Meet our Cohort 2018-19


Altina Smith: History Teacher and SENCo - Harris Academy Falconwood

Cohort 2018-19

AltinaMarch 2019My route into teaching wasn’t exactly straight forward. I knew I wanted to work in education, however, I was always more interested in educational policies and the impact they had on learners. Nevertheless, I began working as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at Harris Free School Peckham, specialising in dyslexia support. I realised that what I really enjoyed was working with students directly, although I wasn’t sure about what subject or age group I wanted to teach. 

There are so many different teacher training courses to choose from, but Harris ITE really drew me in for two reasons. Firstly, I grew up in an area where there was high deprivation and low social mobility: attending a Harris school - where the teachers had passion for their subjects and were willing to go the extra mile - helped me to realise the important role teachers played in my own educational success. Secondly, my experience of working in Harris Free School Peckham as a Learning Support Assistant allowed me to witness how The Harris Federation motivates and supports their staff through on-going training and CPD opportunities. I knew that this was the type of environment that would enable me to thrive and be the teacher that I wanted to be.  

Although I’ve had experience of working in schools before I joined Harris, the support and guidance from the Harris ITE team has been what I had hoped for and more.My tutors have set up a framework where I am  supported as an individual teacher and given frequent opportunities to share best practice and learn from other trainees on the course.  

Fast forward a term and a half: when I tell people I’m training as a teacher, the most commonly asked question is, “why did you choose to get into teaching?”. Although I sometimes ask myself the very same question at the end of a long day, it’s a question I can answer without hesitation. I chose to get into teaching because every day is different - whether it’s my students showing me the latest dance craze or an in-depth debate about current affairs. I chose to get into teaching because it is challenging, yet rewarding - the satisfaction of changing students’ attitudes towards learning or helping students overcome learning barriers is unmatched!