I have really enjoyed my initial teacher training year and am pleased I decided to complete it with CTSN. Not only have I felt supported throughout the year but I know I’ve trained with a SCITT who will invest in me throughout my career. The practical nature of the course means I have been in school from the beginning of my training. Not only has this given me the opportunity to consistently observe and evaluate the theory and practice of teaching but it has helped to prepare me for the role of the teacher. Being a regular presence in form time, meetings and lessons, has enabled me to feel like an integrated member of the school community, not just a trainee.
I feel so lucky to have had two wonderful placements in two wonderful partnership schools. Both were filled with experienced and knowledgeable teachers who were always eager to support and advise me. The opportunity to be placed in two different schools allowed me to gain different perspectives and approaches to teaching. The high employment rates in partnership schools was also appealing and I now have a job teaching English at Bassingbourn Village College where I had my first placement. It’s exciting to know I have a job in a school that I already know so well.
Having practising teachers from local schools present topics they are passionate about has not only deepened my pedagogical understanding, but has allowed me to draw on their knowledge of how this translates into the classroom. The range of voices and experiences I encountered at core training ensured I have a broad understanding of education. From the role of the form tutor to exploring metacognitive approaches in the classroom, I always found myself looking forward to our weekly training and left the sessions with new ideas to try out. The spiral curriculum approach means key aspects of the curriculum were revisited as my classroom experience grows and I could view them in a more reflective and mature way. This weekly contact was also a great opportunity to receive support or ask any questions that popped up over the previous week.
My in-school subject specialist mentors were also an important part of my training. Whether I needed advice after a tricky day or want to celebrate a breakthrough with a class, they were there to support and advise me. I found that because my mentors regularly observed my teaching, they were able to create bespoke and meaningful targets to improve my teaching. The step by step approach to improving big areas of the curriculum means I never felt overwhelmed and was given specific feedback by those who observed me to meet that weeks target.
My senior tutor has been incredibly supportive throughout the year. I always enjoyed our tutorials and it was comforting to know there was someone throughout both placement from the SCITT I could consistently approach with any problems. I was visited at both placement schools to check I was settled and supported and to have my teaching observed. I felt each observation was an opportunity to show my senior tutor how much I’d learnt and receive valuable feedback.
As part of core training I’ve had a number of subject specific afternoons with an experienced English teacher. Subject link sessions have provided me with an opportunity to reflect on how general pedagogy from core training specifically applies to my subject, English.
From exploring the use of drama to support SEN students by re-enacting the siege of troy to writing and sharing our own attempts to respond to exam questions, I was always left with new ideas to bring to the classroom and a deeper understanding of the demands of teaching English.
Throughout my training there has been a focus on becoming an evidence-based practitioner. In training and as part of our set wider reading, we regularly reviewed research from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Chartered College of Teaching and reflected upon its implications for classroom practice. Completing a PGCE has also enabled me to develop a critical response to research. This not only helped me to build a solid foundation of understanding in my teacher training year but also gave me the skills to continue being a research engaged practitioner in my NQT year and beyond.
Having lots of trainees to share my experiences with was also an important part of the course. The weekly catch ups over tea and biscuits at training, where we could share highs and lows of the week or simply discuss the different ways we were going to celebrate after we had handed in an assignment, always kept me going.
I feel prepared and excited to get started in September knowing I have been given the skills to succeed in such a wonderful profession.