What Our Trainees Say About Us

Helen Parnell

Helen Parnell

Physics Trainee 2019-2020

"The feeling you get when you finally find the ‘right approach’ is like no other – it makes all the tough days worth it!" 

I never really considered training with anyone else but the i2i partnership. Since I was changing career later in life, I did not feel the university route was for me as I wanted a training route that immersed me in a teaching role straight away and one that would give me the best chance of securing a job within a local school.  i2i arranged for me to spend time in a few different schools in the partnership and I liked what I saw! Experience days are a great way of finding out what teaching in a secondary school involves as you spend a full day (or more) in a school, observing experienced teachers, enabling you to see what goes on in the classroom and giving you a chance to talk to real teachers about the realities of teaching: both the rewards and challenges. It took me a few years to take the plunge and apply to retrain as a teacher as I was worried about the impact on my family who had been used to having me around 24/7. Although at times it has been very tough to juggle the demands of training and working full-time for the first time in 13 years, I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision as I find teaching incredibly rewarding and stimulating.  Before the training, I had felt daunted at the prospect of dealing with teenagers, but it turns out that they are such a fun, characterful and dynamic group of people to be around all day! I love that no day is ever the same in teaching – obviously it can be extremely challenging and frustrating at times and but if you stick at it, there is always a way to get students to respond to you and it is the challenge of finding that ‘way in’ that I love.  The feeling you get when you finally find the ‘right approach’ is like no other – it makes all the tough days worth it! 

I have also been lucky enough to get an Institute of Physics scholarship which has been really useful to me, not only because of the additional bursary!  The scholarship program has given me a great network of physics trainees and teachers I can talk to and also through the masterclasses some inspiring, practical ideas to try in the classroom. This has been particularly important for me as I am training in a school without a Physics specialist teacher. It has also helped me learn about all the great resources and CPD opportunities that the IOP provide for teachers.

From Trainee to NQT..... update December 2020

I joined Farnham Heath End School as a Science teacher this year having trained there last year with the i2i Partnership SCITT. The main reason I wanted a role at FHES is because of the fantastic team spirit. One of the first things I noticed is that everyone from office staff to SLT regularly checks that you are ok and are always willing to help you. I am particularly grateful to every member of the Science department as they always find time to support me and answer my questions, despite us all now teaching across the different zones of the school.
Training with the i2i Partnership prepared us well for an NQT year like no other! It is difficult to describe just how crucial the support of fellow i2i trainees was during this past year. We used to joke that the emotional support we gave to each other during our Monday i2i sessions was almost more important than the pedagogy! Little did we know that our face to face teaching practice would come to such a dramatic end when we entered a lockdown in March. The relationships everyone on the course had built up became even more important as our training moved online and we no longer could see each other every Monday in training and share our weekly experiences. Our WhatsApp groups became our lifeline as well as the support that both Maria Mezzullo and Liz Wylie still managed to provide despite not being able to see us in person. I remain in close contact with my fellow science trainees..... we share our challenges, laughter and ideas on a daily basis which keeps us motivated as new teachers in this rather extraordinary year.


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