Kristen Payne

Teacher of History, Blue Coat Church of England Academy Walsall

PGDipEd Secondary History (QTS), 2019

I chose to study at the University because this is where I completed my undergrad. I absolutely fell in love with the university, and even though I commuted, it felt like a second home to me. Not only was the university perfect for me but the course was too. I knew that I wanted to complete my Masters, and the PGDipEd offered the best pathway to do this, by offering 120 Credits towards the course.

It will sound so cliché, but I think part of me always knew I wanted to go into teaching. One of my fondest memories of school was receiving my GCSE results for History. My History teacher at the time was even more excited than me and when she saw me, she ran over and threw her arms around me! I think, from that point on, I knew I wanted to get to experience that as a teacher myself and have that lasting impact on a student’s life that she did on mine.

Tell us about your current role

I have just come to the end of my NQT year at Blue Coat C of E Academy. The ethos of the school is one of family, and I know this can be said at a lot of schools, but it is definitely true here. The support I have from my Head of Department is fantastic – not only is she there to boost my confidence, she is also there to push me out of my comfort zone. As an example, in the Spring Term, she encouraged me to lead one of the sessions at a Teach Meet and although at the time I was terrified, I can honestly say it is one of the best experiences of my NQT year. I have definitely felt so supported and appreciated during my time here so far.

What has been your most memorable day in teaching?

The most memorable day on the job so far has been the 12th March 2020. You ask how I remember the exact day? That’s because this was the day I had the extraordinary opportunity to take two of my sixth formers to Auschwitz, through the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme, led by the Holocaust Educational Trust. It was the longest day, but without a doubt, the tiredness was worth the visit – a truly unforgettable experience!

What advice would you share with others about to start their teaching qualifications?

I think the main thing I have learned is that your voice deserves to be heard. Linking back to the Teach Meet I was encouraged to take part in, I was so scared to lead the session as I thought experienced teachers would not want to take ideas from a lowly NQT, but I was pleasantly surprised! Not only did I get a lot of praise from the practice I shared, I had several teachers emailing me in the following weeks with examples of where they had applied my ideas to their own planning. 

Kristen PayneWe Are (Third Width)


“No matter what stage you are at in teaching, there is always something new to learn and try. If you can find a school that understands this and appreciates your voice and what you have to offer, you’re on to a winner.”