Meet our Cohort 2019-20


Zenani Johnson: Primary Teacher

Cohort 2019-20

Zenani johnsonAm I suited to this? Am I ready for this? and Why am I doing this? These are some of the questions that I have been asking myself since starting my Harris Initial Teacher Training programme. I have only been a student teacher for a few weeks, and I can honestly say that these have been the most exhilarating, confusing, humorous and nerve-wracking weeks of my life. Getting to know the children and building a rapport with them comes with its new challenges and every day I walk into the classroom ready to face them. I have never grown so much in resilience and perseverance in such a short amount of time.


Working with children is something that I have known I always wanted to do in my life and my dissertation is what really made teaching the career that I wanted. My dissertation was called ‘The Underachievement of Black African and Caribbean children in UK Schools’. The array of literature this topic brought my attention to was eye-opening, as it brought my attention to not only African and Caribbean children’s underachievement but also those of other ethnic and socio-economical groups. I remember reading all the articles and books and the first thing I thought was this is not fair, and the second thing was this will not happen on my watch. I don’t mean to talk about myself as if I’m a teaching guru and can change all these things in my training year (I completely understand this could be an unrealistic goal), but these are the reason why I have chosen teaching as my profession. I understand that there are many reasons why children from these groups underachieve, yet I strongly believe that one teacher can have an impact on a child and change the life and potential life of a child.


Choosing Harris as a route to get into teaching was probably one of the easiest things I did. Growing up in South London, I have seen for myself the impact Harris has had on local areas. Harris has turned around struggling and failing schools. This is due to their outlook on education and, most importantly, the fact that they teach for all.


The support that I have been given from the ITE team is unbelievable, they are all really on your side and want to see you do your best as a teacher. The sessions that they hold are all inspiring and you come out learning something new to incorporate into your practice in order to help your children do their best. My mentor is my rock. She is always there when I need her, asking if I’m okay, how I’m doing and how my week has been. She is always sharing the knowledge that she has learnt throughout her teaching career to better my practice. She does weekly observations of me while I am teaching and tells me what I am doing well and what I need to develop; I find this so helpful because I want to learn new things to better my practice and she gives me the tools to do this.


So, to go back to the questions I begun this blog post with an I suited to this? 100% yes. No other career will be better suited to me - working with children is my dream. Am I ready for this? Without a doubt I am ready for all the challenges that teaching will throw as me. Why am I doing this? I do this because of the children, ensuring that they all have access to an enriching education and are all learning something to better themselves as people. I am doing all of this for them; they are my motivation and my passion is to help them reach their potential.