Corinne Goldberg gained her QTS with e-Qualitas earlier this year, having enrolled via the Teaching Apprenticeship Programme.
Having now begun her first year as an ECT, at the Primary School she was primarily employed in for the ITT year, Corrine looks back at the year to discuss the impact of her Second School Placement (SSP).
(e-Q) What did you most enjoy about your Second School Placement?
(CG )“I really enjoyed working in an age group which was not familiar to me having worked in year 6 for so long. I enjoyed the relationships I was able to make with younger children and also practising more of the strategies learnt in training which were more suited to children learning new skills earlier in their education. I have worked in my first placement for a long time and was nervous travelling to a new school but everyone made me feel welcome and this was one of the best parts of the placement – bringing myself out of my comfort zone and gaining experience and advice from new professionals.”
How did it develop your practice or deepen your knowledge?
“My second placement allowed me to take ownership with more planning including planning long term learning sequences for topics such as Art and History. I was provided with schemes but given freedom to adjust and adapt based on what I knew about the children and what I thought would allow them to learn more and remember more.
I also gained experience using manipulatives and resources more in maths with a younger age group learning new skills. In my first placement I did not do this as much and it allowed me to practice some of the skills and strategies I had seen in training.”
What would be your 3 pearls of wisdom to give to trainees going on their Second School Placement this year?
“The first would be to have your lunch in the staff room! Some of the conversations I had were refreshing and it was really nice to hear from teachers enjoying their job and also get to know them on a more personable level.
Secondly, plan your time in advance – ensure you have enough time to get to know the children and the schemes used but ensure you have enough time to take more responsibility and plan the way you like to teach. The time goes very quickly and I wanted to get as much out of the experience as I can
Finally, take all your planning home. I left most of mine on their systems and wish I had some of it to look back on and direct my planning now.”
How did you prepare for SSP and how did this help with the transition from your main school to SSP school?
I visited my SSP who were prompt in giving me any information I might need. I also met with my mentor who sent me all of her log ins and things that I might need to get ahead of myself if I wanted to during the holidays.
What were you most apprehensive about?
“I was nervous walking into a new school having been at my current school for so long but very quickly settled having made an effort to get to know staff and children.”
If you could do your placement again would you do anything differently?
“I might have tried to spend a little more time in year 6 there, a year group that I am familiar with in my school and now working in as an ECT. Sharing practice and knowledge is so important and when you have your own class there is very little time to do this.”
How did eQ support you while on placement?
“Shanti was always available for questions and quick to respond to any queries I had. I think the time spent talking with mentors at the beginning and the training that was offered meant that tutors and mentors knew each other and could discuss anything freely. Her visit was always enjoyed and while discussing the things that went well she was able to advise next steps in my remaining time at the school to ensure my time there was well-spent.”
How did your placement school support you whilst on placement?
“My lead placement mentor was able to have release time to observe alongside Shanti and my second placement mentor which meant there was always clear communication and consistent reflection on what was going well and where we needed to focus my time.
How did SSP help you to develop across the 11 curriculum areas?
It particularly helped me with my planning and having to do this more independently. My home school was always a partnership between me and my mentor and we did everything together but my SSP allowed me to become a more independent learner and try things that I hadn’t been able to do to this point.
When teaching in SSP what new pedagogical approaches did you develop?
I had to slow a lot of my teaching and used more manipulatives and concrete resources to model to the children the best way to approach problems. I had to be able to adapt my teaching more, without TA support in my class, this was valuable during my SSP.
How did it deepen your knowledge of how children learn?
The I do, we do, you do approach was key in my teaching here and recognising that the children need to have problem solving modelled to them in order for them to learn. With the younger children this was more evident.
How did your substantive and disciplinary knowledge expand whilst on SSP?
Taking full responsibility for Art and History planning really allowed me to deepen my substantive and disciplinary knowledge alongside support from a scheme but also having the confidence to try things my way. I would definitely recommend leading and planning a subject which you may not have done at your lead school to expose yourself to things you are not as comfortable teaching.
What new opportunities did you have whilst on placement? (opportunities to teach other subjects for example)
I observed more external teachers at this placement which was beneficial such as MFL and music. As discussed before my planning was also supported by schemes which further supported me.
How did SSP support you in learning your craft from other professionals?
Observing, quietly taking notes and magpieing all the ideas that I loved to go back and share with my mentor. I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel the process would be good at any stage in your teaching career!
We wish Corinne and all the 2022/23 Alumni all the very best for their ECT year and beyond!
Visit our Teaching Apprenticeship Programme page to learn more about employment-based teacher training with e-Qualitas.