What is your background?
Before I went to university, I wanted to take a year out to get some work experience. I initially was planning on studying paediatric medicine at university, so I decided to spend a year working in a preschool supporting their SEN department. However, my plans changed as I accidentally fell in love with the job and decided to study child development and psychology instead, working full-time alongside this as a learning support assistant and then as an unqualified teacher in a special school.
Why did you decide to teach?
I decided that I wanted a career in teaching after spending some time as a learning support assistant, with one particular experience with a student standing out as the ‘lightbulb’ moment. They had come up from primary school having hated Maths and had a reputation for being very hard work and refusing to participate at all in Maths lessons to the point of absconding from school. Over the course of a year, myself and her Maths teacher worked to plug knowledge gaps from missing primary education, build her self-esteem and resilience, and also worked to generally make her more enthusiastic about Maths. We would work together to plan different and creative lessons/approaches to topics to get her on board, and this showed me how much fun teaching can be! By the end of the year, she had helped me to create a ‘Why Maths is Great’ display board and was happily participating in all of the lessons. Going on that journey with the student and seeing them grow and build in confidence was very rewarding and so I went into teaching with the desire to repeat that experience as many times as I can!
What do you enjoy about teaching?
I love my subject and I am very passionate about changing minds on Maths. It is something I always struggled with in school, and I had, if I am being honest, firmly adopted the mindset of ‘I don’t like Maths, it’s too hard and it doesn’t make sense’ until I had a very supportive and inspiring teacher in KS4 who encouraged me and changed my entire perspective. Now, I enjoy building the same enthusiasm and love for the subject in my pupils - seeing them make progress, become inspired by Mathematics, and shed their anxieties around studying it is worth all of the initial ‘but Miss, when will I ever need this?!’ comments!
I also enjoy the way that the day is varied in a structured way. No day is the same when you are working in a school and it never gets boring, but it’s similar enough that you can adopt a routine and stay organised if you manage your time well!
Why did you choose the School Centred Initial Teacher Training route and the Cheshire East SCITT?
A friend of mine did the Cheshire East SCITT the year before, and she had nothing but positive things to say so that was certainly a glowing recommendation which pointed me towards this course in particular.
I wanted to complete a SCITT so that I could have the opportunity to continually be able to test out new techniques and learning in the classroom, meaning that professional development and reflection was always at the forefront of my teaching practice. Being able to have weekly check-ins and training, and then an opportunity to see where these fit into your own teaching practice and persona is invaluable and I much preferred this approach to learning in big chunks at university for weeks at a time and then having to apply everything all at once.
Do you have a job for next year and what are you looking forward to?
I do have a job for next year. I was employed by my first placement school after a few months of working there and I was very excited because I absolutely loved it there! I’m looking forward to having my own classroom to decorate and organise (and store all of my folders so I’m not carrying them all from room to room), and for having a year seven form that I can see through to year eleven.
What were the three best things about the programme?
The structure of meeting as a trainee cohort every Friday for SCITT sessions. This meant that we had frequent contact time with the SCITT leads if we needed any support, as well as regular time spent with each other to share any tips or good practice.
The quality of training delivered. The SCITT days provided us with a range of sessions from different professionals best placed to provide the best training and impart their wisdom.
The subject days. My subject expert was extremely knowledgeable, and I learned so much about the curriculum and subject-specific pedagogy from these sessions which I feel contributed greatly to my development over the year. It was also a good opportunity to meet in subject groups and ask each other for advice or resources if we were working on a particular topic.