When I was at school, I had always wanted to be a History teacher but, unfortunately, was initially unable to complete my degree. After bouncing around unsatisfying jobs for several years, I discovered a vacancy as a cover supervisor advertised at a local school. Once I was in the classroom, I knew that being a teacher was what I should have been doing for all these years, so I went back to university to finish my degree, which fitted around working. I moved schools as a cover supervisor to work at a United Learning school, Northampton Academy. As much as I loved my previous job, the difference was night and day. After a year as a cover supervisor here, the school agreed to put me on the United Teaching course, and I haven't looked back since.
I chose United Teaching because I was already in a United Learning school, and I knew that the systems and support in place would arm me with what I needed to succeed.
The training experience was essentially painless! Of course, there is a degree of stress when trying to achieve anything worth having. However, the course was thorough, and the quality of support was exceptional. At no point did I feel unsupported or out of my depth. Everyone has their 'moment', known in our office as 'the breakdown', where you stare at your page and tell the world you can't do it. I was adamant I wouldn't have this moment, but it snuck up on me right in the final term. It was not only unavoidable but massively beneficial. The support I received from United Teaching and my colleagues was instant and brilliant. Don't be fooled that it will be a cakewalk from start to finish, but when you achieve what you set out to achieve, it makes the whole process so worthwhile.
I am currently Assistant Head of History, and I teach all year groups from Year 7 to Year 13, leading on A Level coursework. United Teaching armed me with everything I needed to hit the ground running.
My advice to potential trainees would be that, in all honesty, the vast majority of the year is straightforward as long as you aren't scared of hard work. My advice would be that when you face difficulties, you identify them and make them known straight away because the support you will receive will be everything you need.
You can never prepare yourself for how much the students matter to you. I can be doing something completely unrelated at the weekends or evenings, and I think 'He would find that hilarious' or 'She would be so interested in that'. Having a job in an organisation that lets you build those kinds of relationships is the best bit. Most days are brilliant, and some are stressful, but all days make you feel like you've added something to students' lives.