Back to school as a trainee teacher

Published 28 September 2021
By Jane Wilkinson

Teacher training course student and biology graduate Jacob.

Over the last few weeks, pupils across the country have been returning to the classroom. At universities and schools trainee teachers are also experiencing those first day nerves and feelings of excitement.

Jacob Pask, 25, a talented biology graduate, wanted to change career from the retail sector to a role where they’d be able to share their joy and passion for science. In conversation with Jane, a Get into Teaching adviser, Jacob explains how they found their last-minute application for a teacher training course.

Applying late was stressful. Not only was I limited in my choice of teacher training course provider, but there were other considerations that I hadn’t realised. Specifically, while I have passed my GCSEs, I don’t have my certificates. This became a huge problem, as while the school I had attended did have copies, they were difficult to make contact with during the summer break. I needed the certificates to allow me to enrol on my course and to receive my student finance.

Fortunately, Jacob had the support of teacher training adviser, Rebecca Ellerker. With the guidance available to them, both from their adviser and from a friend who had made the career change to become a teacher, Jacob was able to retrieve copies of their GCSE certificates and perform well during their interview, successfully securing a place. On accepting an offer, Jacob was given two pre-course tasks to complete. Due to the limitation of time between the offer and beginning the course, Jacob has needed to manage their time very carefully.

I don’t recommend applying late! Although I’ve got the place I want, the challenge was huge. Certainly contact a teacher training adviser to help make the application swiftly, but also construct a strong support network for once the course begins – it’s intense.

Just two days into their teacher training course, Jacob has reflected that becoming a teacher is very exciting.

My induction and start of my teacher training has been refreshing, as any concerns I had have diminished or evaporated. I realise that I haven’t made an irrational decision and I’m not the only one in my peer group to make a late application with little or no classroom experience. My interviewer must have thought I had some of the qualities of a great teacher. Following my interview, where I felt everyone else would be much better prepared and able to be a teacher, I realise that alongside my class of 30 others, we are only at the beginning of a successful teaching career. I’m really excited to begin my teaching practice placement, to meet the young people I’ll teach. I’ve been able to make a friend on the course already, which relieves my fear that other teachers or parents may see me as an imposter.

Embarking on a teaching career, Jacob has begun to consider the values they want to bring to their classroom.

It saddens me that science is seen by many young people as an elite subject area, and very much an arena for the ‘boffins’. This is a perception that I’d love to break down. I would also like to see many more females in my peer group of science teachers.

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