As I sit writing this on the first Monday of the Christmas holiday, I almost can’t believe the term is over. However, when I think back to my first two weeks at the Gorse HQ, feeling hugely overwhelmed by marking policies, purple zone and government legislation; September feels like a very long time ago. To say this term has been life changing is an understatement.
My time at Leeds City Academy has truly opened my eyes to the world around me and helped me see how important being a teacher is. Being at a school with such a high percentage of EAL students undoubtedly makes teaching English both challenging and rewarding.
The support I have received from my mentor and the English department has been incredible. At the school, there is an open door policy which means any teacher is welcome into any classroom to see how they teach (and steal all their good ideas). This has been excellent for me for building a repertoire of behaviour management strategies and ideas for structuring lessons. It has also been useful going into other subjects, firstly to see outstanding teaching in other departments but also to gain perspective of the challenge students are experiencing in every lesson.
The highlights of my first term have been:
Being involved with the Academy’s Christmas show. It was brilliant getting to know students in a different capacity. It was also lovely getting to know teachers from another department and a great way to ingratiate myself in school life. The students at the school had never had the opportunity to partake in a show like this before! However, by the time the show began, the progress the students had made and their appreciation for being part of it was mammoth. It was a real privilege to be involved in.
Visiting a primary school. I had a week placement away from LCA to understand what students should have learnt before joining us in year seven. It was very different to life at the Academy (the teeth cleaning song still amuses me) but the literacy skills that were covered were astounding. When I was at school, I don’t remember being taught grammar and punctuation to the level these year three pupils were learning it. It also helped me establish what students who have moved to England and not had adequate English teaching need to learn to have the same opportunities as those who have.
Getting to know the students. My biggest fear, going into teaching, was teaching students that didn’t want to be there. I had always taught acting to students as an extra curricular activity so students were choosing to attend. The students have been great and have welcomed me like a ‘real teacher.’ The students at LCA are energetic and characterful but are also very keen to learn.
This term has been overwhelming, insightful and amazing. I am looking forward to getting back in the classroom!