Phil Hobbs SCITT trainee 2020/2021

I've found both host teachers and my mentor in particular very supportive in giving clear and positive feedback, and they've been willing to explain something again for me if I've needed it.

Phil Hobbs SCITT trainee 2020/2021

How has Covid-19 affected your training?
There are a few fairly obvious ways Covid-19 has affected my training such as the current (time of writing) lockdown involving pupils learning from home and the difficulties that brings with it. It was affected in school as well - for example teachers were not aloud to circulate in the classroom which has made learning classroom management and tracking pupil progress difficult. Other ways include things like not being able to get to know peers and other teachers in a social setting as our HUB days have been online.

 

How has the shift to online teaching been for you?
School has used Microsoft teams to run live lessons and sent most of the staff home. There's a lot more tracing pupils attainment data and following it up with messages and emails home! 

I've found the shift to online teaching positive overall. I've managed to think more clearly about how I am modelling new material and the pace at which I go through things as pupils are quick to comment "I don't get this" in the chat box. Cutting out a commute has been good too! 

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Make sure you take at least a whole day off each week as this leaves me refreshed and ready to go at it again afterwards. 

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Do you feel like your training is being supported throughout this pandemic?
Yes, definitely! I've found both host teachers and my mentor in particular very supportive in giving clear and positive feedback, and they've been willing to explain something again for me if I've needed it. For example I've had lots of chats giving me ideas of how to phrase things to parents and pupils. 

 

How are you finding the balance between teaching/training and home life?
At points this year it has been a tough balance - there is a lot of lesson planning to do. Then when you factor in meetings feeding back over your lessons or plans you've submitted, essays for the PGCE and giving feedback to pupils, you'll find that there is always something to get on with. I've still managed to enjoy things aside from teaching though which I'm pleased about.

 

What has been the hardest thing to adjust to? What has helped you overcome this?
I don't think I can pin down a hardest thing. One thing that is hard is consistently putting new learning points into practice. For example one week I may notice that my modelled examples were rushed and the questions poorly chosen, and I may make a conscious effort the next week to adjust this. However the weeks after it is tough to keep making those adjustments. Mentor feedback and having targets written out has helped.

 

What would a typical day entail for you during the current restrictions?
A typical day involves a bit of me checking my emails and responding to pupil questions before the school day. Then I'll often observe a few lessons and teach a lesson before following up on data from the lesson. Eg track how many pupils showed up to the teams call, how many have completed the task and whether they've completed it to an adequate standard etc. Then I'll reflect on my lesson and discuss it with the host teacher before starting to plan the next. 

 

Do you still feel as enthusiastic about teaching as you did when you started?
I have become more enthusiastic, if anything. I'm looking forward to having classes for a whole year and getting that opportunity to see pupils develop across a longer time frame. I've developed in lots of ways and am keen to see how I continue too in the future.

 

What have you learnt about yourself from your training so far?
I've learnt that I have much more to learn than I realised. Some topics seem to straightforward but it's only when you come to explain it, or come across a pupil's misconception that you realise how loose your grasp is. 

 

What would you say to someone that wants to start teacher training but is feeling disheartened due to the current restrictions?
I'd say it's fair enough and understandable to be reluctant to start teaching at the moment but that I've found it exciting and enjoyable even still. There are some aspects of teaching I've felt have been easier to focus on and develop due to the restrictions so in some ways there are positives to learn through. 

 

How are you finding your current training year with The Sheffield SCITT?
I am finding the training year fulfilling and challenging and am glad to be doing it with the SCITT. 

 

Do you have any advice for current and future trainees?
Make sure you take at least a whole day off each week as this leaves me refreshed and ready to go at it again afterwards.