As I approach the end of my first year as a qualified teacher, I am beginning to reflect on the highlights and challenges of a year in teaching like no other. As schools were reopened in September, I was excited to get back into the classroom, but also apprehensive about how I was going to take on the responsibility of my own classes under such unusual circumstances; especially because there were disruptions to the end of my training year. This apprehension was eased immediately as I returned to school because of the support of my department, Nexus and the ECF programme.
As Oldham is one of the pilot areas, I have been following the ECF programme before it is introduced nationally in September 2021. I have found it useful to have the allotted time and self-study sessions to keep my targets for development focused, as well as continuing my professional development and pedagogical reading. I also have a dedicated ECT Mentor and an incredible department who have been so supportive – not only in terms of my professional development but also in helping me learn to manage the workload efficiently.
I have also had continued support from Manchester Nexus as I have transitioned from a trainee to a qualified teacher. We continue to receive support regularly through training sessions for first year teachers. These sessions look at different aspects of teaching that become more important as you take on more responsibility as an ECT. Having theses training sessions has been a great way to not only continue our professional development and understanding but also (virtually) get together with fellow trainees from the 19-20 Cohort.
I feel like the different obstacles and limitations put in front of us this year have enhanced my development within the teaching profession – I have had to be adaptable to whatever is thrown our way and the support I have in place allowed me to continue to progress within my teaching career.
I wanted to become a teacher whilst I was completing my degree in Biology. During my final year at University I was looking to get some experience at a school so I could support my application for teacher training. That is when I came across the Manchester Nexus SCITT website and booked myself onto a taster day. I was very impressed with the core values expressed on the day and the fact that I could be in a school at the very start of the academic year was exactly what I wanted. I knew then that I wanted to train with Manchester Nexus SCITT.
Despite the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt really supported by the SCITT team, even before I started my first placement in September. When I arrived at my first placement, I was welcomed as a member of staff, I enjoyed being able to be getting involved in lessons at a pace that was suitable for me. The contrasting placement has definitely helped with improving my teaching practice. I am forever grateful for both Science departments for their advice. The professional and subject mentors were very helpful and have been key for my progress as a teacher.
Being able to share my knowledge, enthusiasm, and passion for Science to help improve the life chances of my students was the reason I became a teacher. I have been able to do that during my experience with the SCITT. I am so glad that I made the decision to train with Manchester Nexus after that taster day. I love being immersed in the school environment and the network of other trainees has been fantastic. They have definitely helped me become the best teacher that I could possibly be.
Lilith Jennings – Secondary Art Trainee
Teacher testimonial: Why I decided to teach and my journey so far.
Since graduating back in 2013 I have had various job roles, all in which failed to challenge me, inspire me or give me any kind of fulfilment. I hated the thought of being in the job I was in for the rest of my life. After falling pregnant I decided something needed to change, not only for myself but also for my son’s future. I needed something to give me purpose, something that contributed to society and something that would make a difference for the future of the next generation. I couldn’t think of anything more satisfying than teaching a subject that I am passionate about to help shape the young people of today into the adults they are going to become.
I have been a trainee through Manchester Nexus SCITT programme for a week now and already, in such a short period of time, I feel a part of something special. They strive for excellence and push you to be the best teacher that you can be, offering all the support and guidance you could ask for along the way. In my first week I have seen pupils lacking confidence and lifted up to believe that they can achieve something; I have experienced teachers that shine bright and keep smiling despite carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders; and I have had the pleasure of watching and supporting Year 7 pupils starting their very first days at school. I feel truly honoured to be a part of the school’s history, the student’s school memoirs and the excellence that is Blue Coat. I can finally say that I am excited for what the future holds and I would encourage anyone that is considering a career in teaching to just go for it!
Charlotte Quinn – Secondary Maths trainee
I know it sounds very cliché but ever since I was very little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. At first it was because of how cool it was to write on a whiteboard, and I loved being at school so the idea of being there every day for my job was like a dream come true. As I got older, I started to see teaching wasn’t just about whiteboards and registers and it became the career I wanted because I could give back all the opportunities my teachers gave me. I could impart my knowledge and love of maths to the younger generations. I could be the person that helped someone understand complex topics, guide pupils over academic barriers and see those lightbulb moments when something finally clicks.
As I researched how I wanted to do my training, a SCITT programme jumped out as the best way to learn to do all these things and Manchester Nexus was definitely the place for me! With this course I can become a part of school life just as the academic year starts, as well as gaining the PGCE – this was something I was certain I wanted to do and the SCITT programme gives me the best of both. Having only been immersed in the programme for 1 week, I know I made the right choice. I was welcomed with open arms, already feel part of the staff and know I have the support network to become the best teacher I can be. In the coming year I am excited to get stuck in both with the academic and extra-curricular elements of school life, observe some masters of the teaching craft and finally start the journey into the career I’ve been set on for many, many years.
Lucy Kennedy – Secondary Social Science trainee
I chose to complete my teacher training at Manchester Nexus due to the programme being school-centred and i’m so glad I did. Straight away I was welcomed in and made to feel apart of the school community and I was able to see what life as a teacher is truly like. This helped ease my nerves and I’m under no pressure to immediately start teaching. Both my subject mentor and the form tutor I am working with are allowing me to work at my own pace.
What made Manchester Nexus stand out from other school centred programmes for me, is their values and their consideration for the local community. I wanted to become a teacher of Social Sciences to encourage all children, regardless of their background, to reach their educational potential by opening their minds to new ideas and interpretations. The values and ethos of Manchester Nexus means that I will be provided with the opportunities to develop the necessary skills needed to become the best teacher I can be so that I can create an equal and enjoyable education for all my students.
Emma Brennan – Secondary English trainee
Teaching is one of the most challenging, yet personally fulfilling and rewarding vocations that anybody can undertake. I believe passionately that quality teaching and committed teachers have the opportunity through education and encouragement to change a young person’s life, supporting them to develop culturally, emotionally and intellectually. My drive and determination for wanting to teach English stems from my enjoyment of reading, theatre and film, together my own personal experiences of secondary and further education.
Having successfully completed a three-year degree course and reviewing the pathways into teacher training, I felt that the Manchester Nexus SCITT route would allow me a greater opportunity to learn the practical teaching skills from experienced practitioners, whilst undertaking the theoretical studies aligned to Liverpool Hope University. I was also impressed by the professionalism and commitment shown by all Manchester Nexus SCITT staff at the teaching events and taster days.
I have now completed my first full week on the SCITT programme! It has been very exciting to finally start my training and meet my peers who are undertaking training for different subjects. I have also had the opportunity to meet daily with my supporting mentors and Mr Higgins the Head Teacher, who clearly set out the values and principles of The Blue Coat School. Equally as important, I have also had the opportunity to observe my mentors and a number of teachers in the classroom and this has allowed me to meet and interact with the pupils. I have been really pleased at how the pupils have responded to me as a trainee teacher, they are respectful and courteous and are keen to share their ideas and interpretations on the key texts we have been studying in English.
Mr Casey, Politics Teacher and Subject Mentor
My role as a mentor is extremely rewarding and enables me to give back to the profession. An opportunity I have found to be invaluable. It helps me to reflect constantly on my own pedagogy and keep abreast of the changing landscape of teaching, as well as uncover new innovative ways to ensure that our students receive a first-class education. The support and community we operate under at the Manchester NEXUS is exceptional and I am proud to be a key part of it.
Catherine Woodward – Professional Mentor – Secondary
(Used to be an MFL subject mentor)
Last year, I loved being a subject mentor as I was constantly challenged and innovated by my trainee. I really enjoyed having professional discussions and watching her develop and flourish throughout the year. At a time when teaching is constantly being undermined and there is an increasing lack of new colleagues entering a career in teaching, it is a privilege to help shape and guide trainees on their journey to become the next generation of teachers, who instil the joy of learning in our pupils. I was so inspired by my role as a subject mentor that this year I am now a professional mentor and have the honour of challenging and inspiring trainees in a range of subject areas across the school.
Sarah Roberts – Primary
Taking the plunge into teacher training was easily the best career decision I have made! Every day is completely different, you get challenged in ways you never thought possible, you laugh more than you thought possible, and there’s no better feeling than coming home after a busy day knowing you’ve made a difference to a child’s life – even if it’s small! For me, teaching is the career that doesn’t feel like ‘work’, and that’s the best of all!
Darianne Brown – Secondary Mathematics
Why I teach?
Having worked in corporate roles previously, I knew that what I now needed was a career in which I was doing something that I believed in. I wasn’t motivated at the end of each month as the aim was simply to generate more and more money which just didn’t seem right to me. I need to feel as though I am making a positive contribution to the world and that everything that I do is for something that I am passionate about. That’s what teaching is for me. First of all, I have such as a strong love for my subject (Maths) so it fills me with joy to just simply be exploring the subject again. But more importantly, I can work with, teach and inspire young people which just makes it more special and worthwhile. Even in these very early stages, I am starting to see the benefits of working in this profession. What a student in one of my lessons looked at me and said “Miss, this is magic” when she was working through maths problems, I knew I had made the right decision.
One of my main fears about teacher training was being thrown in at the deep end. So far, I have felt extremely comfortable and I and my mentor have worked together to ensure that I am working at my own pace. I am loving the process so much more than I could have ever imagined and I am so glad to have taken the leap of faith. Teaching can get such bad press and it’s understandable that people may be hesitant to join the profession but all I can say is that, so far, the positives majorly outweigh any struggles and I would urge anyone considering teaching to go for it.