“Wigan and West Lancashire Catholic School Direct is a teacher training course that offers trainees fantastic mentoring, support and training. Not only does the training course prepare you thoroughly for the role as a teacher, but the course also helps and supports you in securing a job. A Head Teacher from one of the partnership schools will check your application to ensure it is to a high standard and then you will be given the opportunity to take part in a Mock Interview Day. Although at first this seemed quite daunting, after receiving feedback from the Mock Interview I felt a lot more confident as I knew what my strengths and weaknesses were. The week later I had an interview at Holy Cross Catholic High School, which is one of the partnership schools, and I got offered my first job!”
I believe it is vital to show pupils that mathematics is not confined to the classroom. On Friday afternoons during my first term, I would take a group of year 9 intervention pupils to a training facility in Leigh to explore the practical applications of mathematics in areas such as joinery, plastering and construction. By creating links to the real world, these pupils were able to gain a greater appreciation for the relevance of mathematics. It was wonderful to watch many of them discover new talents and vocations they would like to pursue in the future!
A few Year 7 food tech lessons in and one of the pupils said to me, ‘Miss, do we pick our options in Year 8 now?’ to which I replied yes. He continued to tell me how much he was enjoying the lessons and was considering taking it as a GSCE. I circled the class passing his table a few moments later. I then over heard him saying to his class mate, ‘….and I can make cups of tea and hot chocolate.’ listing what types of food/drink he could make! Put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.
Upon completing the bird feeder in the resistant materials with the Year 7 class I explained they would need to contribute £1.50 to the materials if they wanted to take it home. Later that week there was an envelope in the Technology office with ‘Miss Aubrey’ written on it. Heart melted and I kept it! (just to be clear the envelope, not the money!)
On my first placement, my Y11 class that I shared were completing their written live theatre reviews as part of their GCSE coursework. One girl struggled with severe dyslexia and this reflected in her work, which was getting her down. I assigned some time for her at lunch and after school where we could go through her work and address anything she was worried about. A few weeks later, I received a delightful postcard from the pupil thanking me for helping her so much and giving up my own time to do so. That’s what it’s all about!
One of the highlights of this course was the opportunity to take part in a mock interview process, starting at completing an application form for a teaching post, moving to a mock interview with several local heads and finishing with valuable feedback relating to performance throughout the relevant stages. I consider myself lucky to have attended a course which places great emphasis on developing trainees’ employment skills. Hopefully, this will help me to gain my first teaching position and,subsequently, assist me to further my career in the coming years.
The experience and success gained from my involvement with the rugby teams was a particular highlight of mine. During my placements, I have had the pleasure to work with fantastic students with thriving potential in their sports. Reaching the finals for the Year 8 and 9 Wigan & Leigh Schools Cup and the Year 10 North West Cup provided a phenomenal experience with great teams.
During my first placement I taught a lower ability class with a lot of students that lacked confidence. One particular pupil progressed massively over the first term in both his knowledge and confidence. I sent a postcard home to the pupil’s parents to acknowledge this achievement and the pupil thanked me for noticing his efforts. It was very rewarding to see the pupil build his confidence within my lesson.
One of my favorite experiences of the WWLCSD course was attending a field-trip weekend in north Wales with other PGCE and School Direct trainees from Liverpool Hope University. It was great chance to meet other like-minded students and share our early experiences of teaching. During the weekend we completed several dummy field-trips as if we were taking our own group of pupils, learned about the important process of creating risk assessments and took part in a group orienteering competition. It was a fantastic insight into how school trips should be run in a stimulating and safe environment. There was also plenty of time for socializing in the evening and it was the perfect opportunity to meet my fellow peers and tutors and make some lasting friendships.
I have had many high points throughout my teacher training year (of course there have been low points as well!). My first Y7 football fixture is something I really enjoyed. Apart from the fact we won the game – it was my first real opportunity to interact with students and parents in a more relaxed setting and I feel I came across quite well. I believe (hope) my team enjoyed playing and I endeavoured to give everyone minutes on the pitch – something I think the boys appreciated. Alongside this – I have taken great enjoyment from the table tennis, football, badminton clubs that I run. They are good for building relationships and also having a good game with the more able students!
Enrolling on the WWLCSD course was a huge change in my career path, however not one that I regret!
The experiences gained since starting the course have been unforgettable. Not only has it opened the door into a challenging, thought provoking and rewarding environment, I have had the opportunity to meet fantastic people and make lasting friendships.