My First Term as a Trainee Teacher!

Hey everyone and happy 2019!

As I enter my second term at Edge Hill University, I thought that this would be a good time to look back upon my first term as a trainee teacher. Enjoy!

When I first started the course on the 17th of September, I had no clue what to do or what I was doing. There were so many new experiences that I was not prepared for. The most prominent was the size of the course I was in, there are so many people!

This aspect scared me the most especially because I didn’t know anybody and so I felt majorly out of place. However, in my first seminar class for APD were I was able to meet my class, I made sure to push myself to talk to people and get to know them, which helped me in the long run.

First Time Presenting to my Class!

I can also remember how nervous I was about presenting a piece of work in front of the class for the first time. For APD, we had to create a presentation called ‘This is Me” were we spoke about our experiences in teaching and what inspired us to become teachers in the first place.

After listening to a couple of people in my class, I started to feel as though my experiences were not as amazing or rewarding as the others and so the thought of going up to present my slides was almost crippling. Well, that is a slight exaggeration but, you get my point.

It turns out that after I had presented my slides, people were interested in my background. My classmates asked me questions about where I lived and what sort of experiences I had. I then knew that I had nothing to worry about because everyone’s experiences are unique to them.

My First University Assignment!

Not going to lie, the assignments did come as a bit of a shock to me, especially the referencing! I was very used to writing assignments in sixth form but I had never had to think about referencing, never mind Harvard referencing. Although, after a few stressful writing sessions and help from the uniskills team, I quickly got the hang of it and came out with a surprisingly high score for my first university assignment!

The Catalyst Building, aka my favourite place to do assignments!

My First Time at a School in England!

Throughout the first term, we had three exemplar visit days in which we had a theme we had to observe when visiting the schools. For example, the final visit day, the focus was around SEN and safeguarding and so, this is what we had to observe and focus on that particular day.

I remember my first exemplar visit day as being quite exciting. Because I came from Northern Ireland, I was sure that there was going to be some differences and so I couldn’t wait to see what it was like.

Now that I am starting my first professional practice on the 14th of January, I am very grateful that I went on these visits. Before them, I was a little apprehensive about starting professional practice at a school in England as I had zero experience in it. However, I made sure to ask the teachers questions about anything I was unsure about and they were more than happy to answer.

I now can’t wait to start my professional practice as I feel so much more prepared!

Overall…

I don’t want to make this too long but, believe me when I say that there is so much more I could talk about.

I am very happy with my first term at Edge Hill University as a trainee teacher and I am also quite proud at how far I have come. I originally was not even thinking about moving to England and staying at my safe little spot in Northern Ireland. However, I think that the experiences I have had during my first term as a trainee have taught me so much about what kind of teacher I can be and how independence is so important and crucial to becoming that teacher because, no one else can do it for me, only I can.

Class 1D!

Get to Know Me!

As part of our Academic and Personal Development course, we were asked to create a ‘digital story’ as a way to document our journey as a beginner trainee teacher to one day being a fully qualified teacher!

On the 16th of September 2018, I moved to Ormskirk from Northern Ireland with a car load of my belongings, ready to start my life as a first-year trainee primary school teacher. As much as I was excited to begin my journey here, I also couldn’t quite believe that I made the decision to leave everything I knew behind in Ireland. However, writing this now, I know that I made the right decision.

I have now been on this journey for more than two months and I am glad to say that I have settled in really well with my course and in my halls which, I thought would be the hardest experience of my life because of how hard I find any change in my life. However, without even realising it, I was half way through my course and had settled in to my new home better than I could have ever imagined!

Okay, now that you have a little background about me, how about I tell you about the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher and what kind of teacher I aspire to be in the future;

My Home
“Always remember where you came from.”

What inspired me to be a teacher?

If I am going to be completely honest with you, I have changed my mind about the career I want to pursue so many times. There were times that I thought I wanted to be a publisher, an author(which is still a career I intend to pursue), a speech therapist for children and a personal trainer! Yeah, I changed my mind a lot.

However, I always knew that in the back of my mind I wanted to be a Primary School Teacher, but I kept thinking about what other jobs I could do. It wasn’t until I spoke to my mum, who is a primary school teacher, that I knew I had to give it a chance and believe that I could do it.

And so, I suppose you could say that my mum is my inspiration behind why I wanted to be a teacher, because listening to her stories when she came home from school about the children and her lessons really intrigued me and I could see from her face that she was so passionate about what she does.

My mum is an amazing teacher and although she has told me how difficult the job is, her stories about her school day really highlight how rewarding and enjoyable it is to work in a school environment.

Who do I want to be as a teacher?

One of our first ‘APD’ lessons involved taking about who we want to be as a teacher, or in other words, our ‘teacher identity.’ I really enjoyed this lesson as I was able to listen to people’s aspirations for what kind of teacher they wish to be, and I got to share mine.

  • For me, I always remembered the funny teachers in my primary school. In my opinion, a lesson needs to have humour and the ability to make children laugh because, who doesn’t like laughing? One teacher in particular was amazing at filling the lesson with funny comments and jokes but was still able to keep control of the class and teach us all the skills we needed to know. And so, this is part of my teacher identity I want to pursue through my training years to ensure my class has laughter and fun no matter what lesson we have!
  • Being kind is also a massive part of my teacher identity and it is one that resonates the most with me. Growing up,I always had a problem with maths, my confidence levels in the subject were so low and as a result it really impacted how I performed in the subject. Through both primary and secondary school, I had the most amazing support from individual teachers, who never once doubted my ability and kept pushing me to succeed in the tests and homework even though it was not an easy job.

What are my qualities?

Okay, I guess there is no avoiding this part of the teacher journey. Here are some of my personal qualities that I think will really benefit me as a teacher in the future;

  • Passionate – from changing my mind so many times about what career I want to pursue, I always had it in the back of my mind thatI wanted to be a teacher! Being around children made me so happy and the thought of giving children an education they will carry with them through out their life filled me with so much passion that I didn’t have a choice but cave in and apply for a teaching course!
  • Organised – I have been told that this is who I am on a daily basis and to be honest, I love it! Being in a classroom with 20+children is crazy but having everything prepared and organised for lessons is bound to be a helpful start. I am always on top of my assignments, my work is tidied away into neat folders and my work space is never a clutter. Hopefully, when I have my own classroom, this will come in very handy!
  • Good listener – it is always a good sign when someone tells you you’re a good listener. I always make sure that when someone is having trouble, I have nothing in my hands and my full attention is on them. If a child were to come to me with a problem, I would want them to feel as though they can trust me and feel comfortable telling me, knowing that I am engaging and listening to everything they say so that I can help them in whatever way possible.

And that concludes my first ‘Digital Journey’ as a trainee teacher! I hope you enjoyed and look out for my future posts. 

Lauren Fitzsimons.