'Is anybody there?': Training to teach with virtual students

This time last year, I was eagerly awaiting September which would mark the beginning of my teacher training. Having worked in a school for a number of years as a Teaching Assistant, I had a clear idea of what my teacher training year would entail: developing engaging lesson plans; implementing behavioural management strategies; differentiating activities; familiarising myself with the school curriculum; and forming positive relationships with my students.  My vision for January 2021 was full of these ideas. When I pictured where I would be, I imagined myself in a lively classroom, making use of the dialogic teaching strategies which were at the centre of the educational ideology I had developed during the Education Studies modules of my undergraduate degree.  The reality of January 2021 as a trainee teacher is much different. Of course, beginning teacher training during a global pandemic was always going to pose challenges and unforeseen changes to education. In the first term of teach

In times of adversity

This has been a week, a term, an academic year like none I can remember.    I am trying to refrain from using the word ‘unprecedented’ as I know that we are all a little fed up of hearing it, but these are very unusual times.     What a time to be starting out with training for a career in teaching:    Schools have been turned upside down and inside out.   Our core purpose has been altered significantly by the sudden need to provide services such as COVID testing and home schooling.    Our assessment processes have been changed in a way nobody could have imagined just a year ago and our staff are having to support students, parents and each other with an incredible range of issues, sometimes with the kind of impact we would see only rarely in school.   The reaction to life-changing events can be incredibly varied, and this is a life-changing event, that unlike some, is affecting each and every one of us in some way or other.   The sense of togetherness which can come out of such events

Sally reflects on her amazing journey from Teaching Assistant to Trainee Teacher

After finishing my degree this year, I embarked on my teaching career.    I started working at Millgate - a SEMH (Social, Emotional, Mental Health) boy’s school in Leicester five years ago as a pastoral TA (Teaching Assistant). I supported a Year 7 tutor group, following the students from lesson to lesson and being the important link between home and school. I formed strong relationships with both the students and their families. I loved the role and still see it as an incredibly important role within our setting. The pastoral TA underpins all of the principles that are needed in order to champion our students. It establishes unbreakable relationships with the students built on mutual respect and trust. A child that has been excluded from a mainstream setting or has been unable to engage with education for whatever reason needs someone to champion them, to help them re-engage with education and the various benefits that encompasses. School doesn’t just offer a full, rich, rounded curri

'The one where it all went wrong'

Lesson planning is the one the most exciting parts of being a trainee teacher. It might not like sound it but being given 60 whole minutes and the complete freedom to do whatever you want with it, is like being given a blank canvas and being told you can paint it however you like. The blank canvas being the hour-long lesson and your paints being the lightbulb moments that flash into your mind when you are driving home, are on a run, or in the shower. It can be tedious, draining, and time-consuming, but it can also be a creative outlet for you to express every element of your passion for a subject you love, so much that you want to dedicate your career to passing that love onto the young people who walk in and out of your classroom every day.   Sometimes, I get carried away planning lessons and have this wonderfully weird idea that I think is the best thing since sliced bread, that will make the most amazing, engaging lesson plan that even my hard to please, too cool for school year 9’s

Watch our brilliant trainees discuss their ‘Day in the life of’


Sally, our Teaching School Director, talks about her own experience of teacher training

To be or not to be a mentor…   I am not sure if there is any more important time in a te aching career than those formative first years as a trainee and newly qualified teacher. It is in our early careers that we establish our identity as a teacher, develop our good (and bad) habits and begin to become the expert in the classroom. I still use some of the resources I made in my very first terms as a trainee. I may have adapted and refined them but essentially the skills I was learning then have stood me in good stead and helped me build a strong foundation for what has turned out to be a successful and rewarding 30-year career in education.   I was lucky. I had the huge good fortune to train with an amazing mentor who hugely influenced the teacher that I became. To this day I will stop and think about what my mentor would have done in certain situations or how she would have taught a certain grammar point. I still look back in admiration at the amount of time and energy she devoted to h

Alex discusses feedback and the role of the mentor

Hi everyone, this blog will focus on the role of the mentor within your school on the Redhill IL SCITT programme and how they play a large part of helping your development into teaching to find your voice, confidence and reflective ability.  If you haven’t seen my previous blog, I am currently a Geography trainee in suburban Leicester. My mentor, Tom, is Head of Geography at my school and to begin, he was the first person I met once through the automatic doors of the school foyer. This welcome set the tone, and his eagerness to have me within the class followed and for the first couple of weeks, I studied his mannerisms, behaviour management, relationship with the students and intonation closely. It was also in this time that my mentor and I figured each other out, seeing how best we could work together, how regularly I would receive feedback, when and where I could have a quick chat and who to turn to if he wasn’t available. These small things all helped me in my routine, but before l