Updated: Feb 5, 2021
Louise Wisson, Lead Mentor
When reflecting on the progress our Beginner Teachers made last term, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride as well as thinking: ‘thank goodness that wasn’t me’!
I think it’s fair to say that our Beginner Teachers are embarking on their teaching career in one of the most challenging conditions you possibly can! But my, oh, my have they shone brightly in doing so!
It’s daunting for any beginner teacher to enter a school with colleagues who have such a broad range of experience: some of our teachers have taught for 5 years, others have taught for 10, and some over 30 years.
However, as I was reading an article in the Harvard Business Review a story resonated with me, it goes like this:
“Thirty years ago, two Hungarian educators, László and Klara Polgár, decided to challenge the popular assumption that women don’t succeed in areas requiring spatial thinking, such as chess. They wanted to make a point about the power of education. As part of their education the girls started playing chess with their parents at a very young age. Their systematic training and daily practice paid off. By 2000, all three daughters had been ranked in the top ten female players in the world”.
This story gives two lessons. Firstly, it is a lesson on how the power of education can change lives and challenge the status quo. Secondly and more importantly for our beginner teachers, it is a lesson about the key to success which is that all the superb performers practice intensively, study alongside experts in their field, and have a support network.
As I reflect on this term, it’s inspiring and so very promising to see all the factors that support the evolution of classroom experts live in our academies, particularly the support network in terms of experts across the WRAT leading CPD.
Beginner Teachers have engaged in a range of CPD, opting into areas that best suited their developmental needs: supporting EAL learners, scaffolding, differentiation and questioning, have all supported our Beginner Teachers to develop their practice in the classroom.
The importance of expert support is embodied by our mentors who relentlessly support, provide feedback and develop our Beginner Teachers in such crucial years in their career.
Finally, we cannot underestimate the amount of practice that goes into becoming a classroom expert. The hours of planning, reflecting, risk-taking and adapting of their practice is sure to rocket them to a promising year ahead.
So, with my mask on and my hand sanitiser in my pocket, I give a handshake (elbow shake) to all Beginner Teachers this term. You have everything you need and are doing everything you need to succeed.
More reflections from the WRAT CPD Blog