I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a teacher. I would force my younger sister, on a regular basis, to sit in my bedroom at a desk whilst I taught her a range of subjects off of my board (a laminated sheet of coloured card). I was organised: I would complete a register; sanction make-belief students; mark work; give feedback and hand our stickers to my star student – Alice. It sounds almost ridiculous now I look back, but I had the dream of teaching all the way back then.
In 2014 I graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA Hons degree in English studies under one arm, and the desire to crush my Wanderlust in the other. Just as much as I had dreamed about teaching, I had always dreamed about travelling around Australia. It was a dream that was quickly turned into a reality and after a year of saving money and working as a waitress, I travelled to Australia and resided there for over two years. During my time there, the desire to teach manifested and in 2017, I made the decision to return to England when I was accepted onto the GORSE SCITT. This was when my life changed.
Looking back now, my training year flew by. I joined Leeds East Academy on the 3rd October 2017 as a trainee teacher of English. At times I thought I would crumble under the pressures of teaching, the training and PGCE assignments, however, my SCITT mentor, Jenni, and the English department supported me through the highest highs and the lowest lows. They taught me everything that I needed to know about the practicalities of teaching and what it takes to truly be a good teacher.
As an NQT, the support has not stopped. I firmly believe that being a teacher requires you to ‘pull the plaster off quickly’, ‘jump in the deep end’ (wearing arm bands) and ‘grab the bull by the horns’. People say when you’re training that ‘it gets better’ and they’re right. Your relationships with the students develop and you find ways and pick up strategies to navigate their learning and behavioural needs; you learn the systems of your school, and in time, help develop them; you learn how to STOP REINVENTING THE WHEEL and become part of a team that shares and grows; you become quicker at: marking, lesson planning, eating and resting and you somehow learn to walk and talk whilst juggling a coffee and bundle of printing, but all of this enables you to spend more time with students and help them develop both personally and academically.
You begin to surround yourself with people who think and believe the same way as you; my NQT mentor, Olivia, meets with me weekly and reminds me to always go ‘back to basics’ and reminds me why I started this career. She supports me both professionally and personally and encourages me to develop my pedagogical practice.
As this year progresses, my passion for teaching has grown. Everyday is different in a school and this excites me. I don’t wake up for work and wish I could turn the alarm clock off. Instead, I wake excited to teach my favourite subject to the coolest, funniest and most caring young people on the planet!