A cross phase learning community providing high quality professional learning for future teachers.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tales of a Trainee...

One of our English Trainees reflects on his first six weeks 

Teachers – they’re a peculiar bunch. Beyond a shared love of biscuits and a fascination with acronyms and mnemonics that borders on the unhealthy, they have one thing in common: they are genuinely passionate about what they do. 

Not long ago, during a training session at Wildern School in Hedge End, we were told that ‘teaching is a lifestyle’. I’m convinced it’s true: if you don’t live it, you won’t live through it. As a trainee, it’s hard not to look despairingly at experienced teachers and think, ‘it must take a lifetime to get that good’. 

Lesson planning, marking, meetings, more marking, talking to parents and all that bloody marking – day in, day out. Will I live through this? Will I ever make the grade? I wonder if teaching is the one job where you really do learn something new every day: how to deal with a pupil in meltdown, how to encourage students to ask questions, how to fit a hundred mugs into the staffroom dishwasher...

Over the last two months my fellow trainees and I have learnt about child protection and e-safety (delete your Facebook account, delete your Instagram, delete everything, move house, change your name); the new national curriculum (just don’t mention He-who-must-not-be-named); behaviour management (look like you’re mad, but don’t actually get mad); and assessment for learning (traffic lights – brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘ragging’). We have practised our power stances and perfected our ‘death stares’ in a mirrored dance studio; we have watched experienced practitioners do their thing in the classroom and, for the first time, we have stood up there ourselves, trembling at the knees. It is the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. 

For us trainees, the worst part is knowing that once you’ve planned and taught a lesson you’ve got to do it all over again – but at the end of the school day that’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?  

Matt Irwin, English Trainee Teacher, Wyvern College. 

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