Teacher Training During ‘Strange and Unusual Times’

October 8, 2020 12:33 pm

As a child whose favourite game was ‘teachers’ and grew up teaching her teddies and little sister, it was possibility inevitable that I would want to do teacher training one day. Despite this, before stepping into the world of teacher training, I worked in various different roles before I studied law at university (whilst volunteering at the university legal clinic). I then undertook a fast track graduate scheme into social work before taking the plunge to be a teacher. These experiences prepared me a great deal, not only for life as a trainee teacher but it helped me to understand myself and what I wanted to get out of my career which are possibly the most essential things of all.

My previous graduate scheme experience had shown me what to expect from a training provider, whilst undertaking training within a school and completing assignments at masters level. I decided to take the PGCE & QTS route because I like the fact it gives me the opportunity to work in other countries and I want to feel as qualified as possible before I take on such a huge responsibility – the education of children. The PGCE does not involve a great deal more work than the QTS route; it is one further assignment.

As a single parent it is essential for me that I am able to balance home and work life and have realistic expectations placed on me. From the offset EOETT stood out because they are the first to understand that people have families, other responsibilities and commitments. After my interview especially, I felt very assured that this provider would truly support me in my journey to becoming a teacher. The aspects of EOETT that I especially appreciate are:

  • They do not expect students to commute long distances to attend their training school.
  • Everything is extremely well organised – every step of the way you are aware of the expectations placed on you with transparency in relation to targets, deadlines, teaching and outcomes.
  • Despite the new situation we all found ourselves in – unable to attend training in person, the online training is engaging, well presented, interesting and extremely well thought out; for example the way in which you are taught to teach is modelled in the way the training itself is delivered each week.
  • There are no slippery concepts or tutors that have no time for you, the organisers at EOETT constantly provide opportunity for discussion, feedback and questions.
  • The curriculum makes sense – it sets out your targets each week and goes very slowly at the beginning allowing you to gradually adjust and grow in confidence.
  • Despite not being able to meet the rest of the trainee cohort in person, EOETT provide opportunity for us to network and support each other during our training sessions and a Facebook group which has been incredibly supportive and useful for us all.
  • Should you feel uncomfortable or unsure of any person or aspect of your training school, EOETT have noticeably clear structures in place to ensure that you are able to report your concern to an appropriate person.
  • Finally, EOETT provide a range of fantastic resources to help develop your professional persona and you really feel that you are going to become the best teacher you can possibly be.

The school that I am training in is a brilliant village school with an incredibly warm and inclusive atmosphere. I chose to specialise in KS1 and KS2 as a 5-11 trainee and I was placed in year 5/6. Initially I was intimidated working with the older children as my prior experience was with the younger years. However, my fears were quickly put to rest when I met them all and realised the joys of children that have already been taught all the rules of the school and have such incredible questions and imaginations to share. Besides, as a teacher you are expected to teach any year- group within the school you are asked to, and so this was brilliant experience for me as I now have experience with them all.

As a parent I do need to be well organised, but I think it helps so much that I am constantly aware of deadlines and therefore can always prepare ahead of time. It has also been helpful for me to have a consistent routine and bedtime; teaching is tiring! I also ensure that I eat well and engage in a range of outside hobbies I enjoy which include knitting, ballet, acting, writing and yoga.

Finally, when envisaging my training year, I had never imagined the possibility of completing this during a worldwide pandemic. While the situation highlighted the importance of teachers, it is intimidating navigating this through a ‘new normal’ while also learning the skills to become a good teacher. Some of the aspects of teaching that I had been looking forward to – reading aloud to a class sitting comfortably on the carpet, singing and interactive games were no longer a possibility, however, there is a great deal of pride and happiness that I can take away knowing that I get to play such an important role in the lives of young people as the world adapts to a new way of living.

  • Lucie Darrall (Current trainee)