“The most challenging, intense and rewarding experience of my life”
by Alex Webb
I have been asked to reflect on our journey as trainee teachers over the past school year. I like many others chose AMP SCITT as I wanted to be immersed in school life from day one. I wanted to experience teacher life and everything that came with it. What I now realise is, I wasn’t aware how much wine that would entail.
This course has been the most challenging, intense and rewarding experience of my life and I know the rest of the cohort feel the same. It has been a pleasure to train alongside this exceptional group of people. We have such a diverse group in terms of experience, age and motivations to teach. Some of us have relocated, some of us are career changers, some of us are going straight from university into teaching and some of us wore are clothes inside out to school? You know who you are.
I think my biggest observation about teaching has been that there is no “One fits all approach” AMP SCITT aren’t trying to churn out mass produced teacher clones. They recognise that each individual has the opportunity to reinvent teaching, to grow into their role and master their classrooms with a unique approach that is right for them. I’m immensely grateful that whilst equipping us with the tools to teach, Pauline and Alison in particular have encouraged us all to bring our unique perspectives to the profession they love.
We have been through a rigorous selection process, two school placements, an eternity of Masters days, an abundance of observations, two masters assignments, a plethora of subject expert practitioner sessions, copious amounts of professional mentor meetings and prolific amount of home coach weekly meetings.
I want us to reflect on that for a minute. The hours that people have contributed to make all of this possible. We are all aware that working in Education can occasionally feel like a thankless job and despite this our mentors, subject practitioners and SCITT leaders, who are all often teachers or have additional responsibilities in the running of Schools themselves, have put in what seems to be an infinite number of hours and an immeasurable amount of effort to help us become the best that we can be. A number of trainees have approached me to share their personal anecdotes about how Pauline and Alison have gone above and beyond to ensure they made it to this point. Whether this is believing in someone when they can’t believe in themselves or moving mountains to accommodate personal circumstances. I know that we are all extremely grateful for the personalised experience this course and the dedicated people who run it were willing to give us. You never let us give up, you didn’t let poor behaviour or year 9 girls stop us from progressing and you dealt with the tantrums, tears and tiara moments with such ease.
I want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you from all of us to the mentors, teachers, colleagues and school staff. We appreciate how much effort and time you have invested in us.
We have had some amazing successes and SCITT have been keen to celebrate and communicate some of the exciting things we have done this year. The cohort has been on school trips, experienced school sleepovers and when we all needed a pick me up we also had restraint training which I know many of us enjoyed immensely? A huge thank you to Megan for your willingness to be handled!
My personal experience of this year has been immensely overwhelming at times. As a career changer I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a whirlwind journey from start to finish. My home coach Karen Moss has been an incredible source of encouragement, inspiration and practical advice. I will always be grateful that Childwall SSA was my home school, and after 7 weeks when the opportunity arose to apply for a vacancy the whirl wind continued. After getting the job I thought ‘Right I need to learn how to teach now!’ I was hesitant about my away school experience having become so accustomed to my Childwall environment. But again I was blown away by another incredible teacher, head of department and mentor Natalie Murphy. I loved my time at Maghull High School and for the first time really started to feel like a teacher. Cue nerves again when it was time to return to Childwall. There really was no need for me to worry. I’m lucky that Childwall are like a family and once you’re in, you’re in.
I was delighted when Joanne joined me in June to start work as full time teachers, by that time I was no longer shiny and new but part of the furniture! Both Joanne and I were nominated and selected as finalists for the Echo Schools ‘Student teacher of the year award’ something we are both humbled and grateful for. Winning the award was extremely rewarding, but coming back into school and having Mary in the canteen hug you because she saw you in the paper and random students who you don’t teach congratulate you, and finally staff offering to curtsy as they pass you in the corridor – Those are the real reasons we do this. So for our 2018/19 cohort if you haven’t started your jobs yet. This is what you have to look forward to!
Once again a huge thank you to Pauline and Alison, and all of the staff who have contributed to our journey.