The quality of ITE that I received from London Metropolitan University is the single biggest reason why I am still teaching, and still enjoying it, over 14 years later.
This training allowed me to progress professionally while continually engaging confidently with pedagogy. Most importantly, however, is that it taught me how to face the challenges of today’s school settings with regards to both students and staff.
The ITE was a wholly collaborative environment where everyone around me had the time, space, and energy to focus on learning, understanding, and putting into practice the latest in education theory. As a newcomer to the classroom, having this level of academic understanding beforehand (on subjects including diversity, inclusion, young adult psychology, behaviour management, social and emotional aspects of learning, EAL, differentiation, and creativity in the classroom), before setting foot inside a classroom, was invaluable. I’m not sure I would have survived without it.
Pedagogy was enjoyed. I was able to see its value as a tool for improving my teaching practice and for keeping up with the ever-shifting demands of the modern school environment. My love of lifelong learning flourished during the ITE and led me to complete a master’s degree in education shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree. I am now pursuing a doctorate in education. Further, I now also mentor and coach other teachers, regarding their teaching practice or post-graduate studies, which enables me to share the lessons I learnt from my ITE even further.
It gave me the confidence to enter a school environment and immediately have a positive impact on the education of the students. While the learning curve for teachers never ends, the ITE meant I was able to make the inevitable mistakes, understand my misconceptions, and gain a more scientific approach to teaching practice without the potential to jeopardise the education of hundreds of students. I was able to gain a vast amount of knowledge and experience before being thrust into the hectic, and oftentimes emotionally and physically draining “real world” of teaching.
The ITE was a strong foundation without which I would not have thrived in those first tentative years of my career. It led me to becoming a head of department and is a foundation I still rely on and cherish today.
Overall, my love of teaching and my emphatic belief in its power to improve society and the wider world was handed down to me by my ITE tutor. Going in, I was aware of the positive effect that a good, reliable, and well-educated classroom teacher could have on a student’s education. My experience showed me the positive effect that a good ITE tutor, in the right environment, could potentially have on the education of hundreds of thousands of students.
As my story shows, ITE must be university based. It is the best way of building strong foundations in new teachers at a time when they need it most. It is the best way of instilling confidence, understanding, and professionalism before being faced with the challenges and pressures of a real-life workplace. Each young person’s education is an incredibly precious thing. It deserves the time, resources, and respect that a university-based program commands.