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Jamie Webb: Chemistry trainee

Jamie Webb: Chemistry trainee

Cohort 2018/19

10th March 2019

It has been a while, and the whirlwind of balancing the teaching and athletics lifestyle has been as chaotic and rewarding as ever. Another half term, a successful placement, travelling around Europe at the weekends and a European Championships Silver medal to top it off… busy! 

I have come a long way this half term. My biggest development has been my comfort in the classroom and interleaving my personality into my teaching persona. This has further allowed me to develop relationships with my students, and generally be more naturally responsive to situations which arise. This has been without doubt, partly down to the continual training we receive on Thursdays and also as result of my further experience. In turn, my lessons have become more fluent and enjoyable to deliver; I believe my students would feel the same. 

The three weeks I spent on placement at Harris Invictus Academy Croydon (HIAC) were invaluable, giving me an insight into a different setting. This has allowed me to practice reintroducing myself to classes, but also provided me with exposure to different students, which helped me to draw comparisons in my teaching and develop further. It was a fantastic reflective opportunity. 

Athletics wise things have progressed massively, I have spent a lot of weekends since January out of the country and racing on the European Circuits. One of my biggest challenges is balancing my athletics with my teaching career, it often feels like working two jobs. Many people ask me how I do it, but I don’t really have an answer! Being away competing does however pose a challenge, often eating into valuable weekend down time where I can get organised.

My indoor athletics season has been a bit mental! A win at British championships over 800m, then a Disqualification meant I had to prove my form in the Birmingham leg of the IAAF World Series, I subsequently came 2nd to the Australian Joseph Deng and got selected for the GB team at the Europeans, where I went on to win Silver in front of a Glasgow home crowd, the best performance by a Brit since Tom McKean in 1990. A BBC News interview, BBC 5 live, BBC Merseyside, the Telegraph in school, a full week back teaching and we’ve made it to the end of another week. I could write a whole other blog on athletics, but it would be impossible to not mention it in this half term’s shenanigans! Harris ITE and my placement school have been extremely supportive of me balancing the two aspects of my life, and I am incredibly grateful for that. 

The future is looking exciting: the final term is rapidly approaching and I’m aiming to finish this one in style. Over Easter I’ll be completing our final PGCE module from a training camp in Portugal whilst getting ready for the outdoor athletics season which will start in June, and hopefully I’ll end the season in Doha at the World Championships in October. Before that, I’ll be gaining QTS and firming up my NQT plans.

 

18th November 2018

Teaching… I don’t even know where to start, but since I began the course in September, it has been an absolute whirlwind. The array of emotions I feel throughout a working week is like nothing I have ever experienced before, but teaching can be so exhilarating and rewarding as well.  I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Before starting teacher training with Harris Initial Teacher Education, I completed my MSc in Pharmaceutical Science and Medicinal Chemistry at Loughborough University, which I will graduate from with Distinction. Being a semi-professional, international 800m runner, Loughborough was a fantastic place to learn and train. After my Masters, I wanted to move to London and was offered a role at Harris Academy South Norwood as a teaching assistant and lab technician. I immediately realised the huge impact you can have on students’ lives, not only through academics, but through their overall well-being.  The academy seemed like the perfect place for me to train. I was delighted to be offered a place on the Harris ITE course, and here I am.

Being an international athlete and training to be a teacher is a huge commitment to say the least. I find I work best when I’m busy, and I am definitely that at the moment. Athletics-wise I am aiming towards Tokyo 2020, with the World Championships in Doha 2019, and European indoor Championships in Glasgow 2019 as stepping stones along the way. I train before and after school regularly and am really lucky to have a supportive Head teacher who makes this possible.

The first term at school has been brilliant. It’s really exciting having my own classes and developing my teaching style, which has already evolved so much. Trying out new ideas and seeing which ones work and which ones don’t keeps me on my toes, and the continual support from my mentor and the Federation team is really supporting my development. I am also working in conjunction with the PE department to start a cross-country club, and we will be working with the athletics team in the summer, so that we can, hopefully, win the Harris Federation sports day next year!

The training so far has been outstanding, and visiting the Harris training centre in Bermondsey once a week allows me to review and reflect on my practice continually. The subject specific days have been some of my favourites so far, being able to visit other Harris sites is a great opportunity as I get to see the whole Harris network in action. I’m excited to keep learning, and I’m sure by my next blog entry I will have so much more to talk about.

I came into teaching to make a difference and inspire a future generation of scientists, and I get the opportunity to do that every day. So if you’re considering teaching as a career I couldn’t recommend it enough. Next time I’ll be going into what my day and week generally looks like, and a bit more about the life of a trainee, so keep your eyes peeled.