After the Christmas holidays, it became pertinent for trainees to begin looking for employment. The University held a seminar on seeking and gaining employment, with senior members of staff from a variety of local schools coming to talk to us. This was very useful in preparing for job applications and interviews, and our West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance and University tutors have continued to support us in seeking out available positions. I have been very fortunate as a school just five minutes away from my house advertised for a History teacher position to start work in June. My application was accepted and, during my interview day, I knew immediately that this was an institution that I wanted to be part of. I was required to teach a lesson to a Year 7 class and was then interviewed by the head teacher, assistant head and head of department. The lesson went well and the interview was a great experience, as I was able to discuss my passion for my subject and the wider role of being an educator, as well as talk about my hopes for the future. Within an hour of the interview ending, I was contacted to say that I had been given the job. I am absolutely thrilled to have gained employment at such as fantastic school and cannot wait to begin teaching there once the course has ended.
I am now teaching five days a week in my second placement school, with thirty-three lessons spread over a two-week timetable. As well as History, I am teaching one class of English and Sociology respectively. This has been really useful, as it has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and explore teaching methods outside my specialist subject. With my History classes, I have had to do a lot of private research to ensure that my subject knowledge is detailed enough for topics that I myself have never studied. For instance, I have recently completed a scheme of work on the Korean War, which I had very little prior knowledge of. However, with the help of my host teacher, I have been able to develop my knowledge and understanding of the topic, and have successfully delivered a series of lessons on it to my Year 10 students. There are few things more satisfying than looking back over the work that my students have completed, highlighting their progression over the course of the last half-term.
With just five weeks left of placement two, it feels like the end of the course is in sight. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my ITT year so far, yet I am excited by the prospect of completing my training and embarking on my NQT year. The course involves a lot of hard work and is relentlessly fast-paced; it is crucial to remain on top of the workload as it would be very easy to fall behind. However, the support of fellow trainees, University tutors and colleagues makes life so much easier, and the professional satisfaction that comes with teaching is a singular experience that makes the job one of the best in the world. I recently spoke to potential West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance applicants and was able to honestly say that this has been the best few months of my life. I look to the future with a great deal of excitement about where my path will lead.
Dave Stephenson is a School Direct PGCE student at West Yorkshire Teaching Alliance. This was originally posted on the WYTA ITT blog and is published with kind permission.