It was suggested to me by the NQT in my department that I start a blog to document my ITT year. She said she did it herself and it’s been useful to look back on, for work and nostalgia. So I decided to give it a go. I’ve started this and my twitter account anonymously so that I don’t have to fiddle about with privacy settings too much, but I would imagine it’s only me that is ever really going to see this!
In the event that someone else does come across this… Hello! I started my Secondary Maths PGCE last week as part of a Schools Direct scheme in Yorkshire, after a few years working in the Financial Industry. It was very clear to me from the start of my ‘career’ there that it didn’t quite fit with my personality, but I persevered, thinking of the money for quite some time before that didn’t quite cut it anymore. I’ve always volunteered and worked in schools and with young people for as long as I can remember, so I coupled that with an insane enthusiasm for Maths and applied early this year.
I have been very nervous about it, to be honest. All the work I have done before has been in small groups or one-to-one, so standing in front of a class is a big leap. But this week (specifically the latter half) has really put my mind at ease. I am made to do this.
Starting at the beginning of the week, I had a 2 day induction with the Lead School on the SD programme. This wasn’t too bad really; we got to meet all the other trainees on the scheme, get familiar with protocols of this and our host schools, and there was free lunch! However endless sessions on ‘worst case scenarios’ for safeguarding, behavior management and SEND did make the whole thing seem quite frightening. By Tuesday evening, I had a whole pile of notes and handbooks to read and I was petrified about all the things that could go wrong – both in and out of my control. I was well and truly overwhelmed. It really set me up for a good night’s sleep before my first day at my placement school…. *sarcasm*
Fortunately my 7am commute meant I was absolutely exhausted and sleeping on it actually did make me feel a lot better. I got to my placement school pretty easily (thank God for the practice run I did the week before!) and was raring to go at 8.30 when the ITT coordinator met us. There are 5 other trainees at my placement school, all of us with different specialties. They seem a nice bunch, and we get on really well.
We had a further day of inductions; meeting the Head and the SLT in various meetings. Once again we covered safeguarding (necessary, but very saddening!), then found out more about the school and the behavior policies etc. We were given even more paper to get us through all these talks… I have now got a folder exclusively full of induction materials!
Then in the afternoon I headed up to the Maths department to find out some specifics. Bad timing meant that my mentor was actually away on Wednesday, she was part of the local Maths hub exchange to Shanghai though so I was quick to forgive her. She had done her very best to make sure the rest of the department looked after me, and they did so very well over the 3 days I was there. I was given yet another handbook to put in my file, but this one looks like it will be my Bible while at the school, so I can’t complain too much!
I can wholeheartedly say I went home that night feeling that I have drawn a very long straw. But 3 days in schools without any classroom time was really starting to make me antsy!
Thankfully my last 2 days this week were spent doing classroom observations. It was great getting back in the classroom again, watching amazing teachers delivering engaging and fun lessons, and getting to help the kids along when I could. I enjoyed every second.
I have two particular highlights from Friday:
- In an observation with the Head of Maths, he asked me to explain an alternative method to his year 10 class. I was caught a little off-guard but I think I did well and the students understood my explanation!
- In the last lesson of the day, I helped a girl with drawing a bearing. Later on her deskmate said ‘I have no idea how to do number 3…’ and she replied ‘Get Miss to help you, she explained that really well to me.’
Both of these things have given me the confidence to believe that I can do this. I have made the right choice. I think I could be a great teacher.
I know I won’t always feel like this over the year so getting it down ‘on paper’ is important; I want to bottle up this feeling so I can open it up and remember on the bad days.
Next week I have a placement in a feeder Primary School and then have a week of inductions at Uni, no doubt with even more paper being thrown at me… I am quite sad that I won’t get to be at my proper placement until then as a result. I can only take that to be a good sign too!
I hope that everyone else’s first weeks have gone as well has mine have. And that you have a relaxing weekend before the next one. I’ll be spending mine on the couch with my induction materials, reading the 4 different booklets on safeguarding and committing the behavior policy to memory….