What Our Trainees Say About Us
Geography Trainee 2020-2021
The idea of being embedded within a school environment was richly appealing and has proved to be a great experience.
As a career changer, the decision to switch careers has been one of the biggest decisions of my life. The primary motive was a desire for a fresh challenge and to pursue a career offering a real sense of purpose and fulfilment through helping young people to get a strong start in life. As a parent with a young family within education, I have experienced first hand the value and importance that school life plays and the role of teachers in unlocking and fuelling students development. As a husband and father with the inevitable responsibilities and commitments of mortgage and family life, the decision to step away from the safety net of what I knew was tough. Nevertheless, I had a strong support network around me and once I had a chance to investigate the pathways into teaching and go on some school experience days to get a flavour of the school environment, I was further convinced that this would be a great career to pursue. I’ve not been disappointed!
I’ve chosen to teach Geography. Whilst I’ve spent 20 years within a business environment, I was guided by the fact that my degree is in Geography. Whilst I’ve been away from the subject for 20 years, and I was initially worried that this could be a barrier, when researching into teaching there was reassurance that I could complete a SKE (Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course) which would help refresh and close the gap. I did this in the summer prior to starting my training and it has been a huge help in providing me with the confidence to fall back on when in class.
Looking into the different pathways into teaching, I was convinced that being taught and learning from practitioners within a live school environment would be more rewarding and reflective of my style of learning versus going back to University. This was reinforced when I went and reviewed the University pathway and attended SCITT options through attending open days. This is obviously a personal decision and everyone will be different, however, the idea of being embedded within a school environment was richly appealing and has proved to be a great experience.
I am now 8 weeks into my training and there have already been many highlights. From delivering my first teaching episode to my year 8 and 9 classes - whilst only short 5-10 minute lesson starters - it felt like I had climbed a mountain and seemed a massive achievement. It also signified that my teacher training year was really underway. Also reaching a stage where I now know the names of all the pupils in my tutor group and am starting to know most of the names of the students in my classes. Whilst this seems a small thing, it is daunting and a challenge to begin with but massively rewarding when you are then able to start to interact and engage with pupils directly and use their name. Almost instantaneously this opens the door to being able to build those critical relationships with your students.
Equally, I have thoroughly enjoyed “learning “ and studying again, and the Professional Studies sessions, where you are taught and learn the theories around how students learn and techniques that can be used, have been fascinating. The ability to observe these in practice within lesson observations or incorporate into your own teaching really helps to validate and give immediate context . When I reflect on this, it definitely feels like a huge success and highlights the development and progress made from only a few weeks ago.
Starting the journey into teaching is hard work and intense. However it is rewarding and the variety of the day and the interactions and engagement with pupils within the classroom means no day is the same. I can also say that the support and guidance given to me along my journey to this point by the i2i team has been invaluable and I feel very lucky to be doing my training year within such a nurturing and supporting environment.
The structure of the course, learning within a live school environment from actual practising teachers means there is an immediate feedback loop. This creates a rich and dynamic environment, one that definitely challenges, but the learning trajectory is steep and consequently writing this 8 weeks in, it is amazing to see the difference in understanding and my own teaching ability in such a short time. A long way to go but I would highly recommend it.