I have been passionate about teaching since my first child went to school. I have always felt a sense of achievement in seeing my own son and daughter progress and as a parent; I understand how important the parent/school partnership is in enabling my children to do well. This inspired me to want to make a difference to the lives of many other children, so I decided to train as a teacher.
I completed NVQ Child Development at level 2 and 3 and the courses really interested me so I chose Early Childhood studies for my degree. I then decided to take the PGCE route with Early Years specialism at Keele University. It was the best decision of my life.
I did apply to other universities but found Keele to be very approachable and the strapline — ‘rooted in evidence’ — is exactly what it is. The support given by the training team at Keele has been phenomenal. They ensured they left no gaps in training all Associate Teachers to be successful in the profession and I feel my subject knowledge has improved because of the sessions at the University.
As a Teaching Assistant earlier in my career I loved teaching children, and the SCITT sessions have given me an insight into why things are done in the way they are done in schools. I feel after training with Keele I can make informed judgements and can give reasons for my decisions. I am able to discuss progression and reflect on my practice.
The most important thing I learnt whilst training is that teachers serve many other roles in the classroom. They set the scene, build a warm environment, mentor and nurture children, listen and look out for them and become role models. Of course, the most common role of a teacher is to teach knowledge to children and that is done through giving children experience both in and beyond the classroom.
I have now secured a teaching post in the school that I trained at and have come a long way, gaining lots of experience — through the university, through observing best practice and through reflecting on feedback from teaching professionals. What keeps me motivated as a teacher is that I am valued by my university, by the senior leaders of the school, and by my Teacher Educator who has worked with me, giving me feedback, time, and space to reflect to make my teaching better.
If I am given the confidence, then I can give children the confidence to learn and achieve.
My son required one-to-one support in his early school days. I was an over protective parent and kept him off school even if he was slightly ill and this had an impact on his achievements.
Then my son’s headteacher encouraged me to start a Teaching Assistant course run by the school and I never looked back. It not only helped me to help my son to make progress and achieve at school, but it gave me the confidence to reach where I am today.
My son left high school with excellent GCSE results and will be starting university in September, studying Master of Pharmacy.
My advice to those who want to get into teaching is wherever you apply, go and meet the training providers; ask as many questions as you can and meet the trainers on open days as this gives you a feel for it. Try speaking to those who are in the profession — you will not get the same advice from everyone — but if your heart is in it then you will go with your gut instinct.
Teaching is a very rewarding job and the sense of achievement is always there, because not all children are the same and will not make the same progression. Some will do well academically and some will not but that does not matter. If a child smiles at you, that is the greatest achievement because you know that you have cracked it and you have built a relationship with them.
Always listen to other professionals, whether they are senior leaders or teaching assistants, because many ideas together are better than one.