Teaching English: Reflections of a Trainee's Journey into the Classroom

John Taylor SCITT past trainee, Helen Platts, shares with us her experience of the training programme and how the invaluable experience she received throughout, has shaped her into the educator she is today. 

When I made the decision to pursue my passion for teaching Secondary English, I carefully weighed my options and ultimately chose The John Taylor SCITT as my preferred route. What drew me to this program were the close-knit community and the shorter commute from my home. Opting for the SCITT route allowed me to make strong connections with my fellow trainees and establish a robust support network that followed me throughout my training.

One of the absolute best parts of my training experience was the incredible support I received. Sally Roberts, my Subject Mentor for English, was my rock throughout the duration of my course. She guided me through all the ins and outs of being a teacher. 

Her expertise, patience, and endless encouragement played a huge role in shaping me as an educator. And let’s not forget about the amazing friendships I made with my fellow trainees! We formed such a tight-knit group and had a blast sharing our experiences and swapping insights along the way. It was truly priceless.

Throughout the training program, I always felt a safety net was just a call or an email away. The SCITT team was incredibly responsive and approachable, ensuring that I never felt alone on my journey. Whether I had a query about lesson planning, classroom management, or navigating the nuances of the education system, I knew I could rely on the support of my mentors and colleagues.

female teacher helping pupil

What really surprised me during my SCITT training was the level of detail and relevance in the course material. It was way beyond my expectations! Those Friday sessions were not your typical boring lectures. They were super informative and tackled the real-world challenges and opportunities that teachers like us face in today’s ever-changing educational landscape. The SCITT program went above and beyond what my friends on other courses had experienced. It gave me such a solid foundation to kickstart my teaching career.

Reflecting on my training journey now, I have come to appreciate the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Amidst the demands of lesson planning, assessments, and classroom responsibilities, carving out time for personal hobbies and interests is crucial. For me, participating in park-run became a cherished weekly ritual that allowed me to disconnect from the pressures of the job, rejuvenate, and return to the classroom with a renewed sense of energy. I definitely recommend finding your own ‘escapism’ as this will really help maintain a healthy and positive mentality throughout.

Another invaluable lesson I learned was the significance of seeking feedback and guidance from mentors and colleagues. Requesting feedback via email or written letters not only provides tangible evidence of your progress but also opens avenues for personal and professional growth. Constructive feedback, when combined with self-reflection, can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your teaching practices.

Since completing my training, my teaching career has flourished, presenting me with new opportunities for growth and development. I now have the privilege of leading my school’s Duke of Edinburgh program, a role that seamlessly blends my passion for education with my love for outdoor activities and experiential learning. The diverse range of placements I experienced during my training played a pivotal role in shaping my career path, allowing me to discover my specific areas of interest and expertise.

Of course, no journey is without its challenges, and for me, behaviour management proved to be one of the most significant hurdles. However, I embraced these challenges as opportunities for growth and actively sought advice from more experienced colleagues. Observing seasoned teachers in action, implementing effective strategies, and continuously refining my approach has been instrumental in developing my skills in this area.

english teacher

Teaching is a multifaceted profession that extends far beyond the act of delivering lessons and imparting knowledge. It has offered me numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. Alongside honing my public speaking skills, teaching has sharpened my time management abilities. It has also equipped me with the resilience to thrive in high-pressure situations.

In conclusion, becoming a teacher through the SCITT has been overwhelmingly positive, filled with support and invaluable experience.  The guidance and growth opportunities I encountered throughout my training have been pivotal in shaping my career trajectory. I wholeheartedly recommend considering the SCITT to anyone with a passion for teaching and a desire to embark on a rewarding and fulfilling profession.

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