Trainee Stories

Martin Cavill
Year 4 teacher

“Taking that step to apply was definitely the best decision I could have made.”

Martin had worked as a retail manager for several years before deciding it was time to try something different. He wasn’t enjoying his work anymore and felt little job satisfaction. He loved spending time with his niece and nephew and this inspired him to consider becoming a Primary School teacher.

Martin arranged to get some experience going into schools. He found that he loved being in the classroom and interacting with children, and decided that teaching was the career for him. Martin applied, secured a place on the course, and has not looked back since! He currently teaches year 4 at Victoria Park Primary Academy.

Martin’s Story

I was bored of my job as a retail manager. Work had become a mundane experience, and I knew I wanted to do something more rewarding. One thing I always loved was spending time with my niece and nephew and interacting with them. This made me consider whether I would be better suited to a career working with children instead of the job I was doing. I decided to get some experience of going into schools to see for myself what teaching might be like. I absolutely loved it! Interacting with the pupils was really interesting and also a lot fun, and I realised that becoming a teacher and being able to do this every day would be something really worthwhile and fulfilling. I decided to leave retail management behind, and applied to train to be a teacher. It was a daunting step at the time, but also the best decision I could have possibly made.

As I was changing my career, I was really stepping out of my comfort zone, and I was quite nervous to begin with. However, everyone was so friendly and helpful, that I was instantly put at ease.  I was also worried about my lack of subject knowledge in certain areas, but the tutors reassured me. They supported me in my learning and tailored their approach to meet my individual needs. Over the course of the staff made sure that I acquired all of the subject knowledge and skills that I needed in order to teach confidently and effectively.

One of the things which drew me to the training programme was the fact that it offers a very ‘hands-on’ approach to teacher training. I had already been to university, years ago, and had been working for several years; I really didn’t really want to go back to sitting in lectures. I wanted to get into the classroom, gain practical experience, and learn ‘on the job’ from current teachers in the job role. The focus of the course is always on putting ideas and teaching strategies into practice in the classroom as soon as possible; our training was never detached or purely theoretical. This approach to teacher training suited me perfectly, as I am the kind of person that learns best through actually having a go and trying things for myself. That way if something doesn’t work out as I expected it to, I can reflect on it, learn from it, and adapt my practice so it works better next time! My mentors and tutors supported me in this process, by giving me lots of really useful feedback, ideas and advice to help me to keep improving my teaching throughout the training year.

The Trust has a core value of ‘family’, and that’s exactly how it felt when I was training; like I was part of a family. Everyone is so supportive, and they always have your best interests at heart. With the other trainees, I felt like part of a team; we would help each other along and offer advice and encouragement to one another throughout the training year. We became good friends and are still in touch now. I formed great relationships with my fellow trainees, and that in turn means you have an amazing support network around you. That certainly helped me to get through some of the tougher days!

I now work for Victoria Academies Trust as a year 4 teacher, and I can finally say that I have a job that I absolutely love! One of the best things about teaching is when a child might be finding something really difficult, but they keep persevering, and then they get that lightbulb moment where they finally understand! It’s amazing. It also feels incredible to do a job where I know I am making a real difference, and I am particularly passionate about making a difference to disadvantaged children, and helping them to feel safe, valued, and excited about learning.

Taking that step to apply was definitely the best decision I could have made. My advice is to others thinking of doing the same thing is to take the chance and go for it – you won’t regret it!

Watch Martin’s Video

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