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Myka-Neil Cooper-Levitan: Religious Education with Citizenship Trainee - Harris Academy Bermondsey

Cohort 2021-22

October 2021

Myka neil levitan"How did you prepare for your first few weeks? What should you bring?"

At the end of July, I said farewell to my 20-year career in youth and community work to start training to become a teacher. I was excited and nervous about starting my journey with Harris Initial Teacher Education and Harris Academy Bermondsey. I made the decision that I was going to take August as time to dedicate to getting ready, so left my job a bit earlier than planned.   

During the Summer School, the tutor and mentoring teams at Harris ITE did an amazing job in inducting me into understanding what life was going to be like as a novice teacher. Expectations were clear – rest and prepare for your new adventure. I spent time reading through the Religious Education and Citizenship medium term plans, which outline the core content of the curriculum. This helped me to understand what I would be teaching the first half of the Autumn term. I also completed my subject knowledge enhancement, read HAB’s school policies and kept a running list of questions to ask my mentor at our first meeting.  

I spent time doing things I love and making sure that I was prioritising self-care. For me, this meant seeing friends and family. I also spent two weeks walking along Hadrian’s wall, taking in the beautiful Northumbria countryside and culture with my best friend. I finally achieved my lockdown goal of completing the Couch to 5K running challenge. I got my flat and life admin in order and bought a teacher planner, which I now understand to be a vitally good decision. Establishing these routines helped me settle quickly when the students finally returned and the pace at school went up a notch.  

During my trip to HAB during the Summer School, I asked teachers what I ought to bring with me, and made sure I had a water bottle, pens of different colours and folders for my planning – all these things helped me to settle quickly. Most importantly, I bought a growth mindset, a resource that has helped me get the best out of these first few weeks of growth and change.