It’s been 10 months since I started seriously considering a move into a career in teaching, and eight since I was offered my place on the SCITT at John Taylor. Sometimes, will waiting in my old job, it felt as though it would never get here. The length of time didn’t help my apprehension and worry about whether I was doing the right thing.
As a career changer, I was nervous that I may be one of the oldest people on the course. I was certainly the oldest on my Assessment day, back in November. I was nervous that I would have missed something, that I wouldn’t remember any subject knowledge, that after eight years in one company, I would be too shy to make friends. I was scared that everyone would be more prepared than me, or have some magical prior knowledge. For anyone who has come to this page considering application for next year, I would like to quickly say “DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THESE THINGS!”
September, for me, began with three days in my home school. Other than some very late applicants, we all found out where our Home school would be before the summer holiday, leaving us with time to arrange an introduction. Although the SCITT didn’t officially start until 6th September, quite a few of us had been invited in for INSET day on the first Monday of September, and I was lucky enough to stay in, so I could get to know my mentor a little better and sort out my teaching timetable. On Thursday, just over a week ago, began our seven-day introduction in the Training Centre, and I walked through the door with some trepidation.
I was one of the last to arrive, although I was on time. Many were already talking as though they’d known each other for years and I went to find a table and pretended that I was as confident as many seemed to look. Very quickly, some of my fears were allayed. The other trainees were very varied. Some were fresh out of uni, just turned 21 or 22. Some were mature recent graduates. The majority, like me, appear to be career changers, who had spent time in a myriad of careers either related to their subject, or not. Some live with parents, some are married with kids. Some have no relevant experience, some have been Teaching Assistants, football coaches, or have even taught in places where QTS is not required. The main thing is, that we are all starting off on a basically even footing, all as nervous as each other.
The Induction Week, in all honesty, has been a bit of a blur. We’ve done and learned so much in this time, and I’ve made so many notes that my ‘writer’s lump’ is starting to come back!
Our Training Centre sessions have been sometimes light-hearted, but occasionally hard-hitting. On the second day, we learned about the role of teaching staff in safeguarding pupils from issues ranging from peer on peer harassment and bullying, physical and emotional abuse at home, and exploitation by gangs or radical groups of all types. We have also had to stand up and do embarrassing voice exercises (while trying not to catch each other’s eyes) in the name of creating a classroom presence. We even learned a couple of taekwondo moves. (I promise, the instructor for that session had some very good points that were illustrated with this!) Today, we learned more about the PGCE modules that we will complete. From listening around the room afterwards, I’m not sure whether people are more nervous about the 5000 word count, or the “Pass/Fail” mark. It’s been 12 years since I wrote an academic essay, so even just through thought of starting to type is freaking me out a little!
We have been given an idea of the skills that we will develop over the year along with an understanding that we are at the beginning of a journey, and will each find ways that work for us. None of us may end up being the sort of teachers that we initially imagine that we will be, and with around 40 trainees, split across Primary and Secondary, with almost every type of subject specialisation, we are likely to end up with very different teaching styles to each other. The important thing for this week, is that we have started to put some foundations in place that we can all build on. We also know that we have some great mentoring in place, both at our schools and within the SCITT programme, and are starting to make friends who are in the same boat so that we can support each other during a notoriously difficult first term.
Next week, Secondary trainees have our Primary placement, and it’ll be exciting to come together again next Friday to find out how that went for us all.
Off we go!