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Scholars share their achievements and advice at Scholar to Scholar event

Last month, Future Teaching Scholars hosted its first Scholar to Scholar event of the year which was hosted virtually.

The Scholar to Scholar events provide the opportunity for Scholars in their ITT and ECT years to share their experiences in the classroom, as well as consider new approaches, advice and teaching tips from fellow Scholars.

In this session, two of our Scholars, Yasmin (Year 4, ITT year) and Kieran (Year 5, ECT), led the discussion on topics including organisation and time management, confidence in the classroom, personal wellbeing, and biggest achievements in the academic year so far.

For Yasmin, her biggest achievement was leading a Year 9 class trip in celebration of International Women in Science Day, where her class visited a university campus and was inspired by talks about empowering women in science careers.

Kieran had been responsible for co-ordinating the Explorers Programme, which provides local Year 6 students with a taster of secondary school life – liaising with five other schools in the area to ensure the success of this programme.

When it comes to organisation, our Scholars took two different approaches – Yasmin preferring to use a physical diary planner, and Kieran opting to use digital planning resources such as Google Tasks. Kieran also gave some advice about taking advantage of “dead time” for admin tasks, as it is time that you would otherwise not be doing anything else with, such as being on public transport.

But both our Scholars agreed that ready-made resources were a great time-saver. With so many resources available online including past paper questions, our Scholars can utilise more of their time elsewhere. “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” Kieran commented, which was a sentiment also echoed by some of our Scholars in attendance: “Don’t make the work harder than it needs to be for yourself.”

When asked what the best piece of advice our Scholars had received about confidence in the classroom, Yasmin said: “It’s okay not to know everything.” A student asking an unexpected question that you may not know the answer to off the top of your head can affect your confidence – but don’t shy away from it. Engagement from students is key, and their questions can always be answered later once you have had time to consider it.

Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial as a teacher to ensure that you can sufficiently recharge ready for the next day of teaching. During the session, we heard different opinions and strategies about when (and when not) to do work during free time – and this was summed up by one of our Scholars in attendance.

“You have to think about what works for you,” mentioned Jaden. Whilst advice can be helpful, not everything will be compatible with your teaching, planning and working styles.

The session concluded with some remarks about the usefulness of the Future Teaching Scholars programme in its preparation for the ITT year. Our Scholars agreed that ITT teachers from other routes seemed more out of their depth initially, having not received the same level of in-classroom experiences prior to September.

We have once again enjoyed hearing from our Scholars about their experiences and successes so far this year, and look forward to our next Scholar to Scholar event which will be held in the Summer term.