If you told someone from my secondary school I would become a teacher, they would laugh out loud. I was not the best student at school, but I really enjoyed sports and the day-to-day environment. I went to the UK for a gap year after I completed school and coached rowing in Cambridge. After that I decided to go back to South Africa and study at university. My degree was in Business Management and Fashion Design.
Being at university really ignited my fascination with education and cognitive understanding. I started reading and researching over and above my dictated work and found I had a passion for how the human brain works. This interest developed over the years alongside my careers in the business world ranging from operations and marketing through to entrepreneurship and strategic planning.
Last year, I reached a point in my career where I could choose the next marketing career challenge or totally change direction. I had been mulling the idea of working in education or with young minds for years. It felt too daunting to make the change and I didn't take it too seriously until I stumbled across a teacher training website and down the rabbit hole I went.
I did my research and contacted a few training providers, my experience was that the process was not fluid and I spent far too much time chasing for information so my enthusiasm waned.
I came across the GUTP when I was looking into doing a school experience day at a well known secondary school in my area. From the get go, they were professional, helpful and knowledgable about the training process and experience.
The application and recruitment process was really straightforward and the team at the GUTP guided (and reminded) me through each step. They are mindful that many people on this journey are still working during this time or juggling other personal and professional commitments. The interview was thorough but also gave me a little insight into what they expected of me and what I was getting myself into.
Remember, an interview goes both ways. They are looking into you but you are also assessing whether this is the right place for you. Needless to say, I passed and am now about 5 weeks into my training. I am really enjoying it and I have no regrets. It's busy, I am learning so much and I am meeting some briliant collagues and fellow trainees. The GUTP team are still supporting and guiding us through the process and will be until we qualify and I have been assured this still will still apply long after if needed.
My tips for taking on teacher training: Do your homework on what is required and what is available to you in your area, sort your finances early and take things in your stride. This is a year of learning and evolving.
What a whirlwind of a 10 months that has been. I'm sure you all share the same sense of relief and elation that I do today to have achieved what we have. I can't believe how fast it has gone and how much has happened in that short amount of time. Our brains and bodies have been in overdrive but now we can say it has all been worth it because we have navigated the labyrinth of the PGCE and made it out of the woods to the finish line. If we had alcohol in our glasses I would say “let’s raise a glass to that”!
We're an interesting bunch to say the least! We've come from all different backgrounds, some of us are straight out of uni, some have tried our hats at a few different careers before deciding this is our calling, some have families and other people to care for, and boy, I do not know how you guys have managed because I've only just about been able to keep myself and a cat alive during this. But despite how different we all might seem, we do have one thing in common... We all decided it was our time to train to teach.
By now we have hopefully all mastered our teacher stares and best “erhhhm excuse me!” And I've lost count as to how many times I've been told “that slays” or “that's solid Miss”. I need to start a notebook to keep up with their slang!
This has been the story of us so far as teachers and although this is the finish line of the course and our time together as a complete cohort. It is also the starting point of our careers as teachers and now colleagues. Some of us are already going to be working alongside each other in our employing schools come July or September and I'm sure others of us will continue to cross paths in the future as we progress in our careers. I hope that we can continue to support each other throughout our careers and share tips, coping mechanisms and our successes! Long story short, teaching isn't for the faint hearted and a strong network and support system behind all of us is going to be imperative to not just survive but to thrive as teachers.
On those stressful days I want you all to remember why we all decided to start this. Why did you want to apply for this course in the first place and become a teacher? What motivates you to get up in the morning? What is your invisible string pulling you into teaching? For me I feel privileged that in DT subjects we often get to see a different side to some students, especially those who might be known by others for having poor behaviour. To have them come into my classroom and have a positive and engaging and enjoyable lesson means more to me than they'll ever realise and comprehend and that is why I'll show up to be the best I can be for them and to help them have the best day possible. I want them to leave behind their worries and feel confident and fearless to be able to learn, try new things and make mistakes in the classroom. No one is perfect the first time around and I want them to know that is OK.
We all have the potential to make a positive impact within the schools we work at and in the lives of the students we teach, and I'm confident we all will.
Let's remember to write down and keep hold of the positive moments we have and if we've had a bad day, just shake it off. Those positive moments will be the ones to keep us going. Strive to be the best version of yourself, and don't compare yourself too harshly with others.
Everyone in this room has been wonderful, kind and supportive to each other and I wish everyone so much good luck for the future as we now fly the GUTP nest. We are all superstars for making it here. Forever and always, be phenomenal.
I can’t wrap this up without some thank yous. On behalf of us all I want to acknowledge and thank all of the GUTP staff and everyone that is involved in making this course happen. Thank you to Kate, Assie and Claire in the office for keeping all of our admin in check and the behind the scenes running smoothly.
Thank you to all of our Subject leads and Mentors for all of your guidance and sharing your expertise and knowledge with us and for your constant support and advice to help us succeed.
And a big thank you to our directors Ann, Edwina, and Nathan, for running this show and for delivering the course and keeping us all on track with your support, academically and emotionally - sorry about the tears! We wouldn't be here at the end of this course now without all of you so a big tremendous thank you for everything.
So here's to great teachers, may we know them, may we be them and may we inspire the next generation of them.
From an early age I knew that I had the desire to teach and that my focus was going to be teaching English. As I approached the end of my degree in 2018, I decided I wanted to gain wider school experience first before I took the step into teacher training. As a result I began to work as a Teaching Assistant and over the next three years eventually became a cover supervisor. At this point I had realised that the profession was for me, and I began to research into different training providers. The GUTP instantly stood out from the other providers. The focus on the practical aspects of teaching with a more hands on style of training coinciding with the opportunity to observe experienced teachers and then gradually develop my skills before taking over the responsibilities seemed like the perfect decision.
The recruitment process was incredibly reassuring. Despite the pandemic restrictions I was able to be interviewed in person at the GUTP house located at Sponne School. All of the staff were incredibly welcoming and supportive throughout the entire process. During the recruitment process the GUTP gave me a clear understanding of the expectations of the course and explained both the QTS elements as well as the university related PGCE elements. Following the process I had a firm knowledge of the expectations the course would have of me. To fully ready yourself prior to the training process I would recommend gaining some experience within a school setting first, whether that be through a short work experience placement or work themselves. It will be a really good way of allowing yourself to get a first hand viewing of the responsibilities a teacher has.
When I arrived at my first training school my school-based tutor was faultless in their support of me, no question was left unanswered, no situation went unexplained, and all worries were calmed immediately. When the time came for my second placement, I felt a real readiness to push myself into a new situation and up my teaching hours. My second placement was just as supportive – my second school-based tutor allowed me to trial numerous styles of teaching and offered me tips and tweaks to hone my craft and decide what my style would be. At the end I felt I had a true understanding of the demands of a teacher and ready to begin my career with classes of my own. At both placements all staff were welcoming and supportive, there was a real sense of community and I felt accepted from the off and I feel like I have created bonds that will last a lifetime.
Overall I believe that the GUTP offers the perfect way to train to teach for those seeking a more hands on classroom-based training whilst also receiving the university based PGCE aspects. Everyone involved with the company from the office staff to the school-based tutors, to the subject leads, all the way to the directors were immensely helpful and supportive. I cannot stress how highly I recommend the GUTP.
(Jack is currently employed as an ECT at one of The GUTP partnership schools).
Teacher Blog Posts
- Jo, Business Studies Trainee, 2023-24
- Final thoughts of the year from Katy - ECT in Design Technology
- Jack Hillman - Current Early Career English Teacher
- Monika Wisniewska - Geography Associate Teacher 2022 - 23
- Charlie Cooper McDermott - Geography Associate Teacher 2022-23
- Ursula Watkins - History Associate Teacher 2021-22
- Tammy Roselman - English Associate Teacher 2021-22
- Chris Radford - Business Studies Associate Teacher 2021-22
- Wallis Scott - Geography Associate Teacher 2020 - 21
- Liam Hyland-Knight - MFL Associate Teacher 2020 - 21