From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.
I had the same history teacher from year 7 to 11. She was fair, authoritative and an excellent history teacher – she just knew so much! She moved to another school, so in year 12 I got a new teacher. He was one of the whackiest, most enthusiastic, engaging teachers I’ve known. He and my psychology teachers invested a lot in my learning. They gave a glimpse into their life, shared a passion for the subject and cared about their students. Those are the teachers whose lessons you can’t wait to get to and they helped shape the kind of teacher I’d like to be.
History was the subject that I felt I could have the most fun teaching – Psychology and History, as big, far-ranging topics, offer a lot of scope for creativity. The story-telling element of History brings it to life and makes it more memorable. I try to find ways to make it more fun and interesting. If your students enjoy your subject, they want to learn it.
The GITEP difference
I’m from Cheltenham and wanted to stay local, partly because everybody I asked said that Gloucestershire is a great place to train to teach. GITEP came highly recommended and offer PGCE through the University of Bristol. GITEP’s training was excellent and one thing that stood out, when I spoke to trainees on other courses, was the amount of practical, classroom experience, which helped build my confidence a lot more than just pedagogy, theory and lectures.
GITEP timetables small blocks of lectures around eight-week school placements. I think I’d find it difficult to stand in front of a class and try to remember it all at once but getting a bit at a time enables you to try a few things out and tweak them to fit your classes before you learn the next thing.
The support from GITEP is excellent. Tim and Kate are particularly brilliant: they always take the time to listen and are only an email away if you ever have a problem. I also had amazing mentors at both of my placement schools. They had high expectations but took the pressure off by making it clear that perfection can take a few years.
Being an NQT
The best bit about teaching is the kids. They’re funny, nice people who are enjoyable to be around. They say silly things and come up with whacky ideas. It’s great to see them being creative, being themselves, applying their personality to their work. It’s fantastic to see them work together and have pride in their achievements. You hear a lot about bullying but, if you take a step back and watch them interact with each other, they show each other a lot of kindness.
I’ve found the NQT year easier than the training year. Having a sense of authority in your classroom is good. In your training year, there’s always somebody who can step in and help. I’ve found it empowering to make my own decisions about how to deal with things and, if I need it, the support is still there within my department.
Jodie, History NQT