Former pupil and future trainee teacher, Jordan, writes his final reflection blog about teachers' wider professional responsibilities. He shares:
Today marked the final day of my orientation experience and my focus today was on the wider roles staff play in supporting the school. I shadowed members of the pastoral team and also the school’s nurture team to understand the role staff play outside of lessons. It is likely that, due to the nature of the job and situation of the school, these will be additional responsibilities for me to take on around teaching hours.
I began today by shadowing a year manager and a member of staff who was “on call” (available to support any member of staff around the academy with behaviour). I noticed that staff had to be proactive and incredibly flexible; making calls to parents one minute and escorting students to seclusion the next. Staff also had efficient communication with one another using appropriate channels and, occasionally, members of staff who were free would take it upon themselves to deal with a problem if they were closer. This was a stark reminder to me that I am likely to be responsible for situations around me, not just in the class with which I teach.
I also spent some time with the nurture team in school – these are a dedicated team of staff, newly assembled this year, to build trust with students who may be facing problems outside of school and provide them with a safe space to do so. The team runs a drop-in session over break and lunchtime, which I felt was really comforting, welcoming and positive. I attended a situation with one of the nurture team where a student’s behaviour had escalated and was refusing to work. After spending approximately 10 minutes with the team and being taken to the nurture room, the student appeared much more settled and was back on task; this was really endearing to watch and evidenced the importance of building trust and relationships with students from day one. I found that this influenced my own attitude with students I came across for the rest of the day, and no doubt will have an influence on the way I teach in the future.
Overall, the school orientation experience has been a real eye-opener for me – seeing problems around the academy from a different perspective has proven a lot of the preparation work I have completed and moved it from theory into reality. I have been able to see the benefits of the school’s policies and recognised areas which I can take onto my own placement and develop further – particularly around lesson delivery and building inter-personal connections. Equally, however, this has secured my impression of teaching and my own pedagogy and reinstalled a sense of confidence about the impact I will have in the classroom.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Leeds West Academy who have provided me with a book full of techniques, resources, support and advice which I will inevitably take forward into my teaching career. I also wish the school and its students every success in the future!
We would like to thank Jordan for his time with us at Leeds West Academy and wish him the best of luck in his teacher training at another school next year.