It hardly feels like two months ago that my alarm went off at 6:30 for my first day as a trainee teacher. Suit? Check. Tie? Check. Name badge? Check. Readiness for whatever the day would throw at me? Hmm, maybe not quite. But now, with two months’ experience under my belt, things are taking shape nicely.
First, a little about me. I’m Ollie, a 28 year old trainee Computer Science teacher. I’ve always wanted to teach, but the timing wasn’t right when I left university. After five years working for one of the biggest technology companies in the world I applied to Wildern Partnership SCITT and started the journey towards qualifying as a teacher. That word “journey” is thrown around a lot, especially on reality TV, but it’s the best way to describe what’s happened so far – though thankfully without a high-trousered music mogul or a stone-faced ballroom judge watching my every move!
This term, from September to December, sees me in my main placement school. For the first few weeks I observed lessons being delivered by my mentor and other teachers, learning about the important aspects of teaching while also helping to support the class. My mentor set up observations with teachers who are amazing at managing behaviour to show me that physical presence (a thing that at 6’3” I have lots of!) isn’t necessarily the most important thing about keeping your class on task. For the first half term I spent every Thursday and Friday at the SCITT, learning about the core aspects of teaching practice (e.g. planning, assessment, behaviour) both generally and within my subject. Now there’s only one training day each week, aided by sessions with my professional mentor at school with other trainees.
After a few weeks it was time for me to start teaching. It goes without saying that there were a few nerves as I took my first lesson, a Year 9 ICT lesson, but I was encouraged by how well it went and received incredibly useful feedback from my mentor that I could implement into future lessons. I’ve slowly built up my timetable since then and I’m now pretty much at a 50% timetable; it’s a challenge to balance planning and marking with my assignment and other SCITT paperwork, but thankfully my mentor’s organisational skills are beginning to rub off on me!
Of course, I’m not alone on this course. I see the other trainees every Friday for our training sessions; a perfect time to catch up, share experiences, and, of course, socialise over a drink afterwards. We often meet for breakfast before training and there have been post-training sports sessions to let off steam. We all support each other, which is really important given how hectic life as a trainee can be.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the pupils. This job is never the same from day to day – one day you might laugh at a random comment a child makes, the next you might be trying your hardest to make sure another student understands something that they’re struggling with. Nothing beats the feeling of triumph when you see a child finally “get it”. Hearing a student say “I loved that lesson!” as they leave your classroom makes all of the hard graft worth it.