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    My experience as a trainee teacher

Article Date: 10 September 2021

Article Date: 10 September 2021

Just what is it like to be a trainee teacher? If you have found yourself looking at our website, you might find yourself asking this very question!  One of our fabulous trainees from last year has taken time out to write about her experiences. Read on!

My experience as a Mid Essex ITT trainee teacher - English, 2020-2021, by Bethany Quinn

SIMS, Seating Plans and Subject Knowledge: My Year As A Trainee Teacher

"Oh, you teach secondary students?  You’re brave” are lines that I hear from almost everybody when I tell them that I am an English teacher, left in charge of twenty-five fourteen-year-olds for one-hour, three times a week.  As a 22-year-old, I am easily far closer in age to Sixth Form students than I am most of my colleagues, and even the parents whose children I teach. Being a teacher means that I get to spend my days with the most funny, creative and forgiving people on this earth, which will never get tiresome. 

Having wanted to apply to teacher training throughout the entirety of my degree, and the majority of my later school years, I looked at a variety of providers both in the North East, where I was living at the time, as well as in Essex.  Mid Essex ITT was a provider that stood out to me as being exceptionally personable – an aspect that made my training route with them a complete joy.  A school direct route was also what I knew I wanted; there are so many paths into teaching but choosing this route provided me with a huge sense of belonging –

from the very first day I felt an enormous sense of purpose in the corridors and classroom, and as though my work in the school enabled the progression of students.

At the beginning of the year I would take the starter or conduct the plenary, before moving onto taking the register, planning form time activities and eventually, taking lessons.  Throughout my training year I was viewed as and felt as though I was a ‘real teacher’, which was better than I ever could have hoped.  Having students say hello to you in the corridor, tell you something important to them, or give you a thank you card for something that you have done may seem so minor to them, but it is one of the best parts of my term. 

Choosing a career in teaching means that my days are filled with the benevolence and humour of young people.  It seems almost impossible to explain how meaningful it is to know that you do make a tangible difference to the students sat before you and that some of them are so happy to see your name on their timetable.  With all that in mind, it’s time for a summary of my teacher training year:

  1. Teaching the next generation of individuals is a huge privilege 

Knowing that there is a chance that my students will one day use their comparison skills I taught them to buy their first car, or their writing skills to compose a job application is immensely rewarding.  Seeing students create something and then taking it to show you is just as gorgeous as it sounds, and they constantly push me to approach so many situations with relentless positivity and hope. 

2.       Make some PGCE pals 

No one knows what it is like to be a trainee teacher quite like another trainee teacher.  A group chat where you can share planning tips, lesson ideas and stories about your day is imperative.  They will remind you that you aren’t on the rollercoaster alone, and that there’s no one you’d rather ride it with.  As I head into my ECT years, the other newly qualified teachers in my school are the ones I’d always turn to if I need help with anything – you truly are all in the boat together.

3.       Hold yourself to the same standards as you would your students 

Asking questions, offering ideas and providing solutions are skills teachers value hugely in pupils.  Hold yourself to the same standards as you would your students and remove all “do as I say, not as I do.”  Handing in assignments on time, communicating with your Course Tutor and asking for help when you need it will show how, just like the 100+ students you look after, you are willing to learn, grow and develop, which are skills imperative to success.

4.       Becoming an Early Careers Teacher is as dizzyingly exciting as it sounds 

Knowing that the thirty humans sat in front of you are your responsibility for the hour is incredible.  You have the power to teach them so much and help them develop into the individual they will one day become.  Decorating your own classroom, having your own form and teaching students all about the world around them are such fantastic elements of the job.  Never forget that it is where you once dreamed of being.