Meet our Cohort 2018/19Back
Maimuna Osman: English trainee
6th June 2019
It’s incredibly overwhelming to think that this training year is coming to a close. All the hard work, the sweat, the tears (of sadness, anger and happiness!), the laughs, the sighs, the caffeine, and ink from board pens are over… for now! Although this year has been emotionally draining, I have loved every minute of it. This training year has allowed me to flourish and being part of HASJW has been incredible. The values and ethos of the school is an aspect I am particularly passionate about and carry within me, even out of school. The support I have received from the Harris ITE team and from members of staff within HASJW has been remarkable. Filling in ‘thank you’ cards will be extremely difficult: How can you thank those who have ultimately helped you progress as an individual professionally and personally? I will try my hardest to encompass my never-ending gratitude into words!
During my English Masters degree, I remember thinking that there will never be a time in my life where I have the opportunity to learn so much about my subject. I could not have been more wrong. I am consistently building my subject knowledge and enjoyment of my subject, whether it is reading a new book to teach Year 8 in September, or learning historical context to teach creatively to Year 11 for their GCSEs.
Teaching English, particularly at HASJW, a diverse school with a high level of EAL students, has its challenges. However, being passionate about English has resonated in my students. They now want to love the subject too, and see it beyond their GCSE exams, which is something I am tremendously proud of. It also helps to hear the five magic words from time to time: “Miss, I understand it now”. It gives me purpose, and fuels my determination to do the best I can for these students. Continuing to grow as a teacher and developing my practice will let me do this and hopefully hear those magic words more consistently!
My love for the students has outgrown the classrooms and corridors, which encouraged my decision to apply for a Head of Year position in my school in which I have been appointed. Though being an NQT and Head of Year will be demanding, I feel that I am more than ready to develop and push myself to engage in further new challenges. I am in a position where my expectations are clear in my classroom, which filter out into the corridors where I see the students. This has allowed me to have a natural presence with these children, which is a key aspect needed in a pastoral role. During school, my own Head of Year was paramount in my development. She was my point of call whenever I needed guidance. Without her, I would have struggled to get through the tumultuous experience of school. I wish now to emulate that role model position, and give students what I myself received as a student. To encompass all my experiences into a list of the Head of Year I would like to be isn’t difficult. I want to be relatable, caring, motivational, strict, nurturing…the list is endless. I have felt the pleasure and joy that comes with being a teacher and cannot imagine not being part of this profession. As a Head of Year, it is important to learn that you are there to build, challenge, support, love, inspire and motivate. I think this role is one that allows you to not only do this, but do it well.
I hope that following my journey has made you think about your own. What would you like to gain from what you do? If it is to be genuinely enthusiastic and motivated to go to work every morning, even after you spent the whole evening marking papers and thinking, “when did I teach you this?” in frustration, then I believe that teaching is for you, and the Harris ITE course is the way to do it.
5th March 2019
Half-way through the year…
A lot has changed since my last post. Although I would love to be able to say that I have learnt everything there is to know about English and pedagogy, this is far from the truth. I must emphasise how well-thought out the training days are in relation to the experiences that I have been facing, particularly the sessions recapping key pedagogical practices during our second-school placements.
My second school placement really opened my eyes to a fear that I have had since I started teaching – What if I’m only good at teaching my kids? What if my routines don’t work in another setting? What if I won’t be able to build those relationships again? Finally, and most importantly, what if this experience destroys my confidence in all the progress I have made since September? Although I was excited for the change in environment, being out of my comfort zone is something that I was anxious about to say the least. However, I can honestly say that the experience is something that I will never forget…
I was not only apprehensive about the second placement, but I was very sceptical about the ability to learn anything in three weeks. I thought the time was too short to learn anything substantial that I could take back to my main placement. I was very wrong. From the first INSET day, I began to learn about pedagogy and, teaching and learning, which I could most definitely input into my practice back at my main placement (and have done since). My initial fears regarding the experience were turned on their head, as I realised that I was able to build relationships with my classes rapidly and apply all the progress I have made since September into this new setting. I loved my second placement, and began to invest in the lives of the students I met there from our first lesson. For me, this experience enriched and verified my love for teaching, and the pride that comes with being a teacher, regardless of the fact that I had only been teaching the students for a couple of weeks!
Since my last blog, I have also completed my first academic essay for the Reflective Teacher module for Kingston. Exploring critical readings and debates surrounding the practice of reflection and being introduced to different models of reflective practice has allowed me to consider every lesson and work on how to ultimately become a better teacher. In the essay, I explored how I initially assumed reflecting equated to sitting down for a few minutes at the end of the day to see how I felt after it all. However, after further reading and ineffective attempts at reflection, I realised that the process needed much more effort and consideration. Now, as I have begun to appreciate the power of reflection, the process has been crucial in my teaching journey, and will continue to be.
We as a cohort are half way through our journey. Even though I cannot wait for the ending of the training year and to begin my journey as an NQT, so far, the journey has been priceless. I can’t wait to see how things will continue to blossom.
9th December 2018
Depending on who you speak to, teaching can either be the best profession you enter, or one of the worst. However, what is universally accepted is that teaching is definitely not as dull as sitting in an office Monday through Friday for the rest of your life. Though a biased position, I can say that for me, becoming a teacher was the best decision I have made so far in my life. There is not a day where I regret becoming a teacher (even during weekends where the only plan I have is marking floods of assessments or books)!
My love for teaching stemmed from my admiration of my English teacher during my last year of school. Her desire for me to do well and the passion she had for her subject made me love it too, ultimately leading to my decision to teach. I want to be just like her - instilling interest, passion and creativity in all the students I teach, and I think that the Harris Initial Teacher Training programme will continue to allow me to do just that.
Before beginning my teacher training, I studied Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London for my undergraduate degree, and subsequently completed my MA Degree in English Literature with a focus on Postcolonial and Global literature. University is where my love for English exploded in ways I could not imagine. While I thoroughly enjoyed my studies, I always had teaching at the back of my mind – I knew it was my vocation. So, I tutored throughout my four years at university and wasted no time joining Harris Academy St John’s Wood as an unqualified teacher in January 2018.
Being part of the Harris Academy St John’s Wood team has really made me feel at home. My position is a particularly interesting one, as I used to attend this secondary school before it joined the Federation. I am able to see first-hand the impact the Federation has had at this school, and I can honestly say that the values of ‘dedication, determination and destiny’ are present in all the children I have met these few terms. I have a genuine investment in the school, and already in multiple children I have come to know.
Becoming a teacher can be quite daunting, especially for me who came straight out of university into the profession. The Harris Initial Teacher Training programme not only supports trainees, but constantly promotes development in the most remarkable ways in your profession. The Thursday trainings are a god-send (not just because it's midweek!). The questions that come up while I’m teaching through the week are always answered through the well-thought out schedule of the training days, and without them, and the help of the wonderful team at Harris, I don’t think my development as a teacher would have happened so rapidly and consistently.
As cliché as it is, I would love to make a tangible change in the lives of the next generation educationally. I have felt the pride that comes with being a teacher, and though I have a lot to learn, I think the Harris Initial Teacher training programme will ironically teach me everything I will need to be the best teacher I can be. I hope you enjoy following my journey as much as I am loving documenting it!