Welcome to our new blog feature. We’re very excited to be following the journey of Jill an Early Career Teacher and her mentor Catherine. Both have generously agreed to share some of their Early Career Framework experiences with us.
Hi, my name is Jill Thompson. I completed my PGCE in general primary education this summer and thankfully was offered a part time job from September 2021 in a local primary school working with Early Years and Key Stage 1. So, now I’m an ECT!
I’m sure I’m not the only ECT who has spent a summer over-thinking and feeling nervous about this new chapter. Will the pupils like me? Will parents and staff like me? Am I ready?!! But in between the moments of self-doubt there is a lot to be excited about: seeing your name on the school website for the first time, the moment a pupil says, “Oh NOW I understand!” and a nice comment from a parent or a colleague.
We are now half a term in to being ECTs and thanks to the support of my mentor as well as the other staff at school I am feeling less nervous about this new chapter. I’m sure there will be challenges ahead, but it is worth it for those exciting moments.
My name is Catherine Reding and I am Jill’s mentor. Like Jill, I was both nervous and excited at the start of our work together. I want to make sure the balance is right: to be involved and helpful but allow Jill the space and autonomy to grow as a teacher; to give constructive criticism when needed but to do this in a positive and useful way, supporting Jill to flourish in her new profession.
Working with the new ECF programme has given myself and Jill plenty of food for thought so far, including thinking about how we can best apply the programme and our learning together within the context of our small rural primary school. For example, the notion of maximising children’s thinking and participation can be explored during Adventure Learning in our local woodland, and working on strategies for managing behaviour together with Jill became part of a class walk around our village. Some of the strategies and ideas are familiar to us, but some, like the Instructional Coaching model, are new. I can see that it will not just be Jill learning from this process – I also have the opportunity to improve my practice both as a mentor and a class teacher. This half term has presented some challenges and also plenty of highlights, for example seeing Jill’s confidence and experience grow in managing our mixed aged class and in planning and teaching an exciting topic on the Victorians. We are both looking forward to next half term and continuing to work and learn together.