In your ITT year you will meet at lot of fantastic teachers, you mentor will have years in the classroom under their belt. You will see that fantastic RQT that strides in and out of the staffroom, taking everything in their stride, setting up clubs and running sessions every night after school. You will sit there in awe looking at them, talking to SLT and middle leaders as if they have been teaching as long as they have. Their enthusiasm will be never ending, they will seem not to stop and love every moment of it.
Or, you will have a head of department who came into teaching at the same point in their life as you have yours. Who will have a warm and infectious laugh, who will pop in on your lessons and check that you are ok. Or will cover for you for 10 minutes while you pop and get some resources you left downstairs. They do not bat an eye lid, while you are worrying that everyone can see you have only been doing this for months. This head of department is the same person who is your cheer leader and has every faith that you will be a fantastic teacher and laugh when you share your fears and say that they had the same too. Your mentor will mention, in an off hand comment, that they love teaching as they “know who I am when I am in my classroom” that comment will hit you so hard that you scrawl it in permanent marker on your bookcase so you see it every morning when you are getting ready for the day.
If the match is right, you will become the biggest fan of your mentor. They will spend time with you. Not all they say will be easy to hear, but you will learn to value that critical eye as that is what makes you great. That is what teaches you to be reflective and take ownership for your actions. Taking ownership for your pedagogy and how you approach your lessons is so important as you are learning that you are directly affecting the young people you see every day.
There may be a teacher who had a reputation that you have heard of before you even meet them. They will be “famous” amongst trainees for their drive and motivation, but also for the way they look, and they will prove to you that looks can be deceiving. They will be the most approachable person you will ever meet. They will actively show an interest in your training and look over your shoulder to offer advice on your lessons, even though your subject is opposite to yours. You will value that time that other teachers give you. You will quickly learn that time, as a teacher, is the most valuable thing you will ever have, and to have spare time to help another is amazing.
You will start to miss the kids you teach. There will be that cheeky boy in year 7, who knows’ he is being a bit cheeky with you, but he is harmless, and after some gentle goading, he does engage. All he wants is to make you laugh. Or there will be the twins in your Monday morning class, who don’t look anything like each other, but they sometimes catch you unaware and you address them by the wrong name and you get a knowing look and an eye roll. There will be year 11 boys who will appear as if by magic when you need a box of heavy books carrying to another classroom. Or the year 7 boy who needs to be reminded to be quiet to give himself time to think, or just everyone else a break from his constant running commentary.
Your world will become so much bigger. The people you meet will help you with your knowledge and help you shape the type of teacher you will be. Through them, you will feel like you have been given the key to a place that only a special kind of person is permitted entrance to. Granted, this place has some dark places and times you feel like you are hitting you head against a brick wall. The work will never feel like it has been finished, you will become a perfectionist. But the people in this weird teacher-secret-garden will be so excited to have you there. They will lift you up and carry you on their shoulders. They will make you excited to have the opportunity to be someone else’s cheerleader.
The people you meet while teaching, will change you. The people you meet while teaching will help you become the better you. The teacher you.