Wondering how to get into teaching? Not sure if teaching is a career for you? Here’s a great guest post of one currently unqualified teacher and his route into teaching. Filled with positivity and an experience somewhat different to the ‘norm’ of undertaking an undergraduate degree at uni followed by Initial Teacher Training; it truly goes to show there are other approaches to entering this career.
Looking back, my route into teaching hasn’t been the most normal, although as I quickly discovered, there isn’t really a ‘normal’ in teaching. It all started when I turned 18, after failing all of my a-levels, I started a job as a Kitchen Assistant. As I wasn’t moving away, I decided to stay on at the local RAF Air Cadet Squadron where I became an instructor cadet. This is where my love for teaching really started.
Over the year, I embarked on a Mountain Leader Award and attended Duke of Edinburgh Leader and Expedition training courses provided through the cadets. This allowed me to develop and deliver courses which included navigation and expedition units for the CVQO BTECs and DofE Training framework. This was my lightbulb moment! Upon the realisation that I enjoyed, planning, developing and delivering courses and resources. I decided to take the plunge and take an Open University degree course to pursue a career in teaching. A love for Geography in school, a keen traveller and outdoor pursuits enthusiast Geography was the subject, and in my opinion it is one of the most important subjects of our times.
A year into studying my BA(H) International Relations with the Open University, I landed myself a job at my first secondary school as a Teaching Assistant; and oh boy were my eyes opened in the first week. With the support of my Line Manager and the SEN team my outlook of school life quickly changed and for the good. I had gone in with the impression that I could just support students and they would just “get it”. That disruptive students would just behave when told. Oh how I was wrong. Over the period I was there, I was given the opportunity to also take a tutor group, extra mentoring duties, support the SENCO with alternative pathways, The Princes Trust, and BTEC Outdoor Adventure units. Upon leaving the school two academic years later my whole attitude had changed, I knew that I had to support, engage, encourage, nurture and build strong relationships with students to enable them to learn, believe in themselves and achieve. This role also enabled me to see lots of teachers teach, providing me with ideas which would power me into my next role. The ethos that I developed from the team will forever stay with me.
So moving on, I took the plunge to apply for a Cover Supervisor role and gladly and excitedly accepted a post at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy (RWBA). This role evolved even before day one, which included a 0.5 UQT job share to start a new KS4 alternative provision program (know as the Alternative Baccalaureate) with another new member of staff. For me, the first challenge meant completing a BTEC Award in 1 year. Over the course of the first year, myself and my colleague developed what we felt was needed to be the new Alternative Pathway which we have trailed this year. (This may be a future post when I start blogging so watch this space!) I was also able to volunteer and have quickly become heavily involved with the DofE Award at the school.
And….Onto this year, which has been the most exciting and biggest challenge for me, with the success of Alternative Baccalaureate program, support from the staff team at RWBA particularly the Deputy Head. I undertook a larger teaching timetable, with KS5 BTEC units and KS3 Geography which would massively support my development moving forward and applying to SCITT providers. The Alternative Baccalaureate program has also has taken leaps and bounds this year, with what was a difficult group to start with (again more in a future post) with successes in the newly designed curriculum, strong links with local colleges for vocational courses, extended work experience for students and fortnightly volunteering with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to name a few.
When free time permitted, I have remained fully involved with the DofE Award and have been lucky enough to attend Holocaust and Genocide education CPD with RWBA and University College London. (Follow @RWBAHolocaaust for more! Its well worth it.)
Last September, I also took to Twitter and discovered a whole community of teachers supporting, sharing and developing together. Finding @teachertoolkit, @mrshumanities, @davidErogers, @Oteaching to name a few. This has further developed my ethos of teaching, and it has helped me become somebody who is open, always wanting advice, new ideas, and willing to be critiqued within school when being observed in order to be the best I can. I am a true fan of #teacher5aday and @MrsHumanities #teacher5adaybuddybox with a somewhat limited commitment to the hashtag currently.
Looking back, over the past few years, all of these experiences, support and ideas have given me a real positive perspective on education, the difference I can make, and has sparked a whole new interest in the direction I want to take, this is something that would not have happened coming from a ‘brick’ university straight onto a PGCE course.
Alongside all of this I have continued studying with the Open University and have just completed my degree, I will be moving on in September to the North Wiltshire SCITT (@NorthWiltsSCITT) for my Geography Initial Teacher Training, I am excited for my training year, where I can really develop pedagogy, teaching and learning. I believe that amongst the negativity and rapid changes happening in education, that there are also real opportunities for teachers and students alike. I hope to start blogging my ITT experience to inspire others to the profession; to continue to be involved in Alternative Provision to engage and provide a purposeful education to those that struggle with mainstream school, I will continue with Outdoor Pursuits and of course lots of travelling, as that is surely Geography right?
Good luck on the new adventure David.
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