Reflections of a trainee teacher - Covid-19

Posted on: 22 Oct 2020

Change is something I do well. I have experience in two different careers, as a retail bank manager and then in wine education. My decision five years ago to undertake a first degree and then an MA in Literary Studies was the start of reconnecting fully with the subject I have always loved: English. 

On this day last year, I was researching teacher training options, having made the decision last summer to retrain as a secondary English teacher. I was prepared to face the unfamiliar, ready for a challenge. Nobody could have factored coronavirus into this. Fast forward to this morning. I have eight different face masks in the hallway, a mini-hand sanitizer in my bag, and a spring in my step as I head out the door. I am loving the plunge I have taken; I hoped I would, and I’m getting so much out of my placement.

That’s not to say it isn’t tough. Incredibly so – and not for the reasons I imagined. For me, I cannot do anything by halves, so balancing the demands of a full-time school routine with the completion of university tasks means working late into the evenings. For this I am well prepared, although, this time, I am insisting on ring-fencing time on a Saturday for the things I enjoy. 

My top tip from the first few weeks of training is this: learn to be as level as possible when faced with disruptive behaviour, and work on honing a calm and emotionless response. This is definitely easier said than done for me. Save highly charged expressions for celebrating what students have done well, and save your emotional energy for heaping on the praise.

Given the ongoing impact of the virus, nobody knows what adjustments will yet be necessary in the context of teacher training. Despite this uncertainty, the constants of a positive attitude, keen organisation and an unwavering interest in the students will smooth whatever obstacles lie ahead.