Our Tuition-fee Associate Teachers (ATs) are just beginning their second placements, marking that they are now more than halfway through their training year with us at Oxfordshire Teacher Training.
At the transition point between their first and second school placements these Associate Teachers have also had the opportunity to experience entirely different settings; Secondary ATs have spent time in a primary school and Primary ATs in a secondary school. All of them also visited a special school before coming back together as a cohort to reflect on what they had experienced, and prepare for starting their second placement.
The day of reflection and preparation was a slightly unusual one for us at the Central Hub as we were joined by the Associate Teachers from the North and South Hubs, making up the full cohort for the day. It was brilliant to have everyone together to share experiences and ideas, and passion in the room was palpable. The Associate Teachers considered the similarities and differences between the settings that they had visited including practical aspects such as the layout of classrooms, staffing, and resources, as well as less tangible qualities such as ethos and behaviour management strategies. This reflection then formed the basis for discussion around how these experiences would impact on their practice moving forward as they begin their second placement.
The visits to other schools had clearly had a profound effect on the group and there was much discussion around how inspiring it had been. Our Associate Teachers were buoyant as they left the session and enjoyed some celebratory cupcakes to congratulate them on completing their first placement.
The cross-phase visits were a great opportunity to find out about the work that other schools do and in particular where their challenges lie. I was uncertain of what to expect when visiting a special school, but by the end of the day I had nothing but admiration for what they did, and how they tailored a curriculum for each individual child. It showed me just what can be done when you have a class of children of varying abilities and with different challenges, and has inspired me to increase my efforts to make sure my lessons are accessible to all my learners.