Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became a Secondary School Teacher for Landau Forte!
Everyone knows that you can come across numerous hurdles when getting into teaching, but I hope that my story can help change yours. My educational journey started at the end of sixth form, choosing whether to continue onto university with my favourite subject, design and technology, or choose to further my education by selecting childhood studies as an undergraduate degree, preparing me for a lifetime of working with young people – I picked the latter and a started on the long road into teaching.
I experimented in many different roles over my years at university, from nursery nurse to primary school teacher nothing truly challenged me like I thought it would. Until I got a chance to work within a secondary school as a teaching assistant – It was here that I unlocked my true passion and realised that this was where I wanted my career to be. But, after two years of working as a teaching assistant I still didn’t feel as though I was fulfilling my potential. A few of the teachers I worked with as a Teaching assistant said that I would make a great teacher, which struck a chord within me… This was it! This was the job! But many appeared wary when I told them I didn’t choose a degree in my subject area. They said that most teacher training providers want you to have a degree with at least 50% similarity to the subject you are wanting to take on. Sat feeling hopeless and regretful that I didn’t choose the other route after sixth form, I truly believed that I was unable to pursue my dream career.
This was until a member of staff pointed me towards a ‘Train to Teach’ event in Nottingham, seeing my potential and enthusiasm for working with young people they let me leave early to attend. It was here that I had the chance to speak with all the schools and universities offering teacher training places within the region. But it wasn’t looking too good, many of the schools I spoke to turned me down on the spot before I even had the chance to explain my background. I did one last lap of the providers booths before heading home, when I came across Landau Forte College Derby SCITT, waving their red and blue logo high. They told me that my eagerness and enthusiasm for working with, and making a difference to the outcomes of young people was as important as a degree and there were subject knowledge enhancement course available. They invited me to a taster day, luckily before Covid-19 hit the nation, and I applied as soon as the UCAS portal would let me. Other than the instant feeling of ‘this is the one’ when I left the taster day, the main reason I chose a school-centred route into teaching was simply fitting into the college and the DT department from day one, whilst still being able to achieve my Level 7 Higher Education Qualification. As Hannah Montana once said, you get the best of both worlds.
A few weeks later my application was accepted, and I was on my way to becoming a secondary school Teacher of design and technology. Over the Spring/Summer of 2020, I took a 12-week part-time ‘Subject Knowledge Enhancement’ course to get me up to speed with my speciality, which truly prepared me for starting as a trainee in the September. Since starting the course, we have been assigned a Subject Knowledge tutor and individual mentor to help promote our curriculum and personal development. These key people soon became my inspiration and I have learnt most of what I know now from them. The support you get on the course is incredible – every tutor is well aware of our workload, balancing our SCITT curriculum with lesson planning, and ensuring that our well-being is being supported as well as our professional development. During the pandemic, times have been tough for teachers, but the SCITT never forgot about the trainees. We had many fun, well-being focussed sessions, to ensure we were all getting on ok at home as well as reassuring us on our return back to face-to-face learning after a fair few months of remote.
Alongside Subject Knowledge sessions, we have been taught how to teach our subject by a team of highly knowledgeable practioners. We have had sessions on classroom management and behaviour, how students learn, understanding the needs of all students, including SEND pupils, metacognition and pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. With the fantastic support and guidance from the SCITT team, I have found myself constantly evolving, using my feedback as a way to improve and refine my teaching style.
All the years that I mourned my choice of undergraduate degree seems ridiculous to think of now, and it’s all thanks to Landau Forte SCITT Derby, if they had passed me by, at the Train to Teach event like all those other providers and not given me the opportunity to prove that I am capable of taking on a teaching role, then I would not be standing where I am now, almost 3 months away from completing my training with the full-time job of my dreams secured for next year.
So, if you have stuck around until the end of this ‘blog’ then here are some of my main pointers for those of you who are worried about whether to get into teaching or not:
- DO IT!
- Do your research… Look over the initial scary ‘Eligibility’ sections and get signed up to ‘Train to Teach events’
- Speak to schools, colleges, universities, UCAS specialists and watch presentations to see what kind of training programme suits you – Have a list of questions you want answering.
- If a provider knocks you down on the spot, they were never meant for you in the first place.
- Remember… If you don’t ask, you don’t get (I think this one was Stevie Wonder!)