Introducing our new blogger, Katharine!
Katharine is our latest contributor to the Talented Teacher blog, and will be delighting us with a blog post every month about her experiences and opinions as a teacher.
My name is Katharine Airstone-Thompson and I am a Mathematics Teacher. I have just gained Qualified Teacher Status and will be an NQT next academic year teaching Mathematics and Computer Science. I hold a First-Class Honours Degree in Mathematics and currently studying for a Master’s in Education at University College London.
I knew I always wanted to teach. Sounds cliché but it’s true. Ever since I was a little girl, I always said I wanted to grow up and become a teacher. But it wasn’t until my second year of university where I studied a module called “Professional Teaching Skills” that I really got to explore this career. The module allowed me to gain in-class experience shadowing teachers and begin to understand a small amount of the pedagogy surrounding mathematics education. This then inspired me – I was eager to teach straight away. So, I set up my own tutoring business at the age of 20. It grew fast. In the end, I was tutoring 12 students every week as well as studying for my degree. And I loved it. I was then employed by a local school to tutor pupil premium students on the days I did not have lectures. This was the real steppingstone into the profession.
During my third year of university, I applied for a School’s Direct Teacher Training Programme. I can honestly say my training year has been a tough one. From the beginning, I felt I had some experience due to my tutoring business over the last 2 years, which to some extent I did. However, as we all know, we are living through unprecedented times and my training year quickly changed. As a trainee, this has been hard. I had to adapt quickly, lose my routines and begin to (somehow) teach my classes from my spare room. But, I know I am not alone in this and my colleagues have had to deal with this chaos too. During the school closures, my training and studying have not stopped. I have had so many opportunities to take part in CPD, online webinars, discussions and read deeper into the research and pedagogy of mathematics – all of which I believe has made me a better teacher.
Although I have not had the opportunity to experience other career paths, I strongly believe teaching and working in education is the best path to take. For me, the highlight of my day is creating relationships with the students. Every day I have the opportunity to shape their lives and teach them skills that will enable them to reach their full potential. Also, for some students, I may be one of the only stable adults in their lives and knowing you’re able to make their day a safe and enjoyable one is a feeling that is indescribable. However, as all the teachers reading this will know, teaching is not a walk in the park. Day to day life in a school varies greatly and what works one day may not the next. For me, the worst part about teaching is these off days as they make me feel less confident in my ability to teach. However, I know that these days are important if I am to learn and improve my practice.
In 5 years time, I will have finished my Master’s in Education at UCL and will be coming to the end of my 6th year of teaching. My main goal for the next few years is to become a confident and good teacher of mathematics. Since I have only just finished my teacher training year, I am still unsure on what path in education I want to take, so securing my subject and pedagogical knowledge in that time frame would be my ideal goal.