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Callum Robertson: History Trainee - Harris Girls Academy Bromley

Cohort 2021-22

January 2022Callum robertson“How was your first term as a trainee teacher with Harris ITE?”

When first signing up for teaching, there was always going to be a risk that I would walk into the classroom and hate it. 

However, it is such a rare job leaving such a massive impact the risk is worth it.

One thing that strikes me as particularly pertinent is the environment in which you teach, and your attitude to it. Things that really matter are if you can build a rapport with your students, and if you have a supportive school. 

In this sense, I have been exceptionally blessed to have experienced both, leading to a brilliant first term and the solidification in my mind that deciding to become a teacher was the right thing to do. 

Although it is scary to think I am one third of the way to qualifying as a teacher (gaining QTS), I look back on the progress made since I first stepped foot in a classroom three months ago. 

Things like subject knowledge and learning about new topics has been thrilling. But equally, so has remembering 150 different names and adhering to a rigid timetable. 

Some of the highlights that stuck out to me are: 

School trips! The ability to bring students outside of the normal learning environment and exposing them to different ways of active learning has been amazing in terms of building bonds with the students.

When pupils make progress! Not just academic progress either. Progress comes in many shapes and forms. For example, the student who moves from 30% to 40% is just as worthy of praise as the student who moves from 80% to 90%. But equally, the student who usually struggles to concentrate, but manages a lesson without talking and gets some work done, definitely puts a smile on your face. 

I am looking forward to seeing how our Mock Trial team that Mr Green and I have been coaching get on in their upcoming competition, as well as meeting more students with an increased timetable at my second placement at Harris Academy Battersea. October 2021“Why did you start your teacher training journey?”

Picture this. You’re commuting into work at 6am on a Wednesday. You are tired and not enjoying the work like you thought you would. So, it’s another day. 

Then, an idea pops into your head. What if you took a plunge and did what you always wanted to do, quit your job and become a History Teacher?! 

Then I let the thought pass, got into the office and quickly forgot it, never thinking that I would actually do it. 

I was on the commute the next day, and the same thought came into my head. So instead of letting it pass, I got my phone out and googled “train to teach London”, one of the top results was the government teaching website. 

This told me I needed a personal statement, my qualifications and two references. So, I got writing, got my personal statement down on paper over the course of a few days and called some people who were willing to act as references for me. 

Then I applied...! 

After waiting nervously, I got invited for an interview, initially with the Harris ITE team where they assessed my motivations and my ability to deliver a lesson starter activity. I found out shortly after that I passed this. 

So, they put me forward for a school, Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley. I booked a day off to attend the interview and made my way to New Beckenham, pleasantly surprised at the commute. 

After a rigorous interview with the Principal, Head of Humanities and Head of Yellow Faculty, I found out that they would be happy to take me as a trainee History Teacher whilst waiting at the train station to go back to my flat. Having loved the experience so far, I said ‘yes’ immediately. 

Then came the realisation. I think there’s an instinct in everyone where they question if they are doing the right thing. I kept asking myself the question, “am I actually giving up a good job with decent colleagues because of a thought I had on the morning commute?” 

So, I swallowed my nerves and handed in my notice, ready to start my new job. My colleagues at my old job were brilliantly supportive. 

Then I arrived at Harris Bermondsey for the Summer School, meeting the other trainees and realising, almost instantaneously, that I had made the right decision. 

Following this, I arrived at the school for the inset days. My new colleagues have been brilliantly supportive and the school is an exciting place to work and grow as a teacher!