Reflect On Your Experience Of Your First Term

Francesca KempI am currently doing my teacher training with Cambridge Teaching Schools Network: a school centred route into teaching which involves completing a distance learning PGCE through the University of Greenwich. The school centred focus of my QTS route has interwoven well with the theory-based sessions within my weekly hub-day and the academic rigour of the PGCE qualification, which is delivered through separate half termly study days. These sessions have helped to reinforce the importance of teachers keeping up to date with academic developments within their field and enabled me to complete an action research project into the extent to which maths mastery leads to relational understanding for pupils.

When I first started at my placement school, I spent two weeks solely observing other teachers. I found this to be an excellent way to ease myself into teaching, with the result that by the time I started taking classes myself, I felt more than ready to do so. This time spent observing ensured that I had had the opportunity to really get to know the students prior to teaching them, was confident with the school’s behaviour expectations and understood what a really good maths lesson looked like. 

Throughout my first placement, I have continued to observe a number of lessons each week, learning a lot from watching other inspiring and experienced maths teachers. I have seen different ways of explaining concepts which I never would have thought of and these are things I will take with me into my future career in teaching.

I have really valued my break and lunch times spent in the staff room with teachers from different departments and have learnt a lot from hearing about their experiences. Starting out as a trainee teacher definitely isn’t easy and I have learnt now, more than ever, the importance of building purposeful relationships built on mutual respect with other members of staff, not being afraid to ask for help when needed and taking on board advice given. 

This term has been undeniably busy, and stressful at times, and the importance of being organised cannot be overemphasised. However, I have completed the term with a real sense of achievement and pride in all that I have achieved. It has been extremely rewarding and definitely hasn’t made me doubt my career choice. 

Having built relationships with the students I teach and members of staff in the school, I will be sad to leave my current placement but am looking forward to a whole new set of experiences and continuing my learning on my next placement.

By Francesca Kemp
Twitter: @MissKempMaths