Why did you choose the School Direct route into teaching?
I chose the school direct into teaching as I felt it was the best route for me. At the time of application I was working within Thurrock and felt that staying in the area would allow me to further develop my knowledge of the area and the support networks in place for children. It was a teacher at my school who first highlighted to me the option of Teach Thurrock and on discussion with them realised that I would be able to start making connections in the area I wanted to work whilst staying locally connected. Knowing that the course was linked to The Institute of Education was a plus as the IOE is highly recommended in its teaching practices and I thought it was be an excellent start to my career.
What were the positive points of the course?
The positives of the course far outweigh the challenges. The support and base of a home school felt beneficial to me as it allowed me to build relationships with the staff and mentor at the school, knowing they were there to help me become my best and I was there to support them where-ever I could. I had a very positive relationship with my home school and loved my placements there, the long term placements allowed me to highlight and show progress in areas of development, all overseen by the mentor and class teacher.
I was very lucky to have an outstanding class (in reception) and the children were receptive to different behaviour management strategies and techniques. They joined in with all activities with enthusiasm and questioned everything- helping me plan for the future lessons. They were not phased my the observations and different people that would come in, often asking them questions and pulling them to different activities around the room. I will always see them as my first class.
The sessions with the local training programme where a huge positive, they allowed a forum or discussions about practice and planning ideas. They helped highlight areas for progression and ways to adapt to challenges. As the sessions fell on a Wednesday afternoon it was a nice chance to take time out of class and away from the pressure of the IOE and be able to talk with people going through the same overall experience. I will look back on Wednesday afternoons with fond memories and lots of help for planning! Andrea, was a great support during sessions and via email, answering questions and finding out information from the IOE. She still is this year- even past graduating.
The IOE was a positive as it provides OFSTED rated "outstanding" teacher training, meaning I received some of the best training available. It provided me with a knowledge of a range of courses and highlighted an interested in music education I did not realise I had! The range of tutors and interactive sessions meant the range of teaching was varied and kept interest, the tasks reinforced the learning and helped consolidate progress and techniques to take back into the classroom.
I gained skills across teaching in terms of planning, assessment and confidence in my own abilities as a teacher. I was able to progress and develop a range of techniques and strategies to use inside the classroom and to deal with other members of staff.
What were the challenges of the course?
I found the challenges of the course were all beneficial because they taught me how to deal with similar situations in school in a better way. I found that at times throughout the year the workload was very heavy in terms of IOE assignments and keeping up with planning and assessment in school. However, by keeping on top of work and prioritising, it was manageable and has taught need the need for an up to date diary!
Now that you are an NQT what are the benefits of starting your career in a TTPP school?
By starting my career in a TTPP school, I am already aware of the way the schools in Thurrock are linked and use services. I am aware of the challenges the area faces and have experience and strategies to deal with them. I know that the school I am in can support me and push me to progress through my NQT year and help me be the best teacher I can be.
Our programme has placed 33 trainees in Thurrock schools with many of those moving towards leadership already. In September we will place another 9 NQTs in partnership schools. Our partnership is the most successful in Thurrock.