Trainee Stories

Tanya Blackstock
Year 3 Teacher

“My own children are very proud that I am now a teacher!”

It was Tanya’s childhood dream to become a teacher, but that dream was set aside for a while, until her own children had started school. Tanya decided then that it was finally time to make her dream a reality, and she applied to Victoria Academies Teacher Training to do her teacher training as a mature student.

Tanya’s Story

First of all, I got to visit around 10 different schools or more from across Victoria Academies Trust over the course of the training year. Being able to go into lots of different schools helped me to develop a really clear understanding of what kind of school I wanted to work in once I was qualified.

Another benefit was that straight away, as soon as the course started, we were able to go into classrooms purely to observe. The teachers were happy to have us in their classrooms, watching rather than being involved to start with. It was good to get that grounding first as it helped me to understand what would be expected of me as a teacher before going on to my first placement.

The support that I received during my training year was fantastic. Because the intake of trainees was relatively small, we were able to build up really strong friendships and a strong support network from the start. I found that the other trainees came from a variety of different backgrounds, and that I was by no means the only one who was making a career change! Some had a background of working in education, some had a regular working background like me, and some had just graduated from university. We all had something that we could contribute, and we were able to support each other. I definitely felt that I was strongly supported by the other trainees, and that I was also able to lend support too, which is always good!

Both of my mentors, in both of my school placements, were absolutely amazing. They were quite different from one another, but I felt like I had a really good balance of mentors, as they were experts in different areas. They were also very supportive, very helpful and very kind. I don’t think I could have had a better experience!

I now work within Victoria Academies Trust. There are lots of different schools within the Trust, so if at some point I decide that I want to work in a different school, I could move to another school within the Trust. I know plenty of staff that have moved between Trust schools, and this flexibility provides lots of opportunities for career development and progression.

I love my job because for the first time in my working career I am able to really affect the lives of children from working class backgrounds, and I feel really passionate about that.I think that the children that I’ve taught so far have really identified with me because they know that I’m also from a working-class background. It helps them to realise that they too could become a teacher, or anything else that they want to be! I think that it’s really important that all children understand that nothing should stop them from being the best that they can be, and that the skies the limit!

Another thing I love about my job is that feeling when a child, who may not necessarily be expected to do well, makes great progress; there’s no feeling like it!

Favourite memory of teacher training: My favourite memory is of ‘the big reveal’; this is when the children that I taught on my second attachment were told that I would be their teacher the following year! They were so happy, and so was I. It was very emotional; I had tears in my eyes!

Watch Tanya’s Video

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