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Profile picture of Charlotte Preston.

Primary Teacher

My placements in primary schools were truly amazing and essential for my professional development. I have had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing teachers who absolutely love to teach.

Why I chose Leeds Trinity

From my first visit to Leeds Trinity, I knew instantly that it was the university that I wanted to attend. Students and staff were so welcoming and committed to helping you achieve your goals, nothing was a silly question and there was always someone available to support and guide you in the right direction.

Charlotte Preston main image graduating.

Amazing memories

The University felt like a home from home and some of my best memories have stemmed from my time at Leeds Trinity! I actually met my best friend there on the very first day of our Primary Education course in the car park and we have been glued to one another ever since. That is the most wonderful thing, everyone you meet would be happy to talk to you and they show a genuine interest in your study. I continually appreciate the methods and pedagogy that I learnt from my lecturers and I find myself applying these skills and embedding them into my practice in my own classroom. 

Great practice opportunities

I was exposed to a variety of educational settings and teaching throughout my course. Not only have I observed and practiced my skills through mainstream primary settings, but I have also had the opportunity to learn from professionals who teach outside of the typical classroom. For example, a museum workshop. This opened my eyes to the importance of making learning fun for children so that they engage and participate more intensely, meaning that children begin to form experiences that they can reflect on. This allows children to apply the skills and content that they have learnt more confidently to written work and cross-curricular subjects. 

Valuable placements

On the other hand, my placements in primary schools were truly amazing and essential for my professional development. I have had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing teachers who absolutely love to teach and see children make progress and achieve their goals! I have learnt (and continue to learn!) how to work effectively with colleagues, children and parents as I observed the teachers on my placement. Every member of staff during my placements involved me in their school's culture and ethos which encouraged me to understand the importance of teamwork and a good foundation.

Overall, these placements made me the teacher that I am today and I secured my current teaching post at my placement school which I could not be more grateful for. I owe so much to my school and the staff that I work with - in this setting I have secured my love of teaching and the main purpose of this profession - the children! Everything we do is for the children and their families and if you carry that at the heart of your practice then you will always succeed. 

 

How my career panned out since graduating

Since graduating, I applied for a teaching position at my final placement school. This school felt like the only place for me, I knew since completing my placement that if an opportunity for a position ever came up that I must leap into it and try my best. It is crucial to find a school that is right for you and your teaching style. I was always told that it is important that you are a right fit for the school and that the school is a right fit for you and I never truly understood that until I was at my placement school. I owe so much to every member of staff at my school as I constantly learn from them and I know that they are always there to support me in any way they can. 

Throughout my first year of teaching, I was based in Year 2. This group was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the children grow and develop. The children are so resilient, and I am so proud of the skills that they have learnt and applied. It is an honour to see your class move up throughout school as they become ready for new challenges and a different curriculum. It felt so exciting to go into my second year of teaching with an amazing team of colleagues and a new group of children. 

Being nominated for the Newcomer of the Year Award in 2022

It was an honour to be nominated for this award. It was such a shock when the email came through that I had been nominated by my colleagues for an award. I think I gasped and scared my teaching assistant! In all seriousness, teaching is not an easy profession and you are constantly learning and adapting to new situations and methods. At times, it can be overwhelming and you feel like imposter syndrome may take over.

My colleagues have supported and reminded me that as long as every choice we make has the children's best interests at heart, then you are an outstanding teacher. I felt so emotional when I was nominated because I know that my colleagues truly appreciated and recognised everything that I have learnt and apply to my teaching. I owe most of my skills to my colleagues! It is a pleasure to work alongside them every day. 

Charlotte Preston resize.

My advice for our students training to be teachers

Nothing is a silly question if you do not know the answer or have not been shown how to do something! Essentially, do not expect to know everything because you won't. During your training it is crucial to observe as many teachers as you can and ask as many questions as you can. It is also brilliant to seek out feedback and advice from other teachers regarding your own teaching and lessons. Use their advice as a tool to grow professionally. These professionals were in your position earlier in their career and they can offer you some amazing advice and ideas that you will carry throughout your whole journey.

I would suggest being proactive and using your initiative throughout your placements. For instance, get involved in extracurricular activities, ask to support at parents evenings and offer your assistance on school trips. It is true that you get out what you put in! It is important that you involve yourself in the school's culture so that you get a wide grasp on the elements needed to be a successful teacher. Most importantly, enjoy every minute, get to know the children in your class well and learn to prioritise and manage your time effectively. Always show your students kindness and respect and you will get the most out of them. 

Finally, keep in touch with Leeds Trinity University as they have supported so many people throughout their career and teaching journey and they will do everything in their power to guide you in the best way that they can. Since graduating, I have really appreciated the emails and phone calls that I have received from Leeds Trinity just to check in and see how I am doing in the profession. I think that this is wonderful and just summarises the type of people that work at Leeds Trinity - they care about their students even after they have graduated!