I had a crisis around my 25th birthday. I was working in sales and wasn’t getting any job satisfaction. I wanted to do something worthwhile and working with young people seemed like a natural choice.
I’ve been working at Ark Putney Academy as a Teaching Assistant for a year. When I decided I wanted to work with young people, I approached Putney because it was my old school! I still knew some of the teachers and it was a setting I could relate to, it helped that I could picture myself in that school environment.
Being a TA at Putney has been great. I’ve been offered so much support and was always made to feel part of the team. When I first started, I was in awe of the teachers, but then as the year progressed I started to see the value I could add and began to think “I could do this.”
I’ve always loved learning and education. History has been my passion since I was very young, and I wanted the chance to not only be immersed in a subject I love every day, but also to encourage young people to enjoy it as much as I do.
The application process was fairly straightforward. You apply through UCAS using one of the assigned codes, depending on the route you want to take; you get essentially the same training regardless of which route you take, so it’s about choosing the route that best suits your needs.
Once my application was sent in, I was called for an interview day where I had to do a basic numeracy and literacy test and teach a 15-minute lesson to a small group of pupils, which was followed by a formal interview. It seemed daunting before I got there, but the staff involved were all very supportive. You also have to take an official literacy and numeracy test, which you have to pass to be accepted onto the course. You get three tries of each,...
My journey applying for teacher training was a long and bumpy one. I had constant doubts in my confidence and the feeling that it was never the right time. I have two young children and the prospect of balancing my priorities at home and my personal life, alongside the consuming desire to teach, filled me with both fear and excitement. I was daunted and questioned how I would be able to cope.
I’m only three weeks in and I guess there are a lot of hurdles to come and the workload is going to increase, in addition with responsibility of starting to teach and be accountable for my lessons.
Teaching is not something to go into light heartily, despite the fact I sort of fell into it. I found myself completely mesmerisedby the way primary education works today; being only 22 years old I assumed things wouldn't be that different from when I was at school.
However, the passion and excitement that is weaved into the curriculum is a wonderful thing to witness but also to be a part of. For me, each class I've worked with (for a considerable amount of time that is) I have loved each and every child because there has been a moment or a spark that has showed me how I've made a difference to that child's life.
Completing teacher training is the first step. Will you be ready for what comes next? Here are my top five tips for surviving your NQT year:
I believe behaviour is the foundation of education. Without it, nothing else matters, i.e. resources, subject knowledge etc. Most of the advice you will be hearing includes phrases like, “Be firm but fair”, and, “Don’t smile until after Christmas”. Whilst I don’t agree with the latter, being consistent in your approach at this time of year will pay dividends. I was very firm and strict (not unreasonably) within the...
There is no shame in saying the Leadership Development Programme is a challenge. But you never get away from the fact that you are part of something a lot bigger, and I'm loving it. When you have difficult days, it's good to be part of a network of people who have experienced or are experiencing those difficult days as well, and often just hearing a story from those people about their day and the difference they're making is a really positive thing.
The social life does take a hit, especially during the first couple of months while you're getting used to the sheer volume of work you have to do. It has been difficult at points. But the best part about being a primary school teacher is that you get to build relationships...
There was a time when as a new teacher entering the profession, the first and most important piece of advice you heard from an experienced colleague was… don’t smile until Christmas! This was meant to make you a tough nut to crack in the classroom, and show your students that you were not to be messed with. However, times have changed and more teachers now live by the rule that you need to build strong and positive relationships with students if you want to get the best out of them. Ruling by fear will only get you so far, and will never get students to run through brick walls for you and give you their very best....
As an NQT, my first full year of teaching seems to have flown by. It's been a busy year, and I still find myself thinking “Wow, I'm actually a teacher now!” I trained through a School Direct route which put me right in the centre of school life from day one. I had training in Reception, Year 3 and Year 6, and I am now the very proud teacher of a Year 2 class. In light of my training period coming to a close, here are some tips that I have put together to inspire anyone who is about to take the leap into the best profession in the whole world.
In the world of teaching, organisation is key. I would recommend buying a USB with a large memory, and also splashing out on a portable hard drive. This allows you to back up everything. I keep every lesson that I ever teach, labelled so that I can find it easily if I ever need it again. Also, get a good, sturdy diary and use this to help you balance your...
I had always known I wanted to teach, and it had always been in my mind to find a way to get into the classroom. But life happened and I found myself working in a bank for 18 years, dreading going into work. One day I decided to do something about it. At that stage I didn’t have a degree, so I started by going to evening classes to try and find a subject I was interested in. It wasn’t until I took an evening class in Biology that I even considered science. I took my HNC and then secured a place at university studying Biomedical Science. Having completed that, I was offered a funded Masters and eventually I did a PhD.
All the while I was learning, I was still aware that the ultimate goal was to teach and during my PhD I secured a place on SCITT programme. Unfortunately my situation changed, and I realised that paying to train wasn’t an option. I came across Teach First...