Making the most of your training year

Katherine Hills, languages teacher

Katherine Hills, banker turned teacher

Katherine always knew that she wanted to teach, harbouring an ambition to instil a love of languages in young people and raise their aspirations in life. But she also knew she didn’t have to pursue that ambition directly after graduating with a degree in modern languages in 2009.

Deciding that she’d like to get professional experience and develop some transferable skills before starting her teacher training, she worked for four years in an investment bank before beginning a School Direct course.

“I have always loved languages and have seen first-hand how they open doors – both from a personal and professional point of view,” she says. “Learning and teaching languages is also really good fun and I get a real buzz when my students are able to express themselves. It’s amazing when I walk around school and hear my top-set year 7s chatting to each other in Spanish and debating the correct adjective agreement!”

Having gained a taste for the working world, School Direct’s school-led structure seemed perfectly suited to Katherine’s training needs.

“I didn’t want to go back to full-time study,” she explains. “I wanted to train ‘on the job’ somewhere that I would get started straight away, but still get high-quality training and a lot of support.”

School Direct also offered the opportunity for Katherine to choose the school she would train with, rather than having her placement schools selected for her by a university.

“I could do extensive research to make sure that I was training somewhere where I would be a ‘good fit’ and that had a great reputation for training,” she details. “The ‘school lottery’ of some other training schemes was too much of a risk for me. It was perfect and I could not have asked for a better route into teaching.”

Katherine’s also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a wide range of school activities – something she’d recommend to anyone during the year of their teacher training course.

“Get involved in everything that you can, be that shadowing a key stage you don’t teach, observing teachers outside of your department, being in the staff Christmas panto, or helping out on a school trip,” she says. “Although it sometimes feels like you have no spare time, this is the year where you have the most opportunities. And get as much feedback as you can, from as many people as you can, and learn from it.”

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22 June 2017 15:00

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