I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and now the day has finally arrived…I’m starting my teacher training. I’m excited and nervous. What if I just can’t teach no matter how hard I try? What if the workload is too much (as the press would have you believe) and I can’t cope?
This blog is going to give an honest account of what it’s really like to be a trainee teacher. I’m doing a Religious Education PGCE through a SCITT. The SCITT has both primary and secondary trainees and for the two week induction we will all be together at the lead school, as well as a few days at university.
Day 1 – It doesn’t feel like a proper start and we were invited in small groups to enrol, fill in a few forms and have our pictures take for new staff ID cards. I was only at the school for 1hr
Day 2 – All trainees were together for the full day. There are about 30 of us in the cohort, but only 2 people who are going to be at the same placement school as me and 1 who is also doing RE (based at another school). We spent the morning doing ice breaker activities and briefly going over teaching standards and then in the we looked at educational acronyms.
We were given an brief timetable for the course which breaks down as follows:
- 30 weeks at main placement school
- 4 weeks at second placement
- 2 weeks at SEN placement
- 18 days at university
- 35 ‘twilight’ training sessions. Most of my training will be delivered through these sessions which will be 2hrs each.
Day 3 – Today we had sessions on safeguarding and e-safety as well as what to expect from the university training days.
Day 4 – 9am start at the university today. We were given a programme of what the training days at the university would entail along with essay titles and reading lists. Once the formal stuff was over we spent time working in groups discussing why we want to be teachers, what makes a good teacher and some reading on the importance on working collaboratively within education. It was a long day that didn’t finish until 5pm.
Day 5 – Today there was more pace to the sessions – we looked at international education (comparisons and similarities with the UK) as well as the National Curriculum (its purpose & importance). We have also been set ‘homework’, well reading to do for the next session and some observations to complete at our placements.
Day 6 – Back to the lead school this week and this morning we had staff from a partnership SEND school in to deliver sessions on behaviour management and SEND. The behaviour management session focused on learning about our personality type and how we respond to stress so that when students’ behaviour is challenging we can be aware of our flaws and respond accordingly. I found the SEND session really interesting as I have previously worked as a LSA and find SEND students really fulfilling to work with. In the future I might like a role as SENCO (but that’s definitely a long term plan). In the afternoon we we given some information on observation techniques, so that we can have an understanding of what mentors are looking for when observing our teaching.
Day 7 – Today we were introduced to lesson planning. We were given a format lesson plan that the SCITT expects us all to use and talked through the various things we need to include such as Afl (assessment for learning), differentiation, learning objectives/outcomes … In the afternoon we were paired up and each given a topic to plan a 30 minute lesson on – which will be delivered to the whole group over the next two days.
Day 8 & 9 – We watched/participated in other people’s lesson. We also had a pair who observed us (so we had to peer assess each other and give feedback). The whole purpose of this exercise was to learn how to fill in a lesson plan correctly but also how to observe (as this will form a large part of the following week). I found it personally useful but I learnt new things not only from the lesson content but the delivery and activities that were included.
Day 10 – Finally I have all the paperwork I’ve been waiting for! Today were given an outline of the training programme, how many lessons we expect to be teaching each term, the (mountains of) paperwork we expected to collate and complete.
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed now about Monday. I have never been to my placement school – I don’t know any staff, how the school day is structured or how nice the school really is. I know I will figure it all out really quickly but I’m just anxious as I want it all to go well. It has just dawned on me how much work is going to be involved over the next year. I know everyone says the PGCE year is very stressful and you have no life but I’m hoping that isn’t the case. I want to keep my sanity for as long as possible – please?