Three weeks into my Initial Teacher Training...
Just to introduce myself, I changed career after 10 years working in finance. I’m 3 weeks in adjusting to my new life teaching Maths. I was prepared for the long hours ahead, and braced myself to have my patience thoroughly tested by children. Nothing, however, quite prepares you for the real thing: policies; safeguarding; a student telling you it is ok for them talk during your class because they are buddying up with the new kid and he has to translate in to Italian. Turns out he wasn’t lying!
I discovered on my inset days I was being ‘eased in’ with 13 lessons per week, and would also share a tutor group. Not quite the 4-8 lessons I was advised of during applications. My summer holidays are well and truly over. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t doubt being able to prepare 13 lessons per week, but having been offered a Maths scholarship gave me some confidence I would have as much support as I could hope for.
That first real ‘teaching’ day though reminded me why I was doing this; watching the parents look on as these year 7 kids were about to start their journey through ‘big school’ brought home the responsibility the job carries. It was quite emotional! However this was quickly shattered as the registration list for my tutor group did not match the timetables I’d been given, and 2 students did not have packed lunch or cash. I later gave my first ever lesson, and it could not have gone better. One day in I was beginning to love this job already… and then year 8 and year 9 started the next day.
Summer is officially over...
Training days are once a week and are already viewed as a needed break, making new friends and sharing war stories. Initial focus is on behavioural management, and routines. This is very much deliberate as this will be your focus for some time. My first week teaching was a struggle in gauging the need to use warnings or use the on-call team. Consistent policies only work if they are applied with consistent frequency; make sure you know how often your mentor uses them. It was also said you can’t go on your teaching journey alone, this is something that became apparent to me very quickly. I tried to fight my first weeks alone, proud and stubborn I did not ask for help thinking I could avoid burdening my mentor and colleagues this early. Help and support is the foundation of your learning, and the ITT team certainly go out their way to help you. I eventually raised concerns with the ITT team on Thursday of week 2, on Friday I visited the Principal of another academy, and I transferred by Monday.
So much has happened in just 3 weeks, it has been as equally tough and rewarding as I thought, but yet with so many surprises in between. This is certainly a job you feel, and although I still have some way to go, it’s a journey I look forward to making.
- By Lee Thompson, Maths Scholar