Meet our Harris Academy WimbledonBack
Roy Duguid - Computing Trainee
Harris Academy Wimbledon
January 2023What have your students taught you? How was your first term as a trainee teacher with Harris ITE?
My first term as a trainee teacher was intense but overall, very enjoyable. I had previous experience in the classroom as a Teaching Assistant and even delivered interventions (small group classes teaching specific skills e.g. How to regulate your emotions). So, I assumed I would be confident in front of the classroom for the most part.
My first couple of lessons were... arduous. During the very first lesson my brain went into overdrive as I tried to remember everything that we had been learning and tried to put them into practice. From trying to deploy my newly learned behaviour management skills to trying to remembering all 30 students' names, all of whom have a new teacher in front of them and want to see exactly where your boundaries are, my brain was at maximum capacity. Students push their luck with a teacher who isn't their regular teacher, and I was no exception. What was off was I knew what I should be doing / saying, but just didn’t the first couple lessons. I let some behaviour issues slide. Maybe imposter syndrome had set in, maybe I was scared if I insisted on my instructions one would stand up, flip a table and yell “He’s not a real teacher he’s only been doing this for a week!” And a riot would ensue. I didn’t yet have the confidence to be the teacher in the room.
Everything felt like it took me forever to get through. From explaining the tasks to doing the register. AS each lesson passed the automaticity started to take hold and things started to become habitual and each action took less effort. Routines started to form, and less brain power had to be dedicated to these actions, and could be rerouted to the next; how am I questioning my students, how am I making sure they all understand the tasks I’ve set them, how can I help the less able students? Each lesson added a small experience point to my teaching experience tally. And quickly I began to experience situations I had previously encountered, making it easier to overcome each time.
Over time these have all become easier to tweak as they become more and more routine. I still have a long way to go but feel much more in the flow of things now. As the term moved forward I quickly became confident and realised these students wouldn’t care how long I've been teaching, they care about how you are acting in front of them right now and how you are teaching them. I have lots to work on and I'm still learning new skills to deploy into the classroom but I feel as though the toughest part is behind me.
"Why did you start your teacher training journey?"
In a nutshell it was because of the pandemic. During the first lockdown I was furloughed from my job as a 3D Designer which I’d been doing for the past 5 years in a bespoke joinery firm in Shoreditch. When I was furloughed, I had an instant change of mental health. I know for most lockdown was an incredibly tough time and wreaked havoc with their mental health. However, I was very fortunate in that I had the opposite experience. I was running every day, I was reading, I was writing, I was doing my hobbies again, I was being more productive and felt a huge feeling of calm that I hadn’t experienced in years. I then had the realisation that I hated everything about the career I was in and felt firmly stuck in a rut in a toxic work environment. The term “quiet quitting” has since been coined and I realise that that is what I had been doing the past few years, just drifting along in a career I didn’t remotely care about.
When I eventually returned to work after 3 months (in which I had zero contact from my work) I felt a pit in my stomach… having to go back to the same job I now realised was the single biggest detriment to my mental health. I felt panic at having to go back to the same office every day and work long hours staring at a screen with peers who wanted nothing more than to just live the Groundhog Day of the office job. When there were talks of redundancy, I asked my then boss to give it to me instead of someone less senior and my boss agreed.
After the dust had settled, I had a long hard think of what the next step would be. Lockdown had made me reassess my priorities. What did I want to do now? I didn’t want another office job.
I made a mind-map (of course) of potential careers I could go down and once the idea of teacher had been formulated it made perfect sense. Out of all the careers I have had the ones where I had helped others made me feel the most invested and rewarded. So I started looking for jobs in schools. I got one as a teaching assistant in a new Harris Academy on it’s first day of opening. A fresh start.
Looking back, I wished I had made this change years ago, however I probably needed things to happen as they did for me to be as invested as I am in this career change. For the first time since I was at university (a very long time ago) I feel as though I’m doing something I want to do, not just drifting. And working with people who are passionate about their jobs makes me want to be better at what I do.
In conclusion, all it took for me to change career was a global pandemic.