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Daniel Tye: History trainee

Daniel Tye: History trainee

Cohort 2018/19

28th February 2019

It was nearing the end of a 12 hour day, I was sat at the back of the lecture theatre at school listening to a group of Year 11 students have a constructive discussion with a panel of teachers, judges, civil servants and police officers about the issue of knife crime. As the discussion came to an end, a student made a poignant remark: “We spend so much time at school, 6 hours a day, 5 times a week. Sometimes teachers know us better than our parents”.

That’s when it really hit home that what we do as teachers is all about the students. For them, we are their world, we are adults that they look up to, rely upon, look to for guidance and ultimately, expect to help them become well-rounded adults who succeed in life. This simple remark from a student left a lasting impression on me: it is up to us to continually up our game to help them fulfil their dreams, aspirations and life goals. If not, who else will? 

That responsibility can be burdensome. It can weigh us down, making us doubt and over-analyse every aspect of how we teach them, how we act in any given situation and model our conduct as adults. At the beginning of the training year it can be palpable how stressful this can – sat there trying to plan a lesson, and not feeling like you know what you are doing.

As we pass the half way mark of the training year, it gives us a perfect opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and what impact we have had on the students. To continue with the mountain climb analogy, base camp is far behind me yet the peak is still quite a way off in the distance. But as the climb gets steeper, the further we go up the metaphorical mountain, the tools we need to navigate the rocky chasms and precipices have become more easily accessible than when we muddled up to base camp.

In my own teaching practice, I have begun to see two clear ways that this has changed. Firstly, my capabilities in planning lessons has improved. Instead of focusing on the activities students must work their way through, I am beginning to break down the learning and scaffold so the students can reach the lesson’s learning outcomes and success criteria. Secondly, I am developing a confidence to take risks that I would not have taken in September. Now, I am allowing myself to let the learning take me where it wants to go (recently, this resulted in a role play activity where students pretended they were members of Elizabeth I’s Privy Council advising her on how she should deal with the threat of Mary Queen of Scots being in England).

Both of these developments in my teaching practice will not only benefit me as I progress through the year and beyond, but also allows my students to have the best learning they deserve so they can succeed in later life.

Whilst the peak of the mountain is still far off into the distance and there is still a lot more climbing to be done, looking out at the view in front of me shows that though the journey is still tough, it will only get easier as I begin to build up the teaching tools to scale the metaphorical mountain. Ultimately, spurred on by the reminder from the Year 11 student after a long day at school: we’re there to help them.  Whatever the days may throw at me, this thought will stay with me and remind me why I have started on this career journey.

 

13th December 2018

From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to work in a career that improves the lives of others. Despite teaching always being a career I was interested in, I ended up working in politics in Westminster after I graduated from university. But the call to teaching was always there and earlier this year, I finally answered it. But, as a career changer from the corridors of power to the corridors of an inner-city London school, never did I realise the scale of the mountain I was about to climb.

Since setting foot into my first placement school in September, it has been obvious how every minute counts. At my placement school, we have a mantra: “Every minute is a learning minute”. And it is true. 

Every moment has been one of learning, growth and challenge. May it be adapting to a completely new working environment completely alien to everything that I experienced before, how I support young people’s learning and addressing challenging behaviour, or simply who I am as a person. 

It sounds cliché, but since I began my journey into teaching, I have learned so much about myself – both personally and professionally, in ways that complement each other. 

The ability to learn about myself has been down to nothing but the encouragement and commitment from the Harris Initial Teacher Education team, the Federation’s History consultants and the teachers at my placement school who have all extended a helping hand, welcoming me into the teaching community. As a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed trainee, I have come up against many challenges, but the support around me has allowed me to overcome obstacles that otherwise may have broken me. 

As I end my first term as a trainee, I feel that I have made great strides from the bottom of the mountain, and now that I am at base camp, I am beginning to connect my personal, professional and pedagogical skills to inspire the next generation. Ultimately thanks to everyone around me … now it is time to continue climbing.