Another week, another amazing Sheffield-based trainee teacher! We spoke with one of Sheffield South East Learning Partnership’s (SSELP) trainee teachers, Beth Taylor, who has secured herself a fantastic teaching position. Beth, who initially studied Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, has been working with SSELP during the last year to gain Early Years and Primary Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). We spoke with Beth to find out how she has been getting on.

Q. Why did you decide to train to teach?

“I knew teaching was exactly what I was supposed to do in my life; I volunteered in a local school during my time at university and I loved every second. A lot of my family are teachers too, so I knew how much hard work it would involve. This clearly did not deter me!”

Q. Why did you choose SSELP as opposed to any other providers? 

“SSELP have a passion for improving education standards and enhancing the life chances of every child. This fits with my own ethos. I know a lot of schools and providers feel the same but I have seen it in action every second at SSELP schools.”

Q. What was the application process like with SSELP when applying to be a trainee teacher?

“It was quite a process but it was fairly straightforward. Ensure you have all your certificates and ask for help from UCAS and Train To Teach – they can provide free and tailored support for the entire process.”

Q. Can you talk us through the support you’ve received from SSELP?

“The leader of the course is fantastic, she is in touch at every stage and there with support if you need it. She inspired me with her passion through a Get Into Teaching event and I have been on board with SSELP ever since. SSELP have supported me with knowledge, CPD and support when the course has been quite challenging. I’ve felt welcomed at every school and training event. I could not recommend them enough and can confidently say I could email anyone in any SSELP school and they would all be glad to help me with anything I needed.”

Q. What did you imagine it would be like to be a trainee teacher and has it lived up to those expectations?

“It has been even more intense than I initially thought but it has been worth every second. It’s an amazing experience and you learn so much at a very fast pace. It has lived up to it’s name as being the hardest course to do but I love every moment I am with the pupils and would strongly recommend a School Direct course for more on the job training.”

Q. Take us back to that first day when you had to take a class yourself. What was it like and how were you feeling?

“What a daunting experience! On that first day, when you meet all the children, the realisation that you will be their teacher for that year in a few weeks is ridiculously overwhelming. But stick with it! You’ll look forward to every day soon enough, and mentors are always there with support. You’re not alone!”

Q. What has it been like training to be a teacher throughout the pandemic?

“Again, very daunting. You have to learn to be a teacher alongside brand new skills of teaching online. Watching progress slow through children and parents not engaging can be very difficult. However, every single teacher is going through the exact same thing and it has brought the schools together even more so. Everyone shares any tricks or tips with technology that they have found, and we learn more every day about how to make online learning more engaging. I have skills that no trainee before me has had to develop, so it is important to take the positives with you. If you can train to teach during a pandemic, you can do anything.”

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about where you have been doing your school placements?

“My first placement was at Norfolk Community Primary School. The school is phenomenal and very supportive. They are passionate about improving the life chances of each child they teach. My second placement was at St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School. This school is amazing and have improved not only the lives of their pupils, but all those in the community around them. The staff are welcoming and supportive; the SLT are incredible and are always available to support staff.”

Q. What are you most looking forward to about having your first job as a teacher?

“Getting to know my new class and providing them with the best possible teaching I am capable of doing. I have been very fortunate to secure a job with Norfolk Community Primary School, my first placement school, in FS2. I cannot wait for September!”

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to say about SSELP?

“SSELP have been incredible from start to finish and I am so glad I have the opportunity to train with them.”

Q. Is there anything else you’d want to say to anyone thinking about training to be a teacher?

“GO FOR IT!!!!”

We totally agree with Beth! If you’re ready to go for it, check out our Get into teaching page which will talk you through the next steps.

Thank you Beth for taking the time to talk to us here at the South Yorkshire Teaching Hub, we know you’ll be an asset to Norfolk Community Primary School!