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Chardia Flemmings: English Trainee - Harris City Academy Crystal Palace

Cohort 2021-22

January 2022

Chardia flemmings“What have your students taught you?”

At the start of my journey, I had a lot of thoughts on how I would build my relationship with my kids. Being relatable whilst also being an adult in the room is not always as easy as you’d think! There are times when you’ve been too relatable, and behaviour can shift negatively as that line becomes blurred. 

What the children have taught me most about is the importance of forgiveness and starting anew in the classroom each lesson. Being able to forgive previous behaviour and continue to build positive relationships between teacher and student is incredibly important. If we are unable to come to a common understanding, the classroom can become a negative environment where no learning is done, and children do not feel safe. 

My students have also taught me the importance of being excited about what you’re teaching and what they are learning. When students can see your passion for your subject, it engages them more because your outlook is positive and that is contagious. I have found my lessons are more engaging when I am sure of what I am doing, and I am animated when teaching them. 

Taking interest in my students' lives outside the classroom has allowed me to firstly show that I care about them, not just when they are in my lesson, and secondly, it has helped me to create a safe classroom environment as children can share and know they will be both respected and heard. Creating a positive rapport and safe environment with my students has made combatting negative behaviour easier as there is a level of respect between student and teacher as well as between the students themselves. 

All in all, my students have reiterated the importance of respect, understanding and care and how these things can build a positive learning/school environment. 

October 2021“Why did you start your teacher training journey?”

What do you want to be when you grow up? Possibly the most asked question we will hear in our formative years. And the most nerve-wracking! One thing we are not always told is that sometimes it takes some living to know what you genuinely want to do and what your purpose may be. 

This was a true sentiment for me. I was always quite stuck on what I wanted to be because my focus was based solely on what I enjoyed doing and not on what I could bring to a career. This all changed for me when I took my first trip to the United States for Camp America at the end of my second year of university. The experience allowed me to open my eyes to the joys of working with children, whilst helping them to build and further their skills. Learning how to work with different children in challenging ways, in an unfamiliar environment, allowed me to grow outside of myself and see the ways in which I could best use my experiences and interests.  

This led me to the job that let me know teaching was the path for me... working at a boarding school! I was a Houseparent/Senior Matron for two years following my undergraduate studies. Being able to get hands-on classroom experience during my time there allowed me to see the value in good teaching and how important representation is for a child. It also allowed me to see the challenges I would face as a teacher and that it was not a failure but indeed a learning point, which would only make me better. 

For the next few years, I took the steps I needed to qualify to teach (that all important maths GCSE!) and began searching for the perfect provider for me. Harris was one of the first providers I looked at because I had been able to see their work in progress through a local school and saw how it had changed from when I was growing up. This made the decision to go with Harris all the easier!