career decisions / Education

My first term teaching: Kwaku’s first term roundup…

In the first few days, it was a surreal experience being back within school halls, seeing students milling around, being referred to as “Sir”, and meeting my new colleagues.

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting. I remember an initial feeling of elation after being assigned to my school, then a wave of doubt thinking “Oh no, what if the kids are terribly behaved and they don’t like me?” But I came out of my very first year 7 lesson breathing a massive sigh of relief – the lesson went much better than I thought it would! Then the next lesson came around, and again, not too bad. Now a whole term has passed and I’m still standing; exhausted but alive and engaged!

As expected, the challenges (and highlights!) of my first term revolved around my students. My biggest worry going into school was behaviour management: what if they don’t like me? What do I do if they don’t listen to me? This was running through my head through INSET days until the start of school. But I realised, as all trainees do, that most students aren’t as badly behaved as you think.

‘I came out of my first year 7 lesson breathing a massive sigh of relief – the lesson went much better than I thought it would!’

The most significant realisation I had though was that their behaviour was mostly dependent on how prepared I was for my lessons, which was very humbling. I also noticed that the students’ behaviour depended on their relationship with you, and the more time you spend with the kids, the easier behaviour management gets. When you’re starting out, just know that almost everyone struggles with behaviour management in the beginning; concentrate on building relationships with your students and the rest will follow.

Lesson by lesson, I develop too. In lesson planning, behaviour management and organisation I am becoming more and more proficient at the skills needed to teach. I am really looking forward to seeing the hard work pay off in my students’ achievements.

My advice for 2022 trainees? Don’t expect to be an amazing teacher straight away. Besides, the improvement you’ll see in yourself every day is far more satisfying.

The programme has taught me to take one piece of feedback to improve on each week and work on that until it has been achieved. This helps you to focus on what is important and prevents the amount of information you’re learning from becoming overwhelming.

Most importantly, just enjoy the process! I now happily wake up every day for work and find myself staying behind late into the day either working on my lesson plans or helping students out after school. This is with no regret, because in the end, the work you are doing is meaningful and directly impacts the future of the kids in your responsibility, and let me tell you, that’s one of the best feelings in the world.’

Kwaku Twumasi-Adutwum graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nottingham in 2019. If you are interested in hearing more or want to apply to Ark Teacher Training please visit their website.   

‘While teaching is an incredibly rewarding and exciting career path, it’s also a jam-packed experience that keeps trainees very busy. To avoid feeling stressed and burnt out, we support our trainees to prioritise their wellbeing throughout their teaching training journey. The wellbeing support integrated into each trainee’s year is based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.’  We strive to improve wellbeing in the workplace and our trainees’ daily lives through these informed methods and strategies. We are proud to say that 99% of trainees feel the Ark Teacher Training team supports their wellbeing.‘

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