Meet our Cohort 2020-21


Beverley Haffenden: Primary Graduate

Cohort 2020-21

July 2021

Beverley Haffenden (002)

So I sit here at Euston before my enrichment day after a year of madness throughout the nation. Teacher training has been hard work and tiring but I have finally reached my goal of the last 6 years. I am a teacher……yes me! Fifty two years old left school with only o levels and not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up - I was still saying that aged 45!!


So now as I wave goodbye to the amazing bunch of tutors, I’m asked to impart some advice; my first Pearl of wisdom involves something called an SKA…..when the tutors tell you to do it as you go along, then do it. Don’t do it as a catch-up especially if there is any chance you could manage to delete and then have to rush to redo it. My second Pearl, take every tip and piece of advice and use it and lastly make sure you look at the curriculum you are going to work in and brush up your knowledge. Otherwise enjoy it as much as you can.


March 2021

So here we are another lockdown completed. I think it has been a real learning curve for schools and as a trainee teacher, a learning curve that makes me think 'If I can train through this then I can do anything!'. I wanted to teach to make a real difference; I want to be a teacher that children remember for all the right reasons and if I can work that bit harder to help that one child get that maths problem, write that English poetry, understand that science question, then I have done it right. Working online with my teacher mentor has afforded more opportunities to learn on the job in alternative ways and although it has been tiring, it has still been rewarding. 

It has been obvious over this last lockdown how quickly teachers and schools have adapted; indeed, I think many of us now say 'let me share my screen with you', in our sleep. We have become IT gurus when we never knew we would need to be, we are tired, we are still working hard now - plugging those gaps of missed learning, but we are teachers and I for one am loving how I am growing and have gained confidence through this pandemic.

I still think teaching is an amazing career - after Covid and all it has thrown at us, it is even more amazing and carried out by amazing people

November 2020A week at school

Monday - I like Mondays, I get to teach Geography with my teacher mentor. I like to try and get additional information and facts so that I can tell them to the children - they get quite excited now when I tell them I have my amazing facts (we do it in Science on Fridays too - they were desperate to see Neil Armstrong’s bag of rubbish left on the Moon!). We are always rushing to get ready for home time on Mondays as the children want to ask more and more questions. They particularly liked the photos I showed them of when the sea froze during the winter of 1963. 

Tuesday - Tuesdays are a longer day as we have a staff meeting after the children have left. These are now carried out over zoom - last week it was a presentation by my mentor and a Year 4 teacher about the difference between planned writes, supported writes and what we can do to help the children with their English independent writing. It is also my PPA day so an opportunity to go through my planning with my mentor and the other Year 5 teacher. I am still finding my way around the system so take much longer than they do ..... I get there eventually. 

Wednesday - Last Wednesday was a completely different day as my teacher was not able to come into school so we team taught over Teams. It was really enjoyable and, the lessons that I taught, she observed. It was quite funny as at one point the children had forgotten she was there so when she made a comment, they jumped but it kept them on their toes with their behaviour. I think they were ok with it and it was good practice just in case we need to teach over Teams again.

Thursday - Core Training and it was a Read Write Inc training day - I have to say I have found these training days (this was the second) incredibly interesting. I am looking forward to my second placement in KS1 and putting these skills into practice. 

Friday - last day of the week and this is a chance for us to see what the children have learned during the week with spelling and arithmetic tests. Then science in the afternoon - we are planning our experiment for making craters in flour and predicting size of object v size of crater. I am not sure how messy this will get! I have lots to keep me busy at the weekend, but I also plan to get out in the garden ready for putting the Christmas decorations up.

September 2020

If you’d have asked me six years ago where I saw myself in 5 years, I am not sure I would have ever dreamed that it would be working as a trainee teacher at a Harris Primary School, with a degree in Primary Education under my belt. I have spent the last 40 + (no need to go into how many exactly!) years saying ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’. It was only through volunteering at my daughters’ school that I realised I had a bit of a liking for working with children – after all, having had 3 children at home who didn’t do what I asked, I wasn’t sure I could cope with 30. It wasn’t like that, however, and I found myself addicted to that feeling you get when you help a child with a piece of maths and suddenly the light bulb moment happens. I started out 6 years ago on a placement as a Teaching Assistant Trainee and was enjoying it but felt that I still hadn’t achieved my full potential and it was as I hovered over the button to either study for a level 3 TA certificate or do a degree that somehow my finger pressed Open University. 

So fast forward to 2020…… what a year!

In January I filled out the UCAS form with Harris as my choice for teacher training – I had been told the training was first class (I can confirm that it is).

A nerve-wracking interview and a phone call that afternoon meant I had a conditional offer as a Primary School Trainee in Year 5 – all I needed was to finish and pass my degree. With Corona making me ill, I managed to submit my final assignment and then waited what seemed like forever, stuck indoors and locked down. In July this year I found out I had passed; fifty-one years old and I had a First Class Honours Degree and the excitement of my future became a step closer.  

Fast forward to September and I nervously drove to my first day as a teacher in training. I had been given KS2 and Year 5 which made me nervous as I had always worked in KS1 and what can I say? It has been hard work, I have doubted myself and still do every day – I take critical reflection to a whole new level- but my year 5 class have proved to me that I was right in my love of teaching. My teacher and mentor have been amazing and I wake up every day with a spring in my step. My Primary colleagues have helped me immensely even in bubbles and socially distanced – I cannot wait for what the future holds. I have laughed, cried and slept – a lot, but it has been worth it. I made the right decision. Now I just have to submit my first assignment and prepare evidence of my progress but I can honestly say, training with Harris has been the best decision I have ever made.