Harriet Donohue - Primary NQT 2020

"I have secured my dream job as a reception class teacher at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School in Sheffield."

 

Harriet Donohue, Primary SCITT trainee 2019/2020

Have you secured a job for next year, if so where and what is your role?

I have secured my dream job as a reception class teacher at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School in Sheffield.

 

What are your future goals and ambitions within the teaching profession?

My future goals within my teaching profession is to develop further as an early year’s teacher and continue my cycle of learning and professional growth. I want to continue to strive to be the best teacher I can; as I care about the staff and students in the school and strive to provide effective and valuable learning opportunities for all children.   I would like to use continuing professional development opportunities to specialise and broaden my knowledge in teaching and learning. I do have an interest in developing and broadening my knowledge in teaching strategies for supporting children with SEND. 

 

 

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"I was well supported from the beginning, throughout my training until the end of the training. The support provided has been exceptional from my lead mentor, class mentor, the SCITT team and the schools I have worked in."

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What are your future goals and ambitions within the teaching profession?

My future goals within my teaching profession is to develop further as an early year’s teacher and continue my cycle of learning and professional growth. I want to continue to strive to be the best teacher I can; as I care about the staff and students in the school and strive to provide effective and valuable learning opportunities for all children.   I would like to use continuing professional development opportunities to specialise and broaden my knowledge in teaching and learning. I do have an interest in developing and broadening my knowledge in teaching strategies for supporting children with SEND. 

 

How did you find your training year with The Sheffield SCITT?

My teacher training year with the Sheffield SCITT was such a valuable experience where I was immersed from day one within the school and classroom learning environment. I had continuous weekly mentor one to one meetings in which I had opportunity to plan and discuss learning with my mentor/class teacher, discuss my own professional development and discus my strengths and areas of development. Alongside weekly mentor meetings I was with my mentor/class teacher in the classroom where I was able to observe quality first teaching and use these strategies within my own practice. The training also has a weekly hub session where all the trainees meet to discuss personal learning and further development to use in your own teaching practice.

The training requires you to provide evidence to the teaching standards in an evidence bundle, I found this a challenging part of the training however I was supported and guided throughout.

 

Any highlights from the year?

I feel that my year has had so many positive experiences and highlights. I have been able to work within different schools alongside experienced teachers, meeting and working with the children in my class, planning and delivering high quality provision which was co-planned with my class teacher. I was able to be involved in cpd opportunities within the schools, I completed a paediatric first aid course, attended staff meetings and parents evenings, further training in safeguarding, RWI, EAL and much more all of which have been important and valuable to my professional development. There were times that the training is challenging and requires your full commitment but I was entirely supported throughout.    

 

Did you feel well supported throughout the training?

I was well supported from the beginning, throughout my training until the end of the training. The support provided has been exceptional from my lead mentor, class mentor, the SCITT team and the schools I have worked in. During the period of time where school’s have closed my weekly mentor meetings and planning children’s learning has continued.

The home learning experience was new to all of us, and I was still supported in providing high quality learning experiences for the children, I was involved in weekly webinars and group mentor discussions about our learning from the week and supporting our own wellbeing.

 

Would you recommend training to teach with The Sheffield SCITT to others?

I would highly recommend teacher training with the Sheffield SCITT, the whole experience immerses you within the school environment, it enables you to work with experienced teachers and view quality first teaching and learning opportunities.

Not all of the training is easy and straight forward, there are challenging experiences during the training, but there is support from the schools and your mentors for this. The hub sessions with the other trainees is also another support to help each other during the training. Before deciding my teacher training route I was looking at going back to University before finding out about the SCITT training, I am so grateful and appreciative that I followed the SCITT training route to become a newly qualified teacher, my training experiences have been unforgettable and has prepared me for my future career.

 

What was the hardest part of your training? What helped you overcome this?

A few of the hardest parts of the training was the balance of planning lessons and preparing my evidence bundle against the teaching standards, at times it was stressful but once completed so rewarding to see the progress I have made and receive feedback from my mentor and lead mentor about the progress I was making in my training. It hasn’t been a normal school year for all schools but I was able to overcome these challenges with the support of my mentors and school and I had opportunity to return for the last few weeks of term to work with my Year 1 class.

 

What have learnt about yourself during your training?

At the very start of my training I was adamant that the year group I only ever wanted to teach was Early years and Year 1, my first teaching practice was in a Year 3 class. This was such a daunting thought for me at first as I had never worked in any classes over year 1. Once I was in the class and the new school I loved every moment of working in year 3 and I learnt so many new teaching practices in this school. It taught me to not put limits on my own development and learning opportunities and I feel that my self-confidence has grown so much as a teacher during my training. The training may involve you working in a class year group that you feel you know nothing about but again the support provided is amazing and you will learn so much about different teaching practices and provision for children, different teaching strategies to meet the needs of a diverse range of learners and provide opportunity to plan learning to meet the needs of all children.

 

What would a typical day of your training entail?

The typical day can vary dependent on what class year you are in but a typical day would be arriving in school, setting up classroom provision, setting up your planned lessons, making sure your resources are ready and learning can begin from when the children enter the classroom. During the week you have PPA time to work with your class teacher to plan and prepare learning for the next week, discuss my own learning and development and set targets to meet against the teaching standards. The day would allow you to immerse yourself in the children’s learning and develop your own teaching styles and strategies. During the week we would have staff briefings and staff meetings, and different training opportunities throughout the course.

 

During the training were you given any constructive criticism? Did you find it helped?

Constructive criticism is such a valuable part of the training, in my mentor meetings I could discuss areas of strength and allow me to reflect on my own learning and development and develop strategies to overcome challenges and progress as a teacher. During the week my mentor would observe my lessons and provide me with constructive and valuable feedback which I would take with me to develop and improve my teaching. 

 

How did you find the balance between training and home life?

At times this was challenging, but it is important to use your time efficiently and give yourself time off from your training, it can be easy to overwork and you need time to yourself for your own wellbeing so that this doesn’t affect your training. I did find this hard at times as on a weekend I did work, but I made myself a timetable of training and finding the balance of home life.

 

Final piece of advice for any trainees?

Immerse yourself in every opportunity provided within your school and training, use every part of your feedback to improve and develop. There is so much support from the schools and SCITT team and I would advise you to use this support to overcome any challenges. Enjoy every moment of your training as it goes so fast and you will make so many valuable memories and learning experience which you can take forward with you into your future teaching career.