Training as a teacher in the middle of a pandemic is amazing, challenging, different, rewarding, ever changing…
There is no doubt that Covid has changed a lot of things and teacher training is far from immune, but we are still here. We are still training great new teachers who are developing powerful pedagogical practices that will make them really impactful teachers.
Since Covid has been with us, we have had to learn to be flexible. Don’t get me wrong, teachers are great at planning for one outcome and then adapting in response to what happens. In fact, it is incredibly rare that a lesson will ever go exactly as planned. That is because we are working with young people who have incredible minds and bring so much to the classroom – both positive and not so positive and you can only plan for so much. But we adapt, we identify what needs doing and we make it happen – that is teaching. The Covid situation is no exception.
Since Covid entered our daily vernacular, we have quickly upskilled to be able to teach online in addition to the skills we need to teach in class. We have learned to keep the most important thing, the most important thing. Our relationships are crucial. One of our great facilitators uses the quote “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is true. The students need to know that you are focused on them and that you want what is best for them. They need to know that you are doing your best to help them. Then, whatever happens, we are all pulling in the same direction.
What does teacher training look like right now?
We have adopted a blended model. Some sessions have been delivered face to face (in smaller Covid safe groups) and others have been delivered online. You will be amazed how many different ways you can say “I can’t hear you. You are on mute”.
We have been working in the classroom delivering lessons face to face (at least 2m away from the face, but you know what I mean). We have practised assessing from a distance, using questioning techniques that allow you to check the understanding of the whole class, even if you cannot yet see their work.
We are learning how to deliver remote teaching. This was an area we didn’t cover in previous year and now we have a number of sessions about this. Your sessions with Lead Subject Tutors become a great opportunity to practise your skills. You learn how to do whole class assessment using different methods. You learn how to be flexible, to build relationships, keep the most important thing the most important thing.
Lead Subject Tutor (LST) Sessions are going ahead and we are developing subject specialists. 18 times a year you get together with your LST and they will help you explore what great teaching means in your subject.
We are completing our mock interviews online. So our trainees have just been through a series of interviews with members of SLT from our amazing partner schools. And, very reassuringly, the members of SLT were as impressed with our trainees as ever and can see what a great job they are doing, even now.
Despite the challenges of Covid, schools, leaders and Teacher Educators are still giving up their time, still making trainees feel incredibly welcome and helping them become amazing new practitioners. Why…? Because we are an amazing group of people. We are professionals and we truly care about making a difference, whether that is to our students, trainee teachers, colleagues… We are all in this together and doing the profession proud.
Ultimately, our trainees are still working towards QTS and PGCE. They are still making significant progress and developing and we are still super proud to work with them and send them in to our amazing partner schools.
Now, what will teacher training look like when you train (September 2021)? Well, we now have 3 vaccines and we hope that by the time you start, things will resemble normality. You may receive the course we traditionally deliver, although we are likely to retain a number of the more positive elements that have emerged throughout this year. Equally, we may yet be required to adopt a flexible approach for next year.
Come what may, we will train you to be a great teacher who will go on to change young peoples’ lives and, ultimately, that is why we are all here.
To read more about the experience for our trainees, read our ‘Trainee Voice’ blog
Book an information event if you would like to find out more, to meet the team or to talk to trainees.
If you are ready to make a difference, here is the link to apply.