At two points during my first placement my subject mentor asked if he could use my resources in his lesson. This gave me a real boost because I felt I was producing lessons that were the standard of a real teacher!
I have come to teaching later after working elsewhere previously and it was a difficult and scary decision as to whether to make the change. There have been a few moments that have made me very glad I did, but today is the best moment yet.
I moved to my second placement early and took on an interesting class with lots of personalities and problems. They have been really challenging at times and I have not always had the easiest lessons and given them a hard time about deadlines and effort. Today was my last day on my current placement and the students bought me a present and a card with lots of lovely messages. I also received one card from a student who has been struggling with anxiety in my lessons who I have been working closely with to try and help her to overcome it. The message from the student said that I had helped her to overcome one of the most difficult times in her life. It absolutely took my breath away that I could have made that impact with such small gestures. There are not that many jobs that you make that level of difference and I have without a doubt made the right decision.
I began to really see myself as a teacher when pupils began to come and find me in the classroom and came to ask me questions as opposed to the other art teacher in the class. Additionally it has made me feel proud of myself and the practice I have developed when I have seen my subject mentor use strategies and resources that I use in my own classroom.
A lesson on factoring quadratics was particularly successful. The lesson was testing a couple of new techniques, silent example then class discussion (what did I do and why did I do this?) and basketball questions. The techniques worked really well and a pupil who had previously shown little enthusiasm was able to explain. I fed back that it was a ‘perfect response’ and her reaction was amazing, ‘I got it right – buzzing!’.
WWLCSD is a fantastic teacher training course that offers a large amount of support through the subject tutors and mentors. I feel that throughout my journey with WWLCSD I have already gained a huge amount of confidence and absolutely love my time spent in school with the pupils. Being on placement in schools most of the time means that you are able to create a strong rapport with students from the very beginning of the academic year.
A highlight of my training so far has been taking part in the dance show ‘Winter Wonderland’. I was responsible for y9 and y11 dance which took place during lunch times and after school. This was an exciting prospect for me as I was able to develop my teaching skills in a very creative and practical way. It also meant that I could develop relationships with students that I did not necessarily teach, outside of the RE classroom.
‘Winter Wonderland’ consisted of 3 shows on the same night, and the buzz both backstage and on stage was contagious. The best bit for me was seeing the difference in the girls’ confidence and performance from the first to the last show. Those who seemed at first to be shy really came out of their shells and they all absolutely smashed their dances. I was so proud of them and felt like I had really achieved something that contributed to the wider aspect of school life.
The best part of training with Catholic School Direct is that you feel part of the school community from day one. Trainees have a great support network around them, with a specialist subject mentor working closely with you to ensure that the sometimes daunting prospect of training is made as manageable as possible. In fact, staff in both of the schools I have trained in- St.Mary’s and St.John Fisher- have been very supportive and provided me with fantastic advice, significantly helping my development as a trainee teacher.
This support has been particularly welcome when I have been asked to teach topics I have been quite unfamiliar with. As a history trainee, I was worried about delivering the American West GCSE syllabus to my classes, simply because I had not come across that area myself before. Thanks to the support from my mentor and others, plus researching into the topic, I became more confident about it and I was able to plan and deliver one of my best lessons so far- the pupils really seemed to engage with it and I really enjoyed teaching it too!
A highlight of mine (although it could have been a potential nightmare) was performing a Respiratory System adaptation to Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Shape of You’ to a Y10 GCSE PE Theory class I hadn’t yet met. I was aware that it would be a risk delivering the content in such a way, as I was unsure of how the pupils would respond. Thankfully, the song ended with a round of applause and an enthused group of Y10 girls raring to learn the ‘Pathway of Air’ song! The girls were shocked to find out that the lyrics that they had enjoyed learning off by heart during the lesson were in fact the word for word answers provided in the mark scheme, and were thrilled to achieve high marks in the exam questions at the end of the lesson.
It filled me with pleasure to have pupils thank me and to hear pupils boasting about “Miss Morley, their new PE teacher”. The following day a teacher approached me to congratulate me as several of the Y10 girls had been speaking very fondly of me whilst she was on duty. It was lovely to see that the effort and enthusiasm I put into my lessons was recognised and appreciated by the pupils.
At first, I found setting up practical experiments daunting, with fifteen Bunsen burners all lit and thirty students to keep an eye on at the same time, I imagined glass smashing all over the place.
After a few lessons though with a few routines in place the pupils all knew their jobs and with their safety glasses on I had a room of young scientists.
My favourite lesson was heart dissection. I remembered it from school so I felt I needed to pass on that same enthusiasm that had been instilled in me. I was made up when all the children took part and the girls and the boys all confidently carried out the practical, no one wanting to sit it out.
To round it off my subject mentor pointed out that the calm way that I had modelled the demonstration had a big impact on the attitude and behaviour of the children. I left that lesson with a big smile on my face!
I was meant to be taking a year out after university before starting a teaching course however I applied to WWLCSD quite late on and I have never looked back on that decision.
My first term of teacher training has come as something of a whirlwind! I never thought I’d become a teacher, I was dead-set on working in scientific research and maintained this vision up until a few years ago. Having travelled on pilgrimage to Lourdes over the past 7 years with the Archdiocese of Liverpool Youth Pilgrimage, and interacting with hundreds and hundreds of young people my opinion started to shift. As I got older I realised I actually really, really enjoyed working with young people, so I moved away from science for a year to work for Animate – the archdiocese youth ministry team.
During this year, I worked with around 10,000 young people and it really cemented my desire to become a teacher. I had the opportunity to go into a range of catholic schools across the diocese, and this included some of the schools that make up WWLCSD! It was clearly meant to be, and a few months later I’d accepted my place on the course to train as a teacher of science.
Fast forward to the end of the advent term. I’ve recently completed my first placement at St. Bede’s in Ormskirk. It was such an amazing place to work, the department was really supportive, and my professional and subject mentors helped me immensely during the term. I was able to immerse myself in the life of the school, running the table tennis club and helping out with a range of trips and activities – especially within the chaplaincy where I could draw on my previous experience in youth ministry.
As Christmas crept up, I was made aware of a vacancy within the department. I applied, initially just for the experience. I wasn’t expecting to be successful as I’d only just finished my first placement, but I was offered so much support by our WWLCSD directors to prepare! I hadn’t had any university input on it yet, but this made sure I was really relaxed and confident going into it! My lesson and pupil panel both went really well, so it was just the interview left in the afternoon. Thanks to the advice I’d been given, I had thought through my main answers to the really key questions. Later that evening, I received a phone call saying that I was being offered the position. I was absolutely ecstatic! I really couldn’t have done it without the support given from my tutors and school direct directors, they were all so helpful! As far as I’m aware, I was the first of our science cohort at Hope to get a permanent position and I’m now incredibly excited to begin once I qualify!
I’ve had such an amazing start to my teaching career, I know this is the right choice for me and I’m truly blessed to have been given this opportunity so early. I know I couldn’t have done it without WWLCSD!