'We crave the practical skills'

7th May 2004 at 01:00
Bill Richards, 42 (right) St Bede's independent school, Sussex.

Graduate Teacher Programme student at Brighton University My wife is a teacher at an independent school and our children are aged eight and nine. They had these nice long holidays and I didn't. I was also getting bored with my work in the IT industry. Compared with industry, teaching is a very hard job indeed, you have to put in an awful lot of work. It's incredibly varied, no day is the same.

Most other students are surprised at the amount of contact time I have: I'm expected to take an active part in the school and that includes being a tutor, doing duties, taking activities.

Brighton University has a system where you can observe other students - peer observation. It's been the most valuable part of the course.

Perhaps the theoretical part of GTPPGCE should wait until people have been in the job for a couple of years. What we students crave are the practical skills and you don't get those by listening to people talk about them.

There is a case for teachers revisiting these issues. It could be a requirement for going through the threshold.

Unless the school has a programme of activities that enable children to excel outside the classroom, those less academic will switch off entirely.

This is where teacher contracts start putting a stop to things: most state school teachers seem unwilling to do out-of-teaching activities.

The relationship I have with my classes is the one that I imagined I would have when I began my training. I expected it to be hard at the start, and it was. I expected to make mistakes, and I did. I expected it to get better, and it has.

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