What teacher training route did you choose and why?
If you had said to me at the end of summer 2018 that I would be training to teacher now, I would have been surprised. I had just completed my placement year with IBM, which was a wonderful experience. It taught me a lot about myself and about what I enjoyed in work – which was working with people! I had applied to return as a Graduate, and had been to several interviews. I was given an offer, but it required me to move and work in London, which was the real clincher for me. The work seemed on the face of it something I would enjoy, but on further discussion it appeared it just wasn’t right for me, and I couldn’t bring myself to feel comfortable pursuing it. So, I rejected it and turned my attentions elsewhere.
Teaching had always been in the back of my mind as something I liked the look of growing up, but I had never looked into it to learn what it required. I spent time trying to get a place at a school to volunteer and experience the atmosphere again. Quite obviously, it felt good, and it felt right. I went to three different schools before starting my application. At my first visit I went to a 14-19 school. The main thing it showed me was I didn’t want to teach A-Level! My second school was 11-16, and that’s when the School Direct route was shown to me. By this point I was only expecting to take the traditional PGCE route with my Undergraduate university. School Direct gives you more control over which school is your base and where you spend 80% of your year. This was important to me, because of the travel and the needing to feel comfortable.
I split my time between my base school, the training school and then university. So over 2 weeks I will visit three different places, but only one day a week for the other two. Its busy, there are a lot of different priorities, but it works for me and I’m really enjoying it. I feel like I belong at my base school, and that is important to me. I will spend 6 weeks at a contrasting school in the new year, for the difference in attitude to learning, as well as teaching. My biggest piece of advice to anyone who thinks teaching might be for them; see as many schools as you can, ask them about their own training programmes and who they’re affiliated with. Don’t just assume your only option is a PGCE. If I hadn’t reached out and seen my base school, I know I wouldn’t be as happy.
By Emily Larkin