We visited Primary Education alumna Laura Condon at the school where she works in Twickenham. During her time at Mary’s and since qualifying as a teacher three years ago Laura has grown in confidence, taken on huge responsibility and inspired the pupils in the school with her love of reading.
What made you choose St Mary’s?
I’m from the North originally, but I knew I wanted to come to London and looked at quite a few different options. I went to the Open Day with my Mum and I got that feeling; that St Mary’s was the one.
I felt like St Mary’s would really prepare me to become a great teacher, and being an ‘Outstanding’ teaching provider was a big factor.
How did you find your time at St Mary’s?
I loved my time there – when I go back now, it feels like home, that’s the only way I can describe it.
The campus set up was great, having everything in one place, lots of people to go to dinner with, not having to go far for lectures and being close to the library.
It's a real community of people and is close-knit in a really good way. The lecturers and staff are great, and they all want you to do really well and they care about how you are.
I had a personal tutor, and we would meet a few times each term and she was always on the end of an email if I was struggling with anything. In the final year, my tutor helped me prep for interviews, making sure I was really ready to go into the working world.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in teaching?
Before you start in a classroom, you have an idea of how you want to be as a teacher, but you’ve got to learn to take feedback and for that to help you improve, not set you back.
There’s much more to teaching a lesson than creating and reading off a lesson plan. From helping you prepare for marking books, to how to speak to parents at a parents’ evening and preparing you emotionally and socially, St Mary’s gives you all of the skills you need.
I’ve learnt that education isn’t just about a journey of learning, its social and emotional development as well. You come out of St Mary’s not just a teacher, but a more confident person.
Can you tell us about your career since leaving University?
I got this job because of a lecturer at St Mary’s – the placements you're sent out on are great for networking. There are a couple of teachers in this school now who were in my year at Uni.
Teaching as a student is still really different to having your own class, but St Mary’s really makes sure you’re ready for it – including all your paperwork! My tutor keeps in contact even now I’m qualified.No one really forgets who you are.
As a subject lead for reading now within my school, I’ve changed the whole library and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of in my career so far. I took it on partly because the English lecturers were so passionate about the importance of reading!