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Beginning a Forty Year Apprenticeship at the Great Schools Trust

2020 was, in many ways, a bad year to start a career in teaching. Ash, Emma, Katie, Lucy, Molly, Nickie, Niki and Noah, based at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes, thought that they would give it a go anyway. 

Beginning a new career is always a challenge – beginning a new career in the middle of a pandemic brought even more challenges.

Hands – Don’t forget to sanitise! Don’t mark the books! Don’t hand things out! So, with hands sore from over washing and sanitising, they discovered SENSO; the online class book; the visualiser and they carried on.

Face – wearing a mask in the classroom, on the corridor– everywhere! One of the most important skills a new teacher can learn is to ‘read’ their students: their faces, their body language. Masks meant having to find new ways to do this – they muffle voices, they cause glasses to steam up – these new teachers had to learn to emote using their eyes and their hands; their constant refrain, “Can you say that in a louder voice please?” They had to project their own voices through the layer of the mask. They carried water with them everywhere, sucked lozenges for throats not used to projecting and carried on.

Space – Social distancing meant staying inside your yellow box. It meant not shaking hands with students as they lined up. It meant not having a classroom of your own. Finally, it meant teaching from home. Zoom appeared on the horizon and they threw themselves whole-heartedly into the idea of the ‘virtual‘ classroom. Now masks didn’t matter but it was perhaps even harder to ‘read’ students behind rows of black tiles with names on. They found new ways of writing lesson plans, new skills to engage online students and carried on.

In September 2020, Ash, Emma, Katie, Lucy, Molly, Nickie, Niki and Noah thought that they would give teaching a go despite the pandemic. Today, ten challenging months later, Nikita had her final meeting, via zoom, and like the seven trainee teachers before her, she passed. All eight are now Early Career Teachers. All eight have been remarkably resilient. All eight actually gave it more than ‘a go’, they gave it everything. They deserve the highest of praise – if you see any of them – project through your mask and tell them: ‘Well done!’

If you are looking for a new career and have the resilience, passion and dedication to teach, contact Stacey Perrie on 01925 817939 or email us for more information about our Train to Teach courses.

Article courtesy of Mrs S Mullany, Head of English at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes

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