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Every Lesson Shapes a Life

We’re sure you’ll have seen the Get Into Teaching campaign from the Department for Education, a couple of months back . The video follows the journey of school pupil Abbie, starting as a young girl and stretching all the way through to when she’s moving into adulthood. The story is simple yet powerful, giving honest and realistic insight into how children grow up with teachers.

Rather than focusing entirely on achievements and smiles, the video also includes tears and low points, yet maintains an uplifting and inspirational feel throughout. Even the fleeting detention scene bears a positive message, with the teacher saying that he doesn’t want to see Abbie and her friend there again as they’re “better than this”.

Presenting excellent attention to creative detail, numerous backdrops and actions are repeated over the years, including Abbie’s walk to school, moving through corridors, and even close-ups of her feet during lessons and exams, giving a hint of how she’s feeling during certain tasks.

Filled with language that triggers confidence in children, such as “we’re getting there” and “well done”, there are also multiple questions asked by the teachers to encourage curiosity, continual improvement and ownership: “Have you thought about trying it like this?” and “How would you define identity?” being prime examples.

Whilst Abbie is the protagonist, representing a child in today’s education system, the teachers have supporting roles in every sense, helping her to excel in her learning. This is the crux of the campaign, showing how teachers have the power to give every student the best start in life through proactive advice, dedicated support and a clear understanding of individual needs.

This campaign really is wonderful, as we get to see how Abbie develops her skills and grows as a person, all within a two-minute story. With motivational messages the likes of “this is going to be a challenge but you can do this” and “you can achieve whatever you want to in life”, it’s impossible for the heartstrings not to be tugged by each moment and milestone.

The tagline at the end is clear and heartening: “Every lesson shapes a life. Whose story will you inspire?” This is fortified by heaps of fantastic resources, events and support on the Get Into Teaching website, which give aspiring and trainee teachers everything they require to pursue a career as a leading educator.

How do you help to shape lives? Let us know on your social media channels by tagging in #BigPinkFish

When it Comes to Teaching, Age is Just a Number

Training to become a teacher through a SCITT is perfect for people of all ages, from recent graduates who have always known that they want to teach, to those in their forties, fifties and even sixties who are looking for a more fulfilling career.

It’s easy to think that people who are barely out of school themselves have the advantage due to being more familiar with modern trends, yet there are so many factors that work in favour of older generations and complement the role of an educator. Below are a few examples in case you’re worrying that your age will negatively affect your success in the world of teaching.

Life experience

The most obvious point is that the older you get, the more life experience you gain. From working in various jobs over the years and moving around (which is a great way to respond to new environments), to usually finding it easier to make friends and get along with a range of personality types, it’s amazing how life helps us to naturally adapt to unique circumstances.

Happier and more self-confident

As we get older, we tend to lose much of our negativity and stop constantly finding flaws in our own looks, behaviour and abilities. Simultaneously, we increase in self-control and look for more opportunities to help others, which in turn boosts self-esteem and makes us more capable of finding satisfaction in small wins as well as major accomplishments.

Brain plasticity

The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has been abandoned as poppycock. In fact, the brain continues to produce fresh neurons and is able to reshape its functionality according to the information it assimilates. This means that middle-aged people are often able to adapt to change even faster than their younger counterparts, as their grey matter is more accustomed to transforming in response to its environment.

What’s more, whilst younger people use only one side of their brain for specific tasks, age results in both hemispheres being able to tackle a problem together, which is called bilateralisation. The result is greater power of reasoning and enhanced problem-solving skills, which will certainly not go amiss in the classroom.

Prioritisation

Becoming a teacher further down the path of life means that you’ll most likely have ticked a lot of boxes on your to-do list. You’re probably married and have kids of your own, along with a mortgage, a comfortable financial situation and a fair few travels under your belt. You will of course still have goals and dreams, but they’ll be easier to incorporate into a hectic work schedule, therefore allowing you to focus on career development without worrying about juggling too many things at once.

Higher work satisfaction

Because you’ve either had a few jobs over the years or worked in another sector for as long as you can remember, moving to a vibrant, interesting and valuable new career will prove incredibly rewarding. It’s certainly not a case of being able to sit back and put your feet up, as teaching comes with its fair share of challenges and stress, but your role as a worldly-wise educator will make everything very worthwhile, not to mention a lot of fun.

Are you entering a career in teaching a little later in life? Let us know about your experiences through social media by tagging in #BigPinkFish

Why is the SCITT Route so Beneficial to Trainee Teachers?

School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, often referred to as SCITT, has been designed by top educators as a fantastic way to train as a teacher whilst in a real-life learning environment. Trainees come from all backgrounds, ranging from recent graduates to people in their 40s and 50s who are looking for a more fulfilling career.

But why are SCITTs so much more beneficial to trainees compared to other routes? Let’s a take a look at what’s involved.

You’re at the heart of the action

From day one, you’ll learn skills, gain knowledge and explore different perspectives that make a great teacher, all right there in the classroom. Whilst university-based courses teach solely the theory for a few months before presenting opportunities for first-hand experience, a SCITT trainee learns both theory and practical application from the very start.

Learn from the experts

Every single day, you’ll be face to face with not only top quality teachers, but also headteachers, the administrative team and other staff who help the school to run effectively. This even includes professionals who deal with the marketing and PR activity, the finance department, the caretakers and site managers, plus many other roles that are essential to the overall infrastructure, welfare and productivity on a day-to-day basis.

A natural progression

Some people see SCITT training as being thrown in at the deep end, but in reality, you’ll gain a wealth of expertise very quickly that will help you to ease into your future role. In fact, studying in a lecture theatre where there isn’t a child in sight and then suddenly visiting a school for a placement can be very daunting, so choosing the SCITT route is conducive to growing in confidence and familiarising yourself with how a school works over a longer period.

A mentor to guide you

Each SCITT trainee receives in-depth advice, support and guidance from a mentor. This is absolutely invaluable on so many levels, as it’s a tailored approach to training that also welcomes questions and responds to concerns and grievances. We guarantee that you’ll find having a mentor is extremely inspiring and helps to overcome misgivings quickly and easily.

The students

We believe that being around children is a crucial element of your training. No other format of teacher training presents this level of genuine insight into the vocation, which is why SCITTs are widely considered the most logical, efficient and results-driven option for aspiring educators. What’s more, you get to work with your students every day, which is the perfect way to discover your own unique way of engaging young people in a range of topics and learning styles.

What are your thoughts on training through a SCITT? Let us know on your social media channels by tagging in @TheBigPinkFish

The Role of a Mentor and the Importance of Having One

When starting any new career, it always helps to have a mentor to offer a guiding hand and expert advice. This couldn’t be more relevant in the teaching industry, as trainees learning through a SCITT are in an actual teaching environment from day one and require support throughout their course.

A mentor will always be an experienced teacher who is committed to support you every step of the way. Whilst the trainee is expected to show initiative and become competent in tasks and techniques naturally, your mentor is there to answer questions, help you to overcome obstacles, provide tips for improvement, and work with you to create a personal development plan that will lead to you becoming an educator of the highest calibre.

The term “mentor” is widely used, but you could also see them as a coach, a trainer, an assessor and, perhaps most importantly, a critical friend who observes, offers feedback and has your best interests at heart. Working with your mentor is a collaborative process and is great for your mental and emotional wellbeing, as they’ve been in your shoes and understand how daunting and challenging the training stage can be. Their mission is the same as yours, as they want you to successfully complete your SCITT training and enter a fulfilling career that will positively change the lives of countless children for years to come.

Though a mentor will answer questions, they’re not there to provide the ultimate answers. This is because every trainee teacher is unique, bringing with them particular types of skills, strengths, life experience, creative thinking and approaches to problem-solving, all of which add to the school’s evolution. It’s tempting to see your mentor as a guru, but to get the most from this professional relationship you should consider them a knowledgeable guide who is still open to learning new things. The key is to be open-minded and hungry for self-development, whilst confident enough to add your own thoughts, ideas and flair to the mix.

If you still have qualms, bear in mind that seasoned teachers don’t become mentors willy-nilly. First of all, they’ve chosen to take on this crucial role and set aside time to helping trainees. What’s more, they need to be good listeners, clear communicators, assertive whilst encouraging, sympathetic yet optimistic, and the type of person who is easy for a trainee to work with. Your mentor is there because they’ve dedicated themselves to becoming a role model for adults as well as children, so take advantage of this golden opportunity to really get stuck in and enhance your understanding of what the role of a teacher involves.

And of course, make sure to share any funny experiences with them and have a giggle now and then. Humour is a fantastic way to strengthen the working relationship and can do wonders for building mutual trust.

How does your mentor help you with your training? Let us know on social media by tagging in #BigPinkFish

Leicester Secondary SCITT

This project included a complete re-design of the Leicester Secondary SCITT brochure for the 2016-2017 recruitment window. Having designed the previous years brochure we were asked to update the design with new photos, new statistics and new information. The 12 page booklet features several images of past trainees alongside facts and figures about the teacher training provider. The brochure was designed to be bold, eye catching and easy to read. Information is broken down into easy to digest ‘snap-shots’ and text is kept to a minimum.

The colour scheme and styling is modern, vibrant and reflective of the Leicester Secondary SCITT brand.

Find out more at: leicestershiresecondaryscitt.org