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Tom Campbell - History Teacher

Tom Campbell - History Teacher

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Gary Frater
/ Categories: United Teaching Blog

February 2022

I’m originally from near Derby, and I went to the University of Birmingham, where I studied international relations for four years, including a year abroad in Alabama. I’ve now switched to teaching history, which fits quite nicely with my degree and my love of history, and so far, it’s going great!

When I graduated from university, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I ended up back working in hospitality for a year whilst I thought about the career I wanted to pursue. When I saw an opening for a trainee history teacher at Northampton Academy, I had a moment of inspiration. While not knowing what I wanted to do after university, I’ve always known that I wanted to go into a job where I felt I would have a sense of purpose and help people somehow. Teaching seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that. So, with this newfound desire to teach, coupled with my passion for history, I started to do some more research into the United Teaching programme.

The more I found out about it, the better the fit seemed for me. I’m the sort of person who prefers to be thrown straight into work and learns better on the job, and that’s the way it works with United Teaching. From the outset, you get your own classes, and you begin teaching straight away. I enjoyed the prospect of this responsibility as I knew it would push me to learn how to become a great teacher quickly, making it easier for me to develop the right skills. Alongside this, United Teaching has a robust programme of support for its trainees, a good training route, and the opportunity to gain QTS and PGCE qualifications, so I felt like it was an easy choice for me to make when applying for the role.

The decision to take the position was even easier when I got the chance to visit Northampton Academy, which I found to be an incredibly welcoming school and one that seems very driven. So far, I can say it has lived up to this first impression with all the staff and students being very welcoming and everyone offering as much support as I need. I started at the academy in the final term before summer. I was allowed to observe other teachers and just settle into the school, which I found to be incredibly beneficial come September when I began teaching for real.

Based on these first few weeks, I can undoubtedly say that I made the right decision to train with United Teaching and to join Northampton Academy, and I’m looking forward to letting you know how the rest of my first year goes.

Update - 23rd May 2022

I’m pleased to say I’ve almost completed a full year of teaching, and it’s been a really exciting year.

Starting off with my own classes from the get-go in September was certainly a challenge, but it enabled me to get straight into teaching and start developing my practice. I learned quite quickly the need to be reflective and constantly adapt my teaching, and this has helped me a great deal throughout this first year, and it’s something I will carry on with throughout my career.

I’m really glad I chose Northampton Academy and United Teaching, as the support I’ve received has been amazing. Having a subject mentor and professional mentor means you feel really supported at all times, and you always have someone you can turn to for advice. The training course itself has been in-depth and has allowed me to implement many new techniques to improve my teaching whilst providing regular opportunities to discuss with other trainees. I also did the PGCE, which, whilst it was an added workload on an already busy year, has definitely been worthwhile. The essays I wrote about (motivating students and issues in the history curriculum) have been very useful to me in the classroom and have allowed me to support my development with research and reflection.

Northampton Academy has been a really good fit for me as both the staff and students have been very welcoming and enjoyable to work with. The school has also given me plenty of opportunities to not only develop as a teacher but as a part of the school community, which has made working here very enjoyable. The supportive but driven environment really pushes you to be your best and to provide high-quality teaching constantly. I’ve also made some great friends and colleagues.

This first year has certainly been very busy with a lot to take in and lots of different challenges to face, but I can say with certainty that this was the right pathway for me. Learning on the job is a great way to develop quickly and confidently, and with the support, I’ve had it’s been really enjoyable and rewarding. Anyone who is considering taking this route should definitely think about the workload they’re taking on but be reassured that you will be supported, and it will give you many opportunities to develop, improve, and mould your own teaching style. Even with the workload and the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve really enjoyed this first year, and I’m incredibly grateful for the support I’ve had along the way. I’m really looking forward to continuing my career and development at Northampton Academy and to the new challenges that await me as an ECT. I’ll be taking my Y10 group into Y11, picking up some A Level classes, and looking for ways to get myself even more involved with the wider school community. It’s set to be another busy and enjoyable year.

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