Firstly, just a little about you and why you chose a route into teaching.
I am 36 years old and have been working at the same school since I was 19. I began working there as a Nursery Nurse working 1:1, moving on to gaining my HLTA status. It was at this time that I decided I liked teaching the children as it gave me satisfaction when I could see the children progressing.
Which route did you choose and why?
I route I chose was the GTP (Graduate Teaching Programme). This enabled me to work within my school to gain more teaching knowledge and experience at the same time as training with college 1 day a week. I found this route beneficial to me personally due to having a very young family and needing to still be earning whilst training.
What support were you given?
I was given a Mentor who was incredibly supportive of my abilities and needs but she was also able to guide me on my areas of weakness. Due to working in a special school I completed 2 days a week at a mainstream school to support my understanding of the curriculum especially when teaching a much larger class where there are a number of differing abilities. I was observed twice a week by my mentor who gave me critical but informative feedback.
How difficult was it to manage the course and work?
I found the course work a challenge because teaching 4 days a week takes up a lot of time completing the planning. I also had a very young family and needed to be there for them. As long as I kept up with my course work I able to complete it in the allotted time frames but if I ever fell behind slightly it is hard to catch up.
Is there anything you would change if you could to make the route more manageable?
I was not told all expectations at the start. I was given full guidance on separate tasks throughout the year. I feel it would be good to know exactly what is wanted at the start so I could collect all paper work/evidence as I went along as the gaining of evidence was very time consuming.
Would you recommend the route you chose to others?
Yes definitely because it pays you a wage as well as training you up to become the professional you want to be.
Where are you now?
I am now a teacher in an EYFS class. I love my job and I am so glad that I completed this course. At times I felt like giving up but I am so glad I persevered. It is so rewarding when the children make progress, this is down to us. I have been fully qualified for 2 years now and loving every minute of it.
I have had the opportunity to be a mentor for someone else this year and it feels good being able to help and support others the way I was helped through this course.
I am happy where I am in my career at the moment but would like to look into completing a Master’s degree. I would like to continue to be a mentor for others.