Reflecting On My First Term

I was apprehensive but excited for my first term as a mathematics trainee teacher. Fortunately, the first term did not disappoint. It has been a fantastic experience so far. As a career-changer from engineering, I spent some time in the summer brushing up on my GCSE maths to ensure I was prepared, and I have felt the benefit this has brought to my confidence in the classroom.   

My mentor strongly encouraged me to contribute to the first lesson I was in and gave me the responsibility to deliver the starter activity for the first lesson of term. In hindsight, I think that this was the best way to start and am really pleased I got involved straight away. I was nervous, but it was over in a flash.   

From here, I gradually increased the amount of the lesson which I planned and delivered until I was running full lessons for multiple classes. I was grateful that this was the way my training course is organised, as although I was planning and taking multiple year groups by half term, the approach to get there was very structured and I have always felt supported.   

At the beginning of term, I found it hard teaching different age groups at the same time. I was trying to remember too many pointers which sometimes meant that it was too overwhelming, and I forgot to do the most important things for each class. By the end of term, I have learnt that it is best to focus on one or two things for each week – whether this is ensuring that you enforce silence, asking more probing questions or remembering to set the homework!   

Making mistakes is also a huge part of the course. In one lesson, I was taking the class through a worked example and lost my train of thought. I wanted the floor to swallow me up and needed a student to help with the example! After the lesson my mentor reminded me that teaching isn’t always straightforward and helped me prepare (both my work and my confidence) for my next lesson.   

I have enjoyed stretching my own maths knowledge to push some of the incredible mathematicians that I teach. There are ample resources available for inspiration, and the scholarship gives great access to many of these. Being part of a community of trainee teachers means there is always someone you can compare your experiences to and learn from together. There are situations which I would repeat differently but that is what the training year is all about and it is really important to be willing to always improve.     

By Sophie Ovens 


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