Blog written by Joe Mayor (SCITT Cohort 2020/21)

Despite the unusual times we find ourselves in, it’s great to be back! In a week as unpredictable as it was challenging for teachers, there was one thing the Endeavour trainees could rely on… Chesterfield time: the weekly opportunity to reflect upon our experiences and discuss how we move forward!

The day started with discussion designed to alleviate any concerns we had as we tackle a third lockdown. Whilst there were nuanced differences in the concerns raised, most centred around how lockdown will affect our development, with most of us aware that we will now have significantly less time in the classroom by the time we complete our training. The outcome of these discussions were that, yes we would have less physical time spent in the classroom than previous trainees, however Endeavour would ensure that the quality of our training does not suffer, and we will emerge at the end of this as strong a teacher as we possibly can be. I find these discussions reveal the mentality of the cohort, we were discussing fears and concerns, yet the theme of the discussion would be characterised as ‘what can we do to make this work?’ and ultimately ‘how can we do better?’ It’s a way of thinking which seems to lend itself to certain professions.

Usually the Friday sessions are held at Tarleton Academy, however, due to the latest restrictions, this was our first Friday session conducted entirely online. So after we had discussed our concerns, we took a break, discussed each others’ interior design choices, and had a jolly good catch up. We were then given a resource, and asked to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks, ultimately identifying how useful we thought it could be. This was another promising discussion. Personally, when I saw the resource I thought it was fantastic, however other trainees pointed some of the drawbacks. After playing with the idea for a bit we were guided to the conclusion that no matter how good the resource being used is, the effectiveness of a resource comes down to how we choose to deploy it. So, think carefully about how to get the maximum impact from your resources. 

We finished the day by discussing how we could turn the situation into a positive. Recommendations included using our time effectively to focus on developing areas of weakness, enhancing our subject knowledge, and finding effective CPD. Having spent the first half of the year, ducking and diving from one classroom to another and limiting contact with other teachers (in order to control the virus, not because I’m anti-social) one benefit which I am starting to see now is that teaching is a team endeavour and a crucial part of teaching is understanding what you are contributing to the school and the children, identifying your strengths and putting yourself forward to use them.

I’m sure it’s not how most teachers and trainees planned to spend their first week back at work, but I was speaking to a teacher a couple of years ago about planning, and he said ‘It’s when things don’t go to plan that some of the best teaching takes place!’…