UCAS Teacher Training's blog

Advice from current trainees, newly qualified and experienced teachers, teacher mentors, and tutors.

From teaching assistant to qualified teacher - Tom Savagar

 
As I come to the end of my teacher training, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on my experience of moving from being a teaching assistant (TA) to becoming a qualified teacher. As this is a transition which many teachers have made, I thought that I would share some helpful things to bear in mind when making the jump. As a TA, you’ve already shown that you can offer a great deal to the children you work with, so with the right support, there’s no reason you can’t become a fantastic teacher.
 
A new role
 
As a TA, you get a daily look at how teachers work. This means that you’re uniquely positioned to learn more about the path you’re about to embark on. The role of a teacher differs from that of a TA, and it’s worth taking this opportunity to speak to the teachers in your school, or any friends or relatives you have who are teachers, about how. 
  • What does their day look like?
  • What responsibilities would you have as a teacher that you don’t currently have? This will also give you a better idea of which areas you could focus on when you begin your teacher training.
  • Do you have experience of whole class teaching?
  • How confident would you feel about planning a lesson?
Don’t worry if you’ve not got experience in these areas, the whole point of your training is to learn and practice new things, but it’s important to bear in mind that these are the skills which will make up your practice as a teacher.
 
Which route is right?
 
While anyone who wants to work in a school run by a local authority needs to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), there are now many ways to achieve this.
  1. One-year university-based PGCE courses for those who already have a degree.
  2. School-based Teach First courses for those with degrees with first class honours.
  3. Three-year university-based ITE courses, for which you don’t necessarily need a degree.
With all of these available routes into teaching, it’s important to work out which one is right for you. While it’s tempting to go for whichever route would get you to QTS the quickest, your training is invaluable, so it’s important to make sure that your chosen route meets your needs.
  • Are you someone who has a wealth of work experience, but would like to learn more about the theories and ideas behind teaching?
  • Do you already have a degree, but lack confidence in how you would manage your own classroom?
Most people fall somewhere in the middle, so it’s important to research what each training route involves. It may be useful to talk to the teachers in your school. What type of teacher training did they do, and which aspects of their training have they found helpful? If you choose a university based route, open days allow you to talk to the academics who would oversee your training, so that you can get a better picture of which route is the right one for you.
 
How to make the most of your training
 
If you’ve gotten to grips with the role of a teacher, chosen a training route, and applied for your course, now you’ve reached the fun part; the training itself. This is your opportunity to make the most of your time, and ensure that, at the end of the process, you are confident in the classroom. Many teacher training courses offer you a number of choices; you might specialise in a subject, you might be offered a placement in a specific type of school such as a school for children with special educational needs, there might be volunteering opportunities. This is your chance to go outside of your comfort zone and experience something you may not have before, or work on something you find difficult.
 
The great thing about your training is that you have the freedom to experiment, and concentrate on becoming the best teacher you can be. It’s important to remember that, as a trainee, no one’s expecting perfection. If you work hard, care about the children you work with, and apply yourself, you’ll be doing a great job.
 

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Changing lives and getting paid for it – Pranav Patel

 

 

 

 

 

I want to share with you my journey into teaching. An honest version of this journey because in this career you will face different challenges to any other career you undertake. Never doubt however that this is the best undertaking you will ever have.

My name’s Pran and I’m currently a Lead Practitioner in an inner London academy. The son of two immigrant parents, one from the West Indian state of Gujrat and the other hailing from the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, I flittered from a variety of career options until, by chance, I ended up supporting in a secondary school for a day. At this point for me it clicked. I’m changing lives and getting paid for it, does it get any better than this?

Born in a typically British Asian household I was always pushed to excel; be successful in every aspect of my life from academia to career. The day I told my father I wanted to be a school teacher, he looked down, disappointed. I'm pretty sure he cursed under his breath in Gujrati. “Why have you worked so hard? Don’t you want to be a REAL success?” he asked.

Real success in our household, like many BAME would experience, meant careers of high money and status. My response at the time was that I just wanted to make a difference and cause ripples of good karma in the world (I thought I’d sweeten him up with a bit of our culture).

Undeterred I went to a secondary state school in Wolverhampton for my teacher training. This was hands down the best experience of my twenties. It felt like I was bettering the community that raised me.

During my NQT year on our food shopping trips in our local town centre, week after week I was greeted with "Sir! Sir!" This was the moment my father recognised the value of what I do; when he finally told me how proud he was and saw that my success wouldn’t be measured in just money, but in the commodity of deeds.

This is my core purpose. The reason I teach is to serve the pupils in my care; to give them the best possible start in life regardless of their background. This I have taken with me to every lesson in every classroom I have ever taught in. When you choose to teach, choose your core purpose and it will serve you well through the years of your career.

Teaching has taken me to three continents and now to the hustle and bustle of the capital. I have given students a taste of culture similar in some cases but very different to the stereotypes in others. I am the purveyor of so much more than a curriculum.  More than this I would say teaching has taken me to back to myself, my true calling and a place I call home.

In recent years I have developed myself as an educational leader to extend my impact on pupils to outside my classroom and outside my school. Last year I achieved my NPQSL (National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership) with a focus on Teaching and Learning coaching.

My focus is about impacting on as many teachers’ practice as I can, then in turn this will impact on as many pupils as possible. My ultimate aim is to lead a school and propagate my vision to teachers and pupils alike.

To get there I will continue to use those sources of support that have taken me to this point now. One of these has been #BAMEed network. There is currently inequity between ratios of BAME pupil to BAME teachers and senior leaders. As such the support of others to engage more BAME into the profession is as important as the support to keep them positively progressing.

I work with the BAMEed network to ensure our diverse communities are represented as a substantive part of the education workforce for teachers and leaders in education. Fundamentally it’s about making school leadership reflect the communities they serve and letting our students see the leaders they want to be.

When you decide to join us in this fantastic career then do join our network. That is ALL you, all colours of the rainbow including you wonderful allies. Diversity benefits us all.

Pran @MrPatelsawesome


 

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Getting behaviour right from the start – Tom Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone who wants to be a teacher should know this: getting behaviour right from the start is one of the most important things you can do. If you hope they'll behave, good luck. Maybe they will. Maybe some will. And maybe they won't and you'll need to know what to do. In-school training can be patchy. If you're lucky you'll find a school that knows how to train you in the craft of classroom management. Or maybe you won't; maybe your training schools will be civil and ordered and you won't see what it is that makes that happen.

I investigated behaviour training in 2015 for the Department for Education, and in 2016 we published our guidelines about what a new teacher should know in order to be 'classroom ready'. Running a room isn't a small part of our jobs - it's an essential component. Without good behaviour, learning is massively impeded. Don't believe those who tell you a noisy classroom is a learning classroom - it normally isn't and what learning there could be is impeded by distraction and chaos.

So what do you need to know and be able to do? We boiled it down to three areas:

1. Routines

These are your main super power. Students need to know what they are expected to do in the classroom and corridor. Don't expect them to know, or if they do, to do it. They need to know what you want them to do. That means laying down some tram lines for them. Think of every behaviour they perform in the classroom. What ones do you want them all to do, the same every time (pretty much)? Take entering the classroom. Do you want them to line up? In pairs? A queue? Do you want them to come straight in? Do they hang their coats up? Do they sing a song? It doesn't matter - what matters is that there is a routine, and that they know what it is. And if they don't do it, practice it until they get it right. That way they start to form habits, and habits become part of them. And that means they behave the way they need to behave, without thinking. And that means you save time and head space to think about the things you want them to think about - the learning. Routines are the foundation of good behaviour. They take time to communicate and imbed. But nothing is worth your time more.

2. Responses

Routines help to build your classroom. But no routines are bullet proof. Things will go wrong. What will you do? There are only a finite number of things that normally go wrong in a classroom. So rather than simply wait for things to break before you fix them, ask yourselves, 'How will I deal with this situation when it happens?' What will you do when someone comes in late? What will you say? Loosely script your responses so you don't have to think on the spot. Know your school consequence system inside out. What are the sanctions and rewards? What are the lines they can't cross, or should reach for? The school system is your ally here, so use it.

3. Relationships

This is the hardest part: how to build relationships with students. It takes time with some students; with some it takes years. But the magic trick...well, there is no trick. But if you work on (1) and (2) above then (3) starts to happen. It is rarely (maybe never) achieved directly. You cannot make children respect or heed you or view your directions with value. But you can build it over time if you are reliable, resolute, obviously care about them academically and as people, but are stubborn enough to be consistent and retain high expectations wherever happens. Don't try to curry favour with children. Don't bribe them; don't fawn or beg them to behave. Build a culture where they want to behave. Be the teacher.

New teachers frequently walk into schools that are less than perfect, teaching children who are less than perfect. Once we acknowledge that we start to understand that school systems sometimes have to be made to work. But the good news is that with patience and hard work, teachers can make a huge impact with every child. And that starts with good behaviour. It's the invisible curriculum that we can't afford to ignore.

Tom

Tom Bennett is the founder and director of researchED. He currently advises the Department for Education on behaviour policy, recently leading the ITT behaviour review group, and independent report on behaviour in schools. A former teacher and TES columnist, he’s written a number of books on education and teaching including The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Follow him on Twitter @tombennett71


 

If you liked this

 
It’s one of a series of blogs to help make your introduction to teacher training a little easier. Get up-to-speed with some of the topics you’re likely to encounter in your training:

Common myths about the brain and learning

There’s more to assessment than meets the eye

From application to induction – Dave Stephenson

 

 

 

 

 

In December 2015 I was working as Assistant Inclusion Manager in a secondary school within the West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance. I enjoyed this role immensely but knew that moving into the classroom was the way forward. I had been contemplating applying for the Schools Direct training programme for some time and had enough in-school experience to feel confident in my application. With the encouragement of my colleagues, I submitted my application on the last day of term before Christmas.

The application process was swift and expertly facilitated by Clare, West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance Manager, and Heidi, Initial Teacher Training Secondary Manager. On the first day back after the Christmas holiday, I was required to deliver a twenty minute lesson in my chosen subject (History) before sitting down with Clare and Heidi for an interview. Prior to planning my mini-lesson, I found out which year group I would be working with (in this case year 8) and researched the topics that they had recently been studying. I decided to focus on the English Civil War, designing an activity that involved identifying which side various historical figures would have fought for based on evidence that I provided. My main concern prior to the lesson had been about filling the entire twenty minutes, but this proved to be baseless – if anything, I struggled to fit the entire activity into the allotted time. With hindsight, it was the quickest twenty minutes of my life. I was pleased with the outcome of the lesson; the students seemed engaged and the planned learning objective had been achieved.

I found the interview to be far less nerve-wracking than the lesson (children really are harsher critics than adults), and Clare and Heidi immediately put me at ease. The questions explored my areas of interest within my subject, my previous experiences in education and a self-critique of the lesson that I had just delivered. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and it was a nice opportunity to discuss my hopes for my future career and raise any concerns that I had. I was told that I had been successful within days of my interview and my place on the course was confirmed.

The nine months between my application and the start of the course involved a great deal of preparation but I was guided the entire way by the WYTA team. Perhaps the most stressful aspect was the undertaking of skills tests in numeracy and literacy. Literacy has always been a passion of mine, yet numeracy has never been one of my strengths. To prepare, I asked a Maths teacher friend to tutor me in the areas that the test would cover, working from the book Passing the Numeracy Skills Test by Mark Patmore. My advice to future applicants would be to prepare yourself fully before undertaking the tests, especially if you lack confidence in a particular area. The tests are very difficult and applicants are only allowed three attempts, so failing to pass can derail your place on the course before it has even begun. This was the hardest part of the entire process and one that I was glad to get out of the way.

Dave

Dave Stephenson is a School Direct PGCE student at West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance. This was originally posted on the WYTA ITT blog and is published with kind permission.


 

What are professional skills tests? 

 
In this blog, we answer three of the most frequently asked questions.

My biggest achievement so far – Lucian Huxley-Smith

The moment when I smiled the widest was when I got a child to write for the first time I'd ever seen them write. After three months of trying to get them to write. That was my biggest achievement so far, I think.

Coming into teaching I thought that, if I didn't provide every student I met with a C or with the highest grade they can possibly get, I'd be failing, and I've soon realised that's not necessarily the case at all. If you can get that person who's never picked up a pen in front of you to pick up a pen and write, then you've achieved something huge. If you can get across the importance of a comma or a full-stop to someone who's previously not even understood what those concepts are, that's huge. You are making a difference to people's lives potentially on a daily basis, and that's massive.

We all remember our best teachers from school and, when you're in the bubble of teaching, it’s very easy to forget that you could be that teacher; that someone could have walked away from your lesson that day with a thought they're going to keep for the rest of their life. It's important to recognise those small wins, because actually they're not small, they're massive to that individual.

Right now, I certainly intend to stay with teaching. Any other job I've ever done I have probably loathed a good 60% of it. Of course, there are tough times as a teacher, but actually I love about 80% of it. The lows are hard, but the highs always make it worth it, unquestionably.

When I was script-writing I was happy, but there's a great unknown, there's no measure of your impact. With teaching, any time I mark a book, any time I see a kid smile at something, I see that impact on a daily basis.

I've grown up more the last nine months than I think had for the previous nine years. I'm much better organised than I ever used to be. I now no longer feel that any challenge is insurmountable. I'm filled with a greater confidence that, anything that comes my way, I will be able to take it on. It may not be easy, but that doesn't mean it's not doable. I can do anything I really want to turn my hand to. It's just a matter of overcoming those initial stumbling blocks.

I have felt supported every step of the way. I've never felt left alone at any time with Teach First. Any time I'm feeling like I'm struggling to meet the challenge, other participants are your key network. We all have a common goal and having that support network is unquestionably one of the most useful things I have. We go for a beer, discuss what went well, moreover what didn't go so well, and have that common understanding that we're all going through this together.

Lucian

Lucian Huxley-Smith is a former script-writer who is now teaching English in London. This was originally posted by Teach First and is published with kind permission.


 

If you liked this…

 
Shane and Janie share their stories about why they chose a career in teaching:
 
 

Starting my second placement – Dave Stephenson

 

 

 

 

 

After the Christmas holidays, it became pertinent for trainees to begin looking for employment. The University held a seminar on seeking and gaining employment, with senior members of staff from a variety of local schools coming to talk to us. This was very useful in preparing for job applications and interviews, and our West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance and University tutors have continued to support us in seeking out available positions. I have been very fortunate as a school just five minutes away from my house advertised for a History teacher position to start work in June. My application was accepted and, during my interview day, I knew immediately that this was an institution that I wanted to be part of. I was required to teach a lesson to a Year 7 class and was then interviewed by the head teacher, assistant head and head of department. The lesson went well and the interview was a great experience, as I was able to discuss my passion for my subject and the wider role of being an educator, as well as talk about my hopes for the future. Within an hour of the interview ending, I was contacted to say that I had been given the job. I am absolutely thrilled to have gained employment at such as fantastic school and cannot wait to begin teaching there once the course has ended.

I am now teaching five days a week in my second placement school, with thirty-three lessons spread over a two-week timetable. As well as History, I am teaching one class of English and Sociology respectively. This has been really useful, as it has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and explore teaching methods outside my specialist subject. With my History classes, I have had to do a lot of private research to ensure that my subject knowledge is detailed enough for topics that I myself have never studied. For instance, I have recently completed a scheme of work on the Korean War, which I had very little prior knowledge of. However, with the help of my host teacher, I have been able to develop my knowledge and understanding of the topic, and have successfully delivered a series of lessons on it to my Year 10 students. There are few things more satisfying than looking back over the work that my students have completed, highlighting their progression over the course of the last half-term.

With just five weeks left of placement two, it feels like the end of the course is in sight. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my ITT year so far, yet I am excited by the prospect of completing my training and embarking on my NQT year. The course involves a lot of hard work and is relentlessly fast-paced; it is crucial to remain on top of the workload as it would be very easy to fall behind. However, the support of fellow trainees, University tutors and colleagues makes life so much easier, and the professional satisfaction that comes with teaching is a singular experience that makes the job one of the best in the world. I recently spoke to potential West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance applicants and was able to honestly say that this has been the best few months of my life. I look to the future with a great deal of excitement about where my path will lead.

Dave

Dave Stephenson is a School Direct PGCE student at West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance. This was originally posted on the WYTA ITT blog and is published with kind permission.


 

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What I wish I had known – Hannah Londorf

1.   Stay on top of things from day one

In those first weeks of starting your training you’ll only be teaching a few lessons and keeping on top of writing lesson plans and reflecting on your teaching practice will be relatively straightforward and not all that time consuming. However by the time March swings round and you are 6 months in, it’s a different story; with 15 or more lessons a week to plan and teach and all the responsibilities of a regular class teacher (think assessments, marking, homework…), you’ll be wishing that you put the time in to keep on top of things from the start. Getting into a routine early also means it can feel a lot less stressful later on in the game.
 
2.    Get to know your classes – make that extra effort
For me this has been the single most valuable string in my teaching bow. Make a seating plan or ask the class teacher if they already have one and learn those names! Find out which pupils might need extra support, or those who might need additional challenges. Not only will this help you to plan engaging lessons which support all pupils to progress in their understanding and learning, it will allow you to quickly adapt teaching or information to support your class. By greeting your pupils in the hallway and engaging with them you are showing them that you have a genuine interest in their wellbeing and this will speed up your ability to develop a strong relationship with them, in turn allowing you to develop into an outstanding teacher.
 
3.    The topic all student teachers worry about…
How will I manage behaviour? Read point two again… knowing your pupils and using their names to manage classes is the first step in effective behaviour management. It’s very hard to call out pupils who consistently talk or disrupt lessons if you don’t know their names. Don’t forget though, that the names of the pupils who consistently behave and work well are also important. Praising positive attitudes in the classroom is just as important as disciplining negative ones, and will ultimately help you to manage the behaviour of your pupils.
 
4.    Just keep smiling, smiling, smiling
You’ll soon find that your mood will swiftly become the theme for the atmosphere of the lesson. No matter how rubbish your morning has been, how tired you are or how many books you know are waiting for you to mark, you’ve got to keep that cheery face on and the positivity flowing. Pupils seem to have a sixth sense, so if they can feel that you aren’t on top it’s often hard for them to be on top. So greet them with a smile and a good morning, ask them if they are ok. It really can make the difference between an awful lesson and outstanding lesson.
 
5.    Look ahead: planning
Planning from day to day is fine and this is how you’ll roll in the first weeks but quickly adapting, to plan weeks and then months ahead will be crucial in reducing your workload and getting a handle on where your pupils are at. Developing your own schemes of work (SOW) – a plan for 10-12 lessons which follow a certain topic or theme – will allow you to plan materials which support your pupils’ natural progression through a topic and enable you to get an overview of what your objective and outcomes are with regards to their progress and learning.
 
6.    SOW, SEN, WWW, EBI, SPaG….
Acronyms… teachers love them. A cursory glance on Google revealed that there are just over a 100 different terms or phrases related to teaching which use abbreviations. Scheme of work becomes (SOW), Special Educational Needs (SEN), what went well (WWW) or even better if (EBI) and don’t forget that when correcting spelling, punctuation and grammar that it’s really all about SPaG! Whilst it might seem daunting you’ll learn them as you go along, and by the end of your training year you’ll definitely be ‘au fait’ with knowing your SCITT from your ITT and your WILF from your WALT!
 
7.    Love your subject
It may seem obvious, you’ve chosen to teach your subject. You’ve probably studied it at University and A-Level. You love your subject. So let your pupils know that.  Use your knowledge and personal experience to bring the subject to life. Something you’re not interested in? Don’t let them know that. Being a teacher is part actor, part door to door sales. Sell your subject to your pupils with your own enthusiasm and watch the sales (results) come rolling in!
 
8.    Tweet, tweet, tweet…
I’ll admit, I was a sceptic. Twitter, how can that help me to develop my teaching? But apparently Twitter is the place to be if you are a teacher. Set up an account (making sure to take all the usual security precautions) and off you go. Depending on your subject, start by following relevant blogs, news outlets, and organisations. Twitter will suggest other people for you to follow as you go along but there are hundreds if not thousands of other educators out there sharing innovative and creative teaching materials and ideas. Some of my best teaching activities and ideas have stemmed from an idea I found on twitter. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase and share your own materials! Who knows your first job might come from something you shared on Twitter!
 
Hannah
 
Hannah Londorf is a geography School Direct trainee teacher at the Associated Merseyside Partnership SCITT.

 

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Tips for teacher training interviews – David Douglass

All teacher training providers have their own format for interviews. Some Higher Education Institutions and School Centred Initial Teacher Training providers will have individual and group tasks as part of their selection process. My tips below are therefore not an attempt to second guess interview questions, rather to act as food for thought.
 
Key areas to consider
A provider may wish to explore these key areas:
  • Why you feel you want to become a teacher.
  • How your experience and qualifications to date have prepared you for the role.
  • What specific qualities, skills and knowledge you'd bring to the role/school.
  • Your ability to reflect on lessons you've observed.
  • Areas of strength and areas you feel you'd need more support with.
  • How well you understand their course (vision, structure and aims etc.).
On the day
If your interview is at a school it is wise to attend in a suit or appropriate smart clothing. You may well be asked to interact with students or teach a short activity so it’s best to be dressed for the occasion. Tasks on the day will vary between providers but expect some/all of the following:
  • Panel interview.
  • Written task (lesson plan, review of a student’s work etc.).
  • Teaching task or lesson.
  • Group task / discussion.
  • Meeting with students.
If you are asked to prepare a lesson or to talk through a lesson for the day – always bring a copy of the plan for the panel.
 
What are we looking for in a great applicant?
 
Through your answers and the activities of the day, we’d hope to uncover most/all of the following:
  • Passion - for the subject or phase you want to teach.
  • Knowledge – good teachers have a breadth of knowledge beyond their formal qualifications.
  • Confidence – we know you will grow and develop as a teacher but we need to see potential!
  • Care – this is a profession where putting the student first is a given.
  • Highly Literate – Able to speak well in formal situations and be comfortable in correcting the spelling, punctuation and grammar of students.
  • Motivation – Do you have the drive for the multifaceted nature of the role? Can you motivate others?
  • Empathy – Can you see both sides? Can you demonstrate you’d be firm but fair especially when under pressure?
  • Sense of humour – if I need to explain this one… you’re probably not quite what we’re looking for :)
Finally…
 
It’s a cliché but above all else – be yourself in the interview! The process is a supportive one, we are trying to find a good fit for us as the trainer, and you equally want to feel that you can work with us. At the end of the formal panel interview you’ll be asked if you have any questions, the most common two questions are:
  1. Will I be here (the school doing the interview) for my placement? ANSWER – often, but not always. This is the point to mention any travel issues you may have (no car, moving house etc. so that school placements can be made which work for both parties)
  2. How does the training work? ANSWER – Most providers run some ‘block’ training at the start of the course with ‘training days’ scheduled throughout the rest of the year. The rest of the time you will be in your first placement school (often called your host school) followed by a half term placement in a Second School Placement (SSP) before returning to the host school for the rest of the year.
Good luck!
 
David
 
David Douglass is Director of Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT. He has over 20 years’ experience of working in Secondary schools in Yorkshire, Northumberland and Newcastle upon Tyne. He is currently Deputy Headteacher at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. This was originally posted on the Sacred Heart Newcastle SCITT blog and is published with kind permission. Follow him on Twitter @NewcastleSCITT

 

Teacher training interview coming up?

Find out what training providers look for and what they may ask.

Top three tips for trainee teachers – Iqra Abbasi

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot believe that I am just short four months away from obtaining my PGCE. In some ways this course has been a bit of a blur, but the hard work that has been required has pushed me beyond belief. Here are my top three tips for trainee teachers-to-be...

1. Become as organised as you possibly can
If you don't have a diary, GET one! Life moves as fast as a flash when you're a trainee and if you don't keep track of your time and the dates it is very easy to get left behind. I have an academic diary which is separate to my journal and I use it every single day! If you didn't start organising before, you're going to have to now. I'm still working on it to be fair and I should definitely be more productive at the weekends, but I know that if I still had the amount of organisation I did in second year, I'd have quit by now.

2. Prepare for the highs the lows
And boy oh boy are there lows to match the highs! Whilst so much of this year has been about self-development and reaching goals, a lot of it has also been filled with tears, stress, sleepless nights. Some things that really, really help me are praying and going back to that peaceful spiritual place, removing myself from it all for a few minutes at least. Also I've not been regular by any means, but when I have made the time to go to the gym (mainly in the half term!), I have really appreciated the after effects. Maintaining my water intake and upping my fruits and 'good food', to sort of balance the amount of junk food I get through helps and of course taking time out to catch up with family and friends is really key. Even if they aren't going through what you are, it’s so nice to be able to put those to-do lists and deadlines to the side for a few hours and just spend quality time with those you love. Of course focusing on the positives and the long term goals always help and to be honest, time flies by. I still remember the first day I walked into the classroom I teach in, yet now I know the kids like the back of my hand all within 6 months. It is both exciting and scary!

3. Set up a teaching journal
Fill it with the things you learn, that you really want to carry forward in your own classroom one day! Some of mine is based simply on observations of different classrooms, but most of it has tips and little tricks teachers have shared with me, or things I have read about along the way. At the moment it’s in a scruffy old book, filled with my messy handwriting but I'm hoping that at some point this summer I'll be copying it out into a new book ha-ha.

Iqra

Iqra Abbasi is a PGCE student at Two Mile Ash Initial Teacher Training Partnership. This was originally posted on her Teacher Training blog and is published with kind permission.


 

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Teaching provides an amazing, varied, irresistible career – Dame Alison Peacock

 

 

 

 

I became a teacher because I realised that I wanted to be free to plan my days, to work with young people in a vibrant ever-changing environment and because I wanted to do something that might make a positive difference.

I have worked in primary and secondary schools and have also spoken at hundreds of conferences, so you could say I have taught teachers too. Essentially, the job has many similarities throughout all age ranges. The key characteristic is one of connecting with others, engaging them in a compelling process that helps them to think, enabling them to learn something new.

When I started teaching I worked in a large secondary school. Every day was different and exciting but there were plenty of challenges too. When I look back, I remember the highs and lows of exhilaration when things went well as well as the exhaustion that came just before a holiday. I remember pupils that I taught and their delight and excitement when we produced a school play in the summer term. I recall my first parents’ evening in the school hall feeling very young and yet full of optimism and pride about the children in my class. I also recall being invited to dinner with my Head of Department who seemed ancient but now that I look back realize was probably only in her thirties.

Every school that I have worked in has felt like an important micro-community. Each school has encouraged huge loyalty and closeness - working as a teacher is like joining a large, diverse family. There have always been particular colleagues who I have formed close friendships with, families that I have connected with and supported and children that I have cared deeply about. To teach is to become emotionally engaged. This is why the job can feel all-consuming at times. Teachers care.

I chose to become a headteacher of a primary school that was in special measures. The school was a place where hope had been lost and I took on the challenge of turning it into a school that inspired teachers across England. The story of this Learning without Limits approach is captured in a series of books that I have authored in partnership with colleagues from the University of Cambridge. My role as a teacher became one as researcher and writer whilst also working as a headteacher. Ultimately, before leaving my school last year, I became one of the few headteachers also working as a professor at university.

Throughout my career I have been inspired by the importance of ‘big ideas’ that seek to improve life and educational opportunities for all. This inspiration has been fuelled by my love of engagement with professional learning and research. From my earliest days as a student teacher, I was fascinated by the lectures on my PGCE and soon went on to seek out further opportunities to study.

Having received a Damehood from the Queen, I can honestly say that I am amazed by the wonderful experience that teaching has offered me. I have never regretted choosing this career path for a single moment. Driven by a passion to support all schools to offer inspiration both for children and for teachers, I took the decision last year to leave headship to establish a new professional body. The new Chartered College of Teaching has been set up to provide a membership organisation for all teachers that will support career pathways, connect teachers across the country and provide a study path towards Chartered Teacher status. We aim to enhance the status of the teaching profession and to offer an authoritative, credible voice that will be respected by government and wider society.  This is the next stage of my career and it feels incredibly important.

I hope that you will join our profession, inspire others and gain the true satisfaction that comes from knowing your efforts will change lives for the better.

Dame Alison Peacock
Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching


 

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