real sense that it would be a good fit for me.
Do you have any tips for someone looking to begin a career in Teaching related industries?
I think my biggest bit of advice would be to try and get into a Primary school to observe and get a sense of what goes on in a classroom. Things have changed hugely in education since many of our trainees were at Primary School themselves and the best way to understand if it's the right path for you is to get in and experience it first-hand.
Other tips would be to be open and committed to collaborating with your peers from the very start of your training. Teaching is the best job in the world and, in my opinion, one of the most challenging! It's an absolute privilege but also an incredibly busy job. Sharing ideas in groups, reflecting together and playing your part in a team can make it all so much more manageable and enjoyable.
Which past experiences do you bring to your lecturing?
In the Primary team we are committed to modelling best practice. We try and structure our lectures and seminars in ways that provide the students with lots of ideas which they can take straight into their school experience. As a result, I'm constantly using strategies and approaches that I'd use with Primary pupils to bring the learning to life.
I also find that stories about the children I've taught often feature in my lectures. Some of my most rewarding and challenging moments in my career provide the best examples when we're learning about behaviour/planning/meeting individual learners' needs.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Aside from the lecturing itself, I really value the work I get to do as a personal tutor. Getting to know a small group of students really well feels a bit like having a class of my own. We learn together and I am really committed to supporting them both academically and pastorally throughout their course. I also love getting to spend some time in school observing trainees teaching - that's a real privilege.
Can you tell us a bit about your research?
I'm really interested in the mental health and wellbeing of teachers, support staff and pupils themselves. At the moment, I'm lucky to be involved in some exciting projects. One is linked with a University in New York and another is looking at the wellbeing of teachers in the UK.
View Jennifer's academic profile