Monday, 26 June 2017

What I know now: A message from the other side of teacher training - Gabrielle James

As I reach the end of my teacher training, I’ve started to reflect on how far I’ve come. Deciding to apply for teacher training was a big step for me and I’ve had to overcome many challenges since starting but as the end draws nearer, I can see that it’s all been worthwhile.

I applied for teacher training whilst working as a Library Manager at an Upper School in Bedfordshire. I took the job straight after graduating with the hope of it leading to a teaching career. I spent the next two years in that job veering from one emotional extreme to the other; yes I was totally committed to working in education, no I absolutely did not want to work in education, and back and forth etc. This rollercoaster of emotions hasn’t abated since starting my training – you have days where you wonder if you’re really cut out for this, and then the next day you’re dancing around in front of your year 9s (as I am want to do) feeling pretty smug about how good you are at your job. I’m reliably informed that this feeling never really goes away either, but half the time, the excitement of not knowing what will happen next is what gets me out of bed each morning. And when you’re working with young people, you never can predict the outcome…

“We are in the business of changing lives” a colleague told me, and he’s right, but changing lives isn’t easy. What eventually made me commit to applying for teacher training was my need for a new challenge, and teaching provides you with new challenges on a daily basis. The first two years in teaching are the hardest, so if you can make it through this then you’ll be ready for anything. It’s OK to question if this is the right job for you, even after you start your training. Training is hard but your mentors and colleagues want you to become the best teacher you can possibly be so it’s always in your best interests to listen to the feedback they give and act upon it. If, in your darkest hours, you can still hold your head up and make it through the day, then you’re going to be fine. In fact, you’re probably going to be more than fine.

Ultimately what strikes me most about my training year is how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. I am a totally different teacher now to the one who started teaching only 9 months ago. The amount of progress you make in such a short space of time is staggering, and you will continue to grow and develop as a teacher every year in your job. That’s the beauty of teaching; you can never stop learning and you can never stand still (sometimes very literally when teaching a class of 30 eager year 7s!) Best advice I can give? Expect the unexpected and you’ll be prepared for anything.


Gabrielle

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