"It's ok not to be perfect. I set high expectations for myself but sometimes things go wrong and that’s ok, we learn so much more from lessons that don’t go to plan than those lessons that go really well."
Hayley Savage NQT teacher 2020
Hayley has recently completed her teacher training with The Sheffield SCITT and talks us through her experience. Hayley decided to change from a career in banking and train to become a teacher. Oh yeah, she also has three young children... yes, it is fair to say that this women is remarkable!
Have you secured a job for next year, if so where and what is your role?
Yes, I have secured a job at St. Wilfrid’s Primary School in Year 2
What are your future goals and ambitions within the teaching profession?
My ambition is to become a curriculum lead in PE (my passion having had a very sporting childhood) encouraging participation in sports for all and inter school competitions etc.
If you are thinking of training to teach take the leap and DO IT! I gave up a career in banking but it is the best decision I ever made, it is hard, it is tiring but it is so rewarding, and so worth it.
How did you find your training year with The Sheffield SCITT?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my training year. It has been challenging at times but so rewarding.
Any highlights from the year?
The main highlights for me have been the rapport that you are able to build with the students because you are in school from day one so you really get to know them and also being able to see how the children have developed and grown over the year.
Did you feel well supported throughout the training?
I felt extremely well supported by my lead mentor and the Teaching Alliance as a whole if I had any wobbles (which happens) they were always there to lift me back up and support my development.
Would you recommend training to teach with The Sheffield SCITT to others?
I would 100% recommend training with The Sheffield SCITT. The fact that you are in school for the whole of the academic year really gives you an insight into the wider workings of a school something that I don’t think you would necessarily get when completing short placement blocks. You are also able to really feel like part of the team, developing strong professional relationships with all colleagues. I know that if I ever have any concerns or questions about anything I would be able to call anyone from my home school and they would happily offer any advice or guidance.
What was the hardest part of your training? What helped you overcome this?
I have 3 children so juggling the course, workload, and school runs has been challenging at times but if you have a good support network around you, you can overcome any challenges thrown in your way.
What have learnt about yourself during your training?
It's ok not to be perfect. I set high expectations for myself but sometimes things go wrong and that’s ok, we learn so much more from lessons that don’t go to plan than those lessons that go really well.
What would a typical day of your training entail?
A typical day would entail arriving at school for 8am to prepare for the day, setting the classroom up, ensuring resources were in place, attending the morning briefing and then welcoming the children into the class, I would then generally teach all morning up until lunch time then my afternoons would be spent observing either my mentor or other members of staff, attending hub sessions or planning work, I would generally leave school between 4-4:30 depending on marking to be completed for staff meetings.
How did the SCITT help to prepare you for life as a teacher?
I feel completing the SCITT course really prepared me for life as a teacher because we were in school the whole time so you are able to see how to manage a classroom budget, attend trips, contribute to parents evenings, assess children progress through the year etc. I don’t feel I would have had the wider opportunities had I not completed the course with the SCITT.
How would you compare your first week of placement to your last?
My first week of placement was really nerve-racking you don’t really know what to expect but the mentors are fabulous and make you feel at ease they offer so much support that your nerves quickly turn into enthusiasm to get stuck in. My last week of placement was highly emotional I felt genuinely sad to be leaving I felt like the children were my children and was so upset to be leaving them, watching them grow over the year has been so rewarding, I left that class feeling confident in my abilities as a teacher.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started?
Everyone says its not going to be easy, but I don’t think you actually realise until you start how emotionally draining it can be at times you have so many highs and lows. I don’t regret any of it though and that emotional rollercoaster really does help you to grow and develop as a teacher, even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
During the training were you given any constructive criticism? Did you find it helped?
Yes, the nature of the course means that you are observed teaching on a weekly basis and in with that of course there is constructive criticism, this is given not to demoralise you but to help you grow and develop. No lesson is perfect and being able to identify areas that you could have done differently only helps to make you a better teacher, the key is to learn from it and act on any feedback you receive only then can you become a great teacher.
How did you find the balance between training and home life?
Very difficult at time as mentioned above I have 3 young children at home so juggling them with the workload of the course is difficult but if you are organised and have a strong support network around you it makes it so much easier. As with everything there are moments when you think why did I do this, but the benefits to not only me but my family as well have outweighed those difficult times 100 times over.
What helped you to stay organized and on top of your work?
I am generally a very organised person anyway but simple things like creating a to-do list (even if you never actually get to the end of it), buy a diary write all important assessment dates meetings etc in it, don’t leave planning to the last minute when you first start planning it takes so much longer than you could ever imagine so start it straight away and use the PPA time you are given, Speak to your mentor if you are struggling they are experienced and know what they’re doing they are there to help you, if you feel you can’t manage your workload speak to them. Arrive early at school to be prepared for the day there is nothing worse than rushing to get resources ready when the children are entering the class.
Final piece of advice for any trainees?
If you are thinking of training to teach take the leap and DO IT! I gave up a career in banking but it is the best decision I ever made, it is hard, it is tiring but it is so rewarding, and so worth it. I am so glad I took the leap and so glad that I chose to train through LUTSA as part of The Sheffield SCITT.