Train to Teach
We are currently recruiting case study teachers and trainee teachers to support the Get into Teaching teacher recruitment campaign.
Please click here to see Teacher Training Programme.
We know that potential candidates are interested in hearing directly from existing teachers and recent trainees about their experiences of teacher training, the application system and life inside today’s classrooms.
We would like to share inspirational stories via our website and social media channels. Please email your response with an accompanying head and shoulders photograph.
Previously Art Director for film and TV
Name: Laura Hiscoke
Degree studied/year gained and classification:
BA (Hons) Theatre Design - 2008 - 2:1
School/Institution providing ITT: Schools Direct – Longwood Primary Academy (NET) in collaboration with FIPC
Why did you decide to become a teacher? What inspired you?
I had taken a gap/volunteer year in 2014 to Fiji where I was placed in a rural village with a district school. I spent 8 months across all years, assisting with English and Art classes mainly, and loved the sense of community and achievement seeing deprived children succeed.
What makes NET a good place to live and work?
This school has a wonderful and unique approach to teaching, in that we have an extensive and collaborative curriculum which listens to its teachers and children. It offers as much opportunity as possible for children to fall in love with learning. Planning, teaching and CPD opportunities are shared which means you have a solid support network with regular feedback. Observations are not scary as they are happening constantly, and advice and tips are shared freely and widely.
We also focus heavily on the children’s mental health and wellbeing which means we are equally driven by social and emotional success, as well as the academic.
What are the benefits of teaching in NET?
We have subject leads across English, maths, humanities, art and PE. We have a weekly CPD opportunity, which is sometimes school-led, and sometimes Key Stage appropriate so we would share those with the other schools in our academy, giving the chance to share ideas and notes. PPA is also shared so we can draw the experience of others and chunk tasks down to make sure we are using every moment as effectively as possible. We also have fortnightly TLT (Teaching and Learning Together) where SLT will drop in to a lesson informally and offer one or two tips to try.
Can you give us an overview of the training/ how did your training prepare you for teaching?
The training experience was intense alongside being a full-time teacher, but I found that I understood all the ‘teacher talk’ at college as I was exposed to it during my day-to-day at work. I was able to take ideas away from the many experts and lecturers and use them immediately. Some of these ideas are still part of my kit today.
Did you receive financial support while you trained as a teacher / if so how did this support help?
As I graduated from my original degree in 2009 and had been in full time employment since that date, I was entitled to a salaried position at Longwood. Although this was a significant drop in salary, I had prepared myself enough the previous year that I didn’t struggle financially.
What has been your career progression to date/what opportunities are available in NET as a teacher?
I am about to complete my NQT year and have been offered the position of Phonics Lead/KS1 Lead for this September. I have been offered extensive training for RWInc and lots of other CPD opportunities.
How does your school support (your) career progression?
The Headteacher and SLT at Longwood are very supportive and encouraging of others’ success and are inclusive and open with plans for the schools progress. My mentor is now the Deputy Headteacher and still checks in with me at least weekly. She also checks books, is part of the TLT team and gives me informal and formal feedback to continue my development.
Can you describe the process of applying for teacher training/was it easy/do you have any tips?
I found the process extremely easy. I searched for schools in my local area (Hainault) which is where I stumbled across FIPC. I rang up and was invited to an informal group meeting where people were at very different levels of the process. With Helen’s help, she matched me with Longwood and I went along for an afternoon session where I sat with a year 4 class (and my current mentor was the class teacher) and I worked alongside a small group for the afternoon. I was invited back a few times and made an instant positive relationship with the school and the staff. Once it was established that I would be a good fit for Longwood, I completed my UCAS and the other necessary paperwork/skills tests/DBS etc.
What was the most important thing that you gained or learned from teacher training?
The importance of behaviour management is so vital and you have no idea how valuable it is until you are in a room of small children! The lectures BM were so eye-opening and helpful and I use a lot of the tricks that were shared. I also learned to not compare myself to others. Some trainees knew their craft from the first day and seemed so in control which made me feel inadequate, but the course is so varied that it wasn’t long until I felt like I found parts that played to my strengths. I learned that flexibility is really the most useful skill a teacher can have. Each day is different, and being prepared is vital, but if you can’t adjust a lesson on the back foot because your LSA is away, or you suddenly don’t have access to your PowerPoint, everything will fall apart!
What is it you like most about being a teacher?
I love when the children can’t wait to get into the classroom! I have parents and children who tell me that school is their favourite thing which gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I love when a child is able to recall something we learned half a term ago and use it in their writing or debate. I love when a child who has been withdrawn or conflicted is able to participate and show some pride in their work. I love learning about each child’s likes so I can use them in the lessons and their faces light up because they feel acknowledged.
How has training to be a teacher changed you as a person?
I am better organised than I used to be, although it is still a struggle to do all the admin parts as well as plan and deliver and mark quality lessons. I am more patient and I am learning to be calmer in situations, as children mirror the language and behaviour they encounter.