School Direct Journey
School Direct: Unsalaried Route into teaching
Teaching is a profession that I’ve always had a passion for, and my family and peers have always supported my interest in teaching as I have the qualities and experience to make an excellent teacher. My deep-rooted passion for teaching steamed from my desire to help young children, from all social and economic backgrounds, fulfill their potential both academically and personally. Although I pursued an alternative career path after my university studies, I decided that it was finally time to follow my passion and look into teacher training courses.
It wasn’t an easy decision but I thought if I didn’t do it then, then when. I left my role as a railway manager and became a TA which was the best choice for me, as I was able to gain experience of working within in a school, and working with children and that for me sealed the deal that I was definitely going down the right path. I applied for the School Direct Salaried route and had my interview however, as I had only 9 months experience as a TA it wasn’t enough to get a place on the course via that route, nevertheless the interviewers saw potential in me and instead offered me the route of School Direct Unsalaried.
Making the decision to take up this offer wasn’t easy as the thought of having to take out another student loan, and get a second job was very daunting, still I decided to take the offer as I wanted to gain hands on experience that only the School Direct route could offer me salaried or not. The course itself was great, with added professional studies workshops added by my school provider. I was able to not only gain knowledge from the university, but I was also able to have workshops with current teachers regarding behavioural management strategies, computing and phonics which are just a few to mention. These workshops alongside university lectures and seminars added to my experience.
I have honestly enjoyed my time as a School’s Direct student, and gained experiences that I would not have been able to have if I had gone down the provider led route. I had great support from the university and my university tutor. I also had an amazing school mentor who allowed me to take responsibility of the class, so parents and pupils saw me not as a student but as the class teacher which led me to gaining invaluable behavioural management strategies, not only that, I was able to inspire pupils and be hands on with plans and adapting them to suit my class.
9 months later and I passed my course as an ‘outstanding’ student, it wasn’t easy working in a school and working on the weekend, but I made it work, I stayed focused and dedicated to what I needed to do to become a teacher. One thing my lecturer told me on the first day of the course was that “the PGCE is done with me, not to me”, it didn’t make sense to me initially but it did once I had finished the course because everything they put in place is to help make you a teacher that can inspire and motivate pupils, as well as becoming a role model for them and an all-around amazing teacher. At the end of the course you will be so proud of your achievements and it makes it all worth it. I am starting my NQT year at the school I was placed in which gives me a head start!
From School Direct to Subject Lead
Since beginning my journey into teaching through School Direct, there have been many challenges and some really great highs - but each challenge has been worth it. After a very successful School Direct year, I secured an NQT position with St Mary's where I have now been for two years as a Y2 class teacher. Along the way, I have experienced fantastic training both internally and from specialists externally which has allowed me to continuously reflect on my practice and mold myself into the practitioner I am today. Within my 2nd year I have been given the opportunity to mentor 2019 School Direct Students which I have thrived off watching them develop and progress. Through the training offered St Mary's have made this journey seamless and allowed me to take on new challenges and progress in new directions.