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Previous Trainee Teachers

PE Teacher

I studied at Cardiff Metropolitan University, graduating with an upper second class degree in Sport and Exercise Science. As part of my course I spent eight months in the United States, and it was here where I had my first taste of teaching, working with high school students and introducing them to the game of Rugby. As well as playing sport I enjoyed the coaching and teaching side that I had started to experience, here is where the idea of becoming a teacher first entered my head.

In order to see if teaching was for me I set out to try and gain some experience in the classroom; I also wanted to travel so I combined the two. Teaching English was something I never thought I would do, but I found myself working in a school in southern Thailand, teaching six classes a day. Even though I soon realised that teaching English wasn’t my strong suit, I thoroughly enjoyed the classroom atmosphere and helping the students to achieve their goals.

On returning to the UK, I set about gaining additional experience to see if my curiosity of a career teaching was something I was going to pursue. I applied for a Learning Support Assistant position at The Gregg School in Southampton, and found that I still enjoyed working in the classroom. Throughout my time at The Gregg School I was lucky enough to work with PE Department, and towards the end of my time there I was leading parts of lessons. I now knew that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. I applied for a Schools Direct training place at The Westgate School in Winchester and following a formal interview as well as an observed lesson I was offered a place on the course starting in 2015.

The course began with a steep learning curve, trying to become acquainted with a new school whilst training was not an easy task, but it was something I had a huge passion for and it was extremely rewarding. What I enjoyed most about School Direct was that I was in one school for most of the year, but also was able to have days with the Winchester Alliance and my university. The alliance days were particularly enjoyable as you are able to speak to those in a similar position as yourself; here you could discuss you experiences within the classroom as well as sharing ideas for university assignments. I finished the year with Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) as well as obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Throughout my Schools Direct year a post became available at my placement school, and I was fortunate to be accepted following an interview process. My School Direct training provided me with such a good platform for the interview process and I feel the quality of training I received really helped me when applying for this post. Currently I am a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) and I am teaching predominately PE as well as some Mathematics also. The school have supported me in receiving additional training for this and teaching Mathematics is something which I am really enjoying!

The School Direct pathway is something I would recommend to anybody who is interested in teaching. Although challenging, the year was extremely rewarding and the excellent help and support provided by the Winchester Teaching School Alliance has prepared me for life as a teacher.

Zach

PE Teacher, WTSA

English Teacher

My ‘journey’ in to the world of teaching has been unpredictable, rewarding and challenging – although not necessarily in that order.

I had for 10 years, worked as an agent in London, helping to manage the careers of some household names and getting to hang out at a host of glitzy and glamorous events. But I spent 4 hours on a train every day and I felt like I was missing out on seeing my young family grow up. I also felt that, despite the perks, there must be more to life than commuting and office work. I needed a new challenge and a change and it would be fair to say I got both of those things in spades by retraining as a teacher!

Having not seen the inside of a school for about 14 years, I came to Kings’ as a cover supervisor before applying the following year to train as an English Teacher through the Salaried School Direct training route, with my PGCE being awarded through the University of Southampton. That year was a real eye opener, but it meant that when I was lucky enough to get the School Direct position, I’d had some experience of actually standing in front of a class and knew a bit about the school and the children too, which was invaluable.

The training year was tough, but I would absolutely and categorically recommend it to anyone who wants to get into teaching. The best way of learning how to be a teacher, is to teach. The School Direct route allowed me the time and space to plan, to reflect on my victories (and inevitable losses), to think about what kind of teacher I wanted to be, to see other practitioners in action, to work out what behaviour management was and how to develop a more robust sense of resilience.

We were brilliantly supported by the Winchester Teaching School Alliance throughout, with weekly meetings with other trainees based in the school and Partnership days where all trainees from the 3 Winchester schools met for tailor made days which augmented our pedagogical studies at the University. Those days were great, as it allowed you both breathing space and the opportunity to check in with your friends and compare notes and coping strategies! Collectively, I know that we all valued those training days very much and the support we were afforded as well as the training we received was excellent.

There’s no escaping the fact that it was a hard year, but then teaching is a hard profession. Doing assignments at the same time as learning how to teach was challenging, but it was more an exercise in spinning plates (figuratively speaking) than anything that was academically insurmountable. I’m loving being a newly qualified teacher and I’m looking forward to further developing the skills got; it’s massively rewarding, varied and, I would argue, one of the most socially responsible jobs you can do. If you’re looking for something to stretch and enrich your life then this is the thing for you.

Will

English Teacher, WTSA

Maths Teacher

I attended The University of Chichester and graduated in 2013 with an upper second class degree in Sports Coaching and Physical Education. As part of my course, I spent a lot of time on placements in schools, coaching pupils at netball, hockey, rugby and athletics. I had always been interested in sport, playing regional netball at school and representing my university, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with young pupils to improve and develop their skills.

After university, I worked for a large holiday company in Greece and the Alps and looked after children between 3 and 18 and I started to think seriously about a career in teaching; however, I had spent most of my life focused on sporting activities and I was looking for a new challenge.

I applied for a job as a Learning Support Assistant at Kings’ School, Winchester, in order to see if working in a school really would be for me and did this for four months before I became aware of the possiblility of training as a Maths teacher via the salaried School Direct route with The Winchester Teaching School Alliance. This, I thought would certainly be a challenge!

I applied for a School Direct training place at Kings’ and was given a conditional offer dependent on me completing a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) Course in Mathematics at a local university prior to the start of the course.

This SKE course ran for six months part time and I received an attached bursary to help me with my living costs. I also continued to work part time as a Learning Support Assistant in the school’s Maths Dept. The SKE course significantly improved my Maths skills and meant that I was very confident in teaching to GCSE level at my school.

I started my School Direct course in September 2015. As well as the prospect of being paid to train, I was attracted to it by the notion of being a member of staff in one school for most of the year and training being split between my school’s alliance and the university. It was a challenging but incredibly enjoyable year. Managing the demands of university assessments and planning and delivering lessons to pupils of all abilities meant that I felt extremely tired at times but I was well supported and successfully passed the course, obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with 60 Master’s credits.

I was fortunate enough to obtain a teaching post at the school in which I trained and Iam now working as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) there.

I love teaching Maths during the school day and assisting with extra-curricular netball after school and, in the future, I would love to become more inolved in the world of pupil welfare and guidance and become a pastoral leader.

Although, working in a secondary school can be very demanding, both physically and mentally, my job is great and I would absolutely recommend training to teach via School Direct with The Winchester Teaching School Alliance.

Hannah

Maths Teacher, WTSA