Being myself in the classroom

Published 15 October 2020
By Get Into Teaching

Olivia smiling in her home

Finding the right course for me

Throughout my education and career in performing arts, my enjoyment has come from supporting and teaching others. After doing some research, I decided to apply for a teacher training course with the Outwood Grange Academies Trust, who were searching for candidates that were passionate about teaching.

From the day they replied to my email, I haven’t doubted my decision to train with them. They were welcoming, inspiring and have made me feel like I belonged there.

My first lesson

When I look back at my first lesson, I still laugh at myself to this day. My mentor had asked me to teach a starter activity and I had spent all week rehearsing what I’d say. Once I got up in front of the class, the whole thing went out of the window and I didn’t say anything I’d rehearsed. But I was myself and I stayed positive, and the students engaged with it — it all worked out!

Now I’m teaching full lessons that I’ve planned myself. From that first day it’s felt natural to just be myself and not rehearse everything.

My biggest training challenge

The biggest challenge I have faced during training is doubting everything that I do. I am critical of myself and will often think that my ideas are not creative enough or do not showcase my students’ abilities. However, it’s important to remember that you never know how an idea will work out until you try it.

I have had lessons where my mentor and I will sit and laugh because something didn’t quite work as planned, but once you know that, you can quickly adapt and turn a lesson around. I am learning not to doubt myself and to try new things, because things will go wrong and that’s okay!

My favourite training moment

One of the best moments of my training year was of course receiving the offer for my Early Career Teacher (ECT) position in the school I trained with. But my favourite moment was the day a student who had lacked confidence throughout the entire time I knew them performed their final piece to the best of their ability and finished with a beaming smile on their face. I felt so proud of them and the hard work they had put in. Knowing I had helped along the way is just a bonus.

My advice

If I could give any advice it would be this: from the moment you enter the classroom, just throw yourself into it. Take on any challenge you are offered and say yes to everything, because the more experience you gain and the more you throw yourself into it, the more you get out of it. I have met teachers and students that I will remember forever.

You will learn a lot about yourself during your teacher training year and it is the most rewarding journey to be on.


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