What classroom experience did you gain before undertaking your initial teacher training course?

Lezley DawesI came across several opportunities during my time in school and university where I could take on work experience roles or internships and it was through these that I gained some classroom experience. During my school years I completed two small placements in educational settings, one directly in a classroom setting and the other working more behind the scenes with support staff. Both experiences opened my eyes to what work goes on in schools to give students the best education and how challenging that can be. My new awareness did make me appreciate the teachers more, but it also put me off the career for some time as I realised the workload it required outside of the lessons. 

Fast forward a few years to my time at university by which point I had been taught and supported by so many excellent teachers that really made a difference to my education. Having been lucky enough to have such supportive and enthusiastic teachers I began to start considering teaching as a profession again; this is when my next opportunity for classroom experience came up. During one of my lectures at university I was made aware of a maths teaching summer internship that I could apply to. I went through the application process and was accepted onto the scheme to go into schools; the application process alone was a great opportunity to prepare for what job interviews may be like once graduating. 

My internship helped prepare me for starting ITT, as it felt like a very condensed version of the teacher training year. The experience involved both training days and days in school each week, with the amount of participation in lesson increasing each week too. Observing and helping in these lessons helped me understand what teachers need to consider when planning a lesson and how they manage behaviour in their classroom which as a student you do not fully appreciate. My time in classrooms also built my confidence a lot, and when it came to doing teacher training interviews I had already experienced having to stand in front of a class and teach a lesson, so didn’t find this quite as daunting as it may have been without that experience. Not only did all these experiences help prepare me for starting my ITT, they also gave me great talking points for my interviews, to both the ITT and the Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarship scheme. I think the classroom experience I had before starting has been vital in getting me to the point I am at today and I’d recommend that people take any opportunity they can to get some. 

By Lezley Dawes