“I chose to train with Partnership London SCITT because… I knew that I would personally benefit most from a scheme that was school centred, as opposed to one of the more traditional, university-led routes that are available. I was really keen to ensure that my training year exposed me to as much practical experience as possible. That said, PLS stood out as a provider on paper because it appeared that, whilst there would be a clear emphasis on practical and tangible experience, this wouldn't be to the detriment of its trainees' theoretical education. In other words, the SCITT offered a great balance! I made my final decision based upon how I felt after my interview and the subsequent conversations I had with Mariella Di Caro, one of PLS's Co-Directors. Mariella very kindly offered to talk to me on the phone about some of the queries that I'd had with regards to the course and the placement schools. Although this could be seen as a professional courtesy, it was a personal gesture that I appreciated hugely at the time, and, I should add, that wasn't offered by any of my other prospective training providers That level of care and personality was what set the course apart during the application process, and, I think, what continues to be so special about it now I am training. “
“The best part of my training year is… being made to feel part of something: my school, the PLS "family", my department, my training cohort... So far this year, I have felt like I am the newest member of a series of different teams, all of whom have welcomed me and supported me to get through the first 5-weeks. Training to be a teacher is a challenge. I already know that. But I am enjoying the challenge because there are so many supportive people around me, many of whom have done their training through PLS too. “
“I am most looking forward to... the moment that I can look back on where I am currently, and see how far I've come over the course of the year. Teacher training is not dissimilar to the process of learning to drive. When you start, you are all fingers and thumbs. It feels unnatural because you've never done it before and you are desperately just trying to work out which is the right pedal to push. That's where I am now. I am looking forward to the moment when I can teach without stalling or getting beeped at. It seems impossible, but I know it can be done because I have people around me who have all been there, done it and passed the test. Of course, the difference with teaching is that you never really get rid of the learner plates! Can you tell my Year 9's have been doing extended metaphors this week...?”
“So far, the highlights of my year have included... teaching my full lesson to a Year 8 class. And ...teaching my second full lesson to a Year 8 class. The progression and improvements were small, but they were there! That is a great feeling and it makes me feel excited for where I will get to in lessons 3, 4, 5 and beyond.”
“If I was giving anyone who was thinking of becoming a teacher advice, I would say... If you are prepared to work hard, be organised, be self-reflective; to laugh at yourself and to find passion and energy even when you don't feel you have them... then do it. It is incredibly hard work but it is very rewarding and I now can't imagine myself doing anything else.”
“I chose to study with Partnership London SCITT because… I really liked how diverse the schools in the partnership were. When I first visited Sydney Russell school I absolutely loved the culture and the feeling I got when I walked through the corridors. The facilities for my subjects were excellent, so I knew I would have the tools to teach really valuable and engaging lessons.”
“During my training year, I most enjoyed… was the one thing that initially scared me the most.... being thrown in at the deep end. Being responsible for student’s learning on day one pushed me to do the best that I could for my students, and I love that they are all individuals from different backgrounds, different levels of enthusiasm and different senses of humour. The camaraderie between the trainees is pretty amazing too. We can celebrate the good times together but also pick each other up when we’re down. Having that support network is vital.”
“The highlight of my training year was… seeing one of my year 9 Food Preparation and Nutrition classes start to make the link between the food they eat and where it comes from. Knowing that I had sparked a curiosity in them through my lessons gave me an amazing sense of pride and achievement. Plus, it was good to hear jaws hitting the floor when I explained that eggs don’t grow in a field….”
“My training year prepared me for NQT because... t taught me the importance of being organised, working smart and trying not to dwell on things. I had good lessons and bad lessons, and I think they both helped me be reflective. Making mistakes is fine - helpful even - because you learn from them and build that crucial resilience that we all need.“
“If I was giving anyone who was thinking of becoming a teacher advice, I would say...
It’s okay to have a bad day or a “moment”, but don’t make a regular habit of crying in an Art store cupboard at 3 pm! If you are struggling with anything at all, reach out to one of the amazing PLS tutors. They are experienced, professional and extremely helpful.
Oh, and bring snacks and water to school! It might sound strange but don’t underestimate how challenging it is to talk and answer questions for most of the day.
There is a lot of work in your training year, but make sure you look after yourself and take at least one day off a week. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but if you start by carefully planning and working smart, you will leave yourself the space to enjoy the best bit about the job… teaching.”
“As a mentor, I most enjoy... that I am able to guide, support and impart my knowledge and experience on a PLS teacher to become effective and reflective in their teaching practice; aiding them in their journey throughout the year to become an outstanding practitioner by the end of their training.”
“Partnership London SCITT have offered support through...The very detailed and clearly outlined mentor handbook means that as a mentor, I know exactly what is expected of my role. It gives me guidance and a framework to work with when supporting my mentor throughout their training year. The regular training and ‘catch-up’ sessions means that PLS is always there to support me whenever I have questions and the constant ‘checking-in’ shows that PLS cares about you!”
“The personal impacts of being a mentor are… without question, that it has made me more reflective about my own teaching practice. Observing my PLS teacher teach, co-planning lessons together, the discussions we have during our hourly mentor/mentee meetings allow me to take stock of my own pedagogy and what I know is working very well, and areas that need further development and refinement. Watching my PLS teacher in the classroom I sometimes go, ‘yeah, I love how they facilitated that moment…I’m going to steal it!’. Similarly, when something isn’t working, you reflect and make note of any similarities that you may do in your practice (but never really identify because we can be so busy) that needs adapting.”
“My advice to current PLS teachers is… listen to your mentor! Ask them questions but don’t expect them to give you the answer straight away – that would be too easy. Mentors will want you to come up with your own teaching style and not just do a copy-cat of yours. They will want you to make your own decisions and ideas, but they will guide you there and make sure that whatever the final result is, that it works and has an impact on you as a practitioner, and the students you are working with.”
“If I was giving anyone who was thinking of becoming a teacher advice, I would say...100% go for it! There can be this pre-conceived notion that being a mentor is extra-work and takes up extra-time, but I cannot stress how much being a mentor makes you become a better teacher. Furthermore, quite selfishly, it is always lovely to see the progress that your PLS teacher is making during the course of the year and that you had a major part in making that happen.”
“As a PLS tutor, i most enjoy… working with a team so dedicated to teaching and learning, our combined work ethic drives us to consistently reflect and action this to do the best we can for the new professionals we work with and their schools, departments and the young learners they serve. I have learnt so much about myself as a mentor, coach, teacher and learner in this role and each year adds to the challenge and the learning – it’s honestly thrilling.”
“My biggest highlight of the last year was... my favourite day each year, although stress-inducing, which is induction. Seeing the cohort for the first time with their motivation equal to their apprehension, readies me and the team to start afresh and create something bespoke for the new professionals before us.“
“The Partnership London SCITT team and structures aim to support the journey of PLS teachers through… a curriculum that aims to encompass all aspects of the wide role of a teacher; we have scaffolded this, prioritising learning at key moments of the year. We have recruited the best possible professionals to support our PLS teachers on their pathway to QTS and beyond and the PLS team are a constant; they are there to support, hold people to account and model ways of working to inspire and motivate. “
“If I was giving advice to current or prospective PLS teachers, I would say… make sure at the end of each day you consider the impact, however minuscule, that you had on a colleague or student that day, give yourself the credit you deserve and please stay on top of your paperwork.”