Profile picture of Jess Benson.

Year One Teacher, Star Academy

I was very aware of the reputation Leeds Trinity had in training teachers.

How my experiences of education led me on this path

I have always wanted to work with children, whether this was being a midwife, a teacher or a child psychologist. I’m the oldest child in my family so I have always been quite bossy!

At primary school I had a good experience from all those that taught me, this really inspired me to work with children in the future. At high school and sixth form I didn’t have such a great experience and didn’t feel the teachers believed in me. But this inspired me to prove them wrong as I knew deep down I could achieve everything I wanted to.

I now want to be known as that teacher that believes in all the children in the classroom, especially those that may not have the support at home they need.

Jess Benson main image.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

I was very aware of the reputation Leeds Trinity had in training teachers. I also liked the fact that the campus was a little way out of the city centre and we had our own building for our teacher training to take place in. Prior to coming to Leeds Trinity, I took part in the Rewards Scheme where I got to stay on campus and undertake a taster for the Primary Education course and also experience what student life would be like here. But it was actually during a school visit to my sixth form from one of the recruitment team that really made my mind up that I wanted to train to be a teacher here. My form tutor in sixth form, Mr Golding, really helped me a great deal with applying to university and we did mock interview questions. He just told me to be myself and I did. 

My best memories

I have to say that my best memory is the fact that I met my fiancé, Brad Lount, while studying here!

Brad and Jess with Lauren Cobb.

One of the most valuable experiences about studying at Leeds Trinity was being a Student Ambassador. This really built my confidence and allowed me to meet and develop relationships with other students that were on very different courses. As a teacher trainee being on placement a lot meant that I didn’t meet that many other students outside of my course, so being an ambassador definitely made up for that.

Valuable placements

In my first year I undertook a year one placement at a school. My second year I did an alternative placement at a specialist provision school that involved working with children with special educational needs. I did my second teaching placement in reception, which my degree specialises in. And my final placement was in year two.

Leaving University with newfound confidence

I definitely developed my confidence whilst studying at Leeds Trinity. Graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic meant it was more difficult to find a job. Interviews were online which didn’t enable me to show all my skills and personality fully. I started as a supply teacher but I was able to put into practice so many things that I have learnt on my placements. I stayed at the same school when I was working in supply but I was teaching different year groups. I was confident doing this as my placements had given me such a range of year groups to teach.

My career since graduating

I work in a deprived area in Bradford. Having not grown up in an affluent area myself I feel I can really connect with the parents as well as the children. I can really teach the children that it doesn’t matter where you come from, everyone has their strengths and you can be whoever you want to be if you put your mind to it.

My advice to anyone thinking of studying a similar course

Studying to be a teacher at Leeds Trinity won’t just give you the theory, you will get extensive practical classroom experience to give you all the tools you need. It is a challenging but very rewarding course and you will have lecturers that will really support you throughout and after you graduate. I also know some very successful teachers who have previously studied here.