The Elmridge Teaching Alliance School Direct trainees have got off to a brilliant start in their teacher training.  They have attended several training events, their teaching time has increased to 70% and their confidence in the classroom has increased. We’re really proud of their progress so far.    

Hear more from them in their blogs below.

First half term blog by Lucy

‘How’s your PGCE course going?’  A question I’m frequently asked when catching up with family and friends over the last two months!  My mind flits between becoming a student again, meeting new people, assignments, folders, teaching percentages…’I’m absolutely loving it’ I reply.  That’s the truth.

Changing professions is daunting; life is still manic with two young children to look after but I’ve always been used to long hours and hard work.  With the right support from the Alliance, MMU, my lovely group of fellow students and of course my family, I think I can do this.

It’s early days on our 9-month journey but already we are teaching classes in our Block A placement and have been integrated into school life as a fellow teacher.  My mentor has taken me under her wing and has allowed me to teach alongside her from day one.  Being with the children from their first day of their Year 3 experience has been of huge benefit, not only have I seen the preparation that happens before the children enter the classroom but I’ve witnessed their progression from the shy faces on the first day back after a six-week holiday to the lively and confident group they have become in a matter of weeks.

There’s no better way of learning about working in schools than being involved.  From staff meetings, training and curriculum evenings my fellow student Daniel and I have been welcomed into Elmridge Primary School with welcome arms and feel privileged to be part of such an outstanding school environment at the beginning of our careers.  Victoria and Joanne are based at Park Road School in Sale and have equally enjoyed the challenges of our first term as trainees.

We’ve been given time to get to know the children, observe lessons and understand policies and planning before beginning to teach.  We’ve appreciated the space to reflect and develop ideas rather than being pushed straight in from the start.  We’ve certainly learnt a great deal from observing brilliant lessons across both key stages.

Being in the classroom between Monday and Thursday is working well, with Fridays either being Alliance led training or at MMU for lectures and seminars.  Although it can feel strange being away from the class at the end of their week, it’s given us all time to catch up on how each other are doing in different schools and gaining essential skills to take us forward in our professional development.

At school our teaching percentage has grown from 30 – 50%, but this isn’t as daunting as it sounds, especially when you have your mentor’s support every step of the way and you are officially observed during one lesson a week.  Every lesson so far has taught me so much; whether that be on behaviour management, resources or subject knowledge. 

Seeing the impact you can make with individual children has been hugely rewarding.  Explaining column addition to a little girl who’s been struggling and literally witnessing that ‘lightbulb’ moment before your eyes is magic!  Getting the children to become ‘maths super-heroes’ and tackling problem solving wearing imaginary capes has been surprisingly beneficial. 

We are now commencing work on assignments and our visiting tutors have been scheduled to see us in our schools soon. Workload is increasing, but I’m feeling ready to tackle more and excited to see what the future brings. ‘So, so far so good’.

Half term blog by School Direct trainee, Dan

As the festive season draws nearer, the realisation that my first placement is drawing to an end starts to dawn on me. The feeling it creates is hard to explain…but I’ll give it a go.

Looking back at my first day at Elmridge, where the welcome was so warm and positive, and having that same feeling now when I come into school three months later, is something that I will always be thankful for. The ‘never stop improving’ ethos and ‘always embrace the challenge’ mindset, has allowed for me to develop in such a way, that I do feel like I have been given the best opportunity to grow as a trainee teacher. Without the support from teaching staff, the senior leadership team, and of course my mentor, who has really taken me under her wing, it would have been a completely different experience.

This second half term has seen the amount of teaching ramp up to 70%, a task daunting at first (How will I find the time to plan? I hope the children enjoy the lessons! Fractions for two weeks?!), but offers the chance to have that ‘Eureka!’ moment. The moment where you think ‘I’ve got this!’, the moment where you see that piece of work and go ‘this is why I chose teaching’, the moment where you just think ‘how on earth did I manage to get all of that done?’. The last moment came to me towards the end of this half term as I finished off my final pieces of work with my year 5 class. To see how far they’ve come and have the chance to mark a piece of work that is the final result of all their hard work, was the moment I had been waiting for. The unique approaches and ideas that each pupil had, made marking their work a fantastic way to bring an end to my placement at Elmridge…that and the Christmas movies show the children are putting on!

From fractions tests, to dancing snowmen choreography, the festive period is in full swing now. Having ‘Oh Holy Night’, ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’, and what seems like one hundred other Christmas songs, on repeat in my mind, and year 5’s, every day for the past two weeks has been the norm, but it just adds to the excitement around the school and the buzz of the class. An excitement I will take through with me into my placement B, and whilst I am excited to move on, I will definitely miss Elmridge, and I already look forward to coming back in May…hopefully this time without ‘You’re a mean one Mr Grinch’ stuck in my head.

So, to explain how it feels to finish this placement, say goodbye to my class for now, and think about the challenges ahead, I’d have to go for a mixture of happy, sad, excited, and most of all, proud.

Watch Dan and his class in the Twelve Days of Christmas video