Caroline started teacher training in September 2022 and was most excited about inspiring a new generation to embrace and enjoy maths.
After her first week, she was appreciating the slower pace that part-time training brings in comparison to her full-time peers. And now she's halfway through her first year! Let's find out how she's getting on...
How are you feeling now you’ve completed your first term of training?
So, my first term as a teacher is over. And I am actually teaching – since half term, I have taught three or four lessons a week (I’m part-time remember) and even more excitingly, my students have learned stuff because of me.
My Year 9s can now find the formula for arithmetic and quadratic sequences and can solve problems involving geometric and Fibonacci-type sequences. Because of me.
“They couldn’t do it before I taught them. Then I taught them. And now they can do it. I am so proud of them!”
How are you finding teacher training and being back in school again?
My learning curve has been extremely steep. When I started preparing lessons, I realised I could barely solve a GCSE question on sequences. I had to learn the maths, then learn how to teach it but at the same time, learn how to be in a classroom.
With the huge spectre of “behaviour management” hanging over me, I stood there for the first time in blind terror, clasping my lesson plan and the answers to all the sums safely stored behind boxes on my slides.
I had to...
Over the course of the term, I have come so far. I had no idea what I really needed to worry about at the start of my teaching which means I have progressed a long way already.
I can use the technology, I know all my students’ names, I can solve problems live on the whiteboard without an answer sheet (if I’ve done them before at home) and 40 minutes once again seems like an amount of time that could pass quickly. I have a long long way to go, but I feel firmly on the road.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from a fellow Now Teacher was to write anything that went well straight after a lesson and just let the rest go.
This is a huge challenge as it is so easy to see what didn’t go as planned or didn’t work. But now I am at the end of the term, I can increasingly see the what-went-wells.
What have you enjoyed about training with your chosen ITT provider?
I am very glad to have found a training provider that offers part-time as my current life-circumstances mean there is no way I could do this full-time.
Being part-time has many benefits. I have more time to prepare lessons, reflect on lessons, and brush up on my subject knowledge. I don’t have to write PGCE essays this year, and I can luckily take some breaks during the week.
The downsides of part-time are becoming clearer though. I’m not fully immersed in the rhythm of school life, I miss some departmental and whole-school meetings, it’s taking much longer to build relationships with students and colleagues, and I get less time to see other teachers teach.
I am fortunate to be part of a small local hub of trainee maths and physics teachers, but they are all way ahead of me: the week of my first lessons, they had got to the stage when students know their teacher well enough to challenge them and a couple of co-trainees had some really awful, car-crash lessons.
We are all very supportive of one another, but it did mean I didn’t have anywhere to go with my, “Gosh, I just taught my first lesson!” feelings because there were bigger concerns happening. We have a training session every Friday, but again, my co-trainees have significantly more experience to draw on and are dealing with different issues to me.
In addition, I am still in the thick of family life and although most of my co-trainees are a similar age, they don’t seem to be grappling with the issues of being a sandwich generationer as I am.
How has Now Teach supported you through your first term of training?
Throughout all of this, it has been great to have Now Teach as a backstop, offering support outside my school and training provider. I went to a social in half term and exchanged experiences with teachers from many other disciplines and recently qualified teachers.
Now that I had some concrete experience of teaching, this was invaluable and very enlightening as experiences differ widely.
I have also attended online sessions, the best of which was with the behaviour guru Tom Bennett and action hero teacher Karl C Pupé – they offered very practical, relatable advice.
“And of course, my wonderful Now Teach programme manager who I have phoned and ranted at but who has remained calm and offered valuable support throughout. Thank you!”
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