“Teaching has always been on my radar. I enjoyed education, got on with and respected my teachers at school and still keep in touch with my Head of House. He was also a maths teacher and probably my biggest role model and inspiration.
“I knew I wasn’t ready to go into teaching straight after university but didn’t find a job that I enjoyed as much as teaching. Many of my friends are teachers so it was easy to arrange some teaching experience days through them. GITEP’s Teacher Taster Days at Cirencester Deer Park School was also very useful.
“I opted for the School Direct route, purely because I wanted Balcarras as my main placement, having seen the school and met the people there. I was incredibly well supported by GITEP and followed the same course as their other trainees. They ensured that my twin placement was at a very contrasting school, which stretched me in terms of behaviour management. Everything fell into place for me at Balcarras – I get on well with everyone and the staff here are all massively supportive, which enabled and encouraged me to do well. The training turned out to be a long interview as some providential maternity leave created a vacancy!
“GITEP’s training is really thorough and well structured. Having the lectures at the start gave all the trainees an excellent opportunity to meet each other. Tim and Kate are approachable, supportive and make you feel like there are no silly questions. They’re happy to have feedback on each section and to change things to make improvements. My subject mentor, Steve Lomax is an amazing, inspirational person – just so much enthusiasm and a fountain of knowledge, so I couldn’t have felt more encouraged by GITEP or my parent school.
“The best bit about teaching is working with groups that don’t have a great deal of confidence in maths, have maths anxiety, etc. Children work harder if you have high expectations so in my class they know that there is no ceiling for anyone who walks into the classroom – I expect them to be able to do it and work back from there. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘maths brain’, it just takes effort, confidence in yourself and sometimes, a bit more explanation. It’s really rewarding if you can get them to lose the fear and switch on to maths a bit more. The relationships and rapport you build with the students and the fact that there’s a real point to everything you do all make a difference. I’ve had jobs where I’ve felt that there wasn’t much point to what I was doing and all the cogs would keep turning just as well without me there, whereas with teaching I feel like I can make a difference.”
Ben, Maths NQT