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Scholars reflect on their experiences at virtual Scholar to Scholar event

This month, Future Teaching Scholars hosted its biannual Scholar to Scholar event virtually. The Scholar to Scholar events provide an opportunity for those who have just started their Initial Teacher Training (ITT) year to hear directly from some of our Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) Scholars about their experiences in the classroom.

During this session three of our NQT Scholars, Beth Robinson (Year 5), Tia Arnold (Year 5) and Ben Marsh (Year 6), led discussions around their successes from the first half-term, behaviour management, working with SEND students and building professional networks.

Beth began by talking about one of her recent successes, which was observing a breakthrough with one of her students. “I feel like the biggest achievements are those small wins,” said Beth, a sentiment which became a recurring theme throughout the event.

“Showing [students] that you’re human has helped, too,” Beth continued, speaking about forming positive learning relationships with classes. “They need to know that you care before they’ll engage with the lesson and with you. That’s one thing I have found out this year especially.”

On preparing for class with students with SEND attending, Tia discussed how removing barriers has had a significant effect on their approach to learning. “I find what helps a lot is using whiteboards. A lot of SEN students are too scared to make mistakes – and when it’s in their book, to them it’s permanent.”

Tia continued, “If it’s on the whiteboard first, they have the confidence to show me their work without it being permanent in their books and we can talk through any errors.”

Ben provided our ITT Scholars with some pertinent advice regarding ways to keep informed about the progress of particular students. “In your ITT year you’re not on full teaching capacity,” Ben explained. “So you could use those hours to go and see a student in a particular lesson and observe what strategies that other teacher uses to help that student make progress. Because it can really inform how you teach that student in particular.”

The speakers also revealed which professional networks they had joined since becoming teachers, which included:

  • The PTI, which provides subject focused CPD events and courses
  • Maths Working Group
  • Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM)
  • Chartered College of Teaching
  • AMSP, which provides training and resources for teaching A-level.

The session ended with each speaker sharing the most useful piece of advice that they have received from a colleague.

“It’s better to consistently plan good lessons than to inconsistently plan outstanding lessons,” Beth shared with the Scholars.

“Think about what you want the students to learn,” said Ben. “If you’re not testing arithmetic, give them a calculator. Home in on what skill you want the students to be tested on.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other teachers,” Tia mentioned as the most useful piece of advice she had received. “It took me a long time to take that advice,” continued Tia, “but it is definitely beneficial going to any teacher and asking for help – about students, lessons, or your wellbeing.”

We are looking forward to seeing our Scholars virtually at the ITT and NQT National Conference in December, and we will be hosting another Scholar to Scholar event in the spring term.