One of the reasons for training to teach was to show pupils the opportunities that lie within the art and design industries. One of my first lessons in school was to teach typography and logo design to a yr 10 graphic art class. I decided to show them a technique that I’d used in a graphic design agency to quickly draw up a range of logo ideas. I talked through the task and at the end, as I explained that if they worked in a design agency as graphic designer, this is how they’d work, I heard a little “wow” come from the back of the room.That moment really made me feel like my reasons for teaching were valid and even though pupils have chosen art and design subjects at GCSE they are often unaware of the career paths that it can lead them to.
I teach two Y7 classes. In one there’s a pupil who has autism and diabetes and another who is also autistic. I have found the best successes come when I get them involved in the lessons.
I ask one pupil to stand and choose things on the whiteboard and act as my assistant choosing other students for answers and ask for answers that I know they knows to boost their confidence. I then get the biggest smile which instantly changes your mood … but you can’t help but think you’re doing a good job when you see that smile 🙂
WWLCSD has provided me with many fantastic experiences and opportunities that have built my confidence and allowed me to develop my teaching practice in the classroom. During placement one, I had the delight of teaching an enthusiastic year seven group amongst other years.
One particular moment that stands out to me is when I first started teaching that year seven group; hearing my students say, ‘Are you teaching us today Miss?’, and cheering when I confirm that I am really reaffirms why I went into teaching. Being able to make pupils enthusiastic to learn maths not only makes my day, but also pushes me to become an outstanding teacher.
After a worrying start to the course where I was unsure of myself, I was gifted a wonderful year 8 class who were all engaged and wonderful throughout. After teaching them for a number of months, they had all progressed in both their verbal and written skills and their test scores. When I was leaving at Christmas they all brought me cards and presents to say thank you and that they would miss me. What an amazing feeling!
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!