This September there will be a brand new cohort of trainee Teachers eager to learn and make a difference in their classrooms. We're no exception here at OCL, as we say goodbye to a couple of our national office staff and wish them luck on their journey into becoming professional educators.
We wanted to take the time to catch up with one of our soon-to-be Teachers, Natalie Millard, and find out just what it is that has drawn her into the profession, and why now?
Natalie, could you tell us about your role in OCL at the moment?
Yes, I am the PA to the National Directors (NDs; Primary and Secondary) and Monitoring Standards Team (MST), which mainly involves me doing the admin to help create academy review schedules, make logistical bookings, and manage meetings. I get to learn about what is going on in our schools through proof reading report documents, and get a good picture of what life is really like for our staff and students, whilst hearing about the strategies being put in place to help each academy improve.
When did you decide that you wanted to get into teaching?
I have always wanted to be a teacher, and have done lots of experience in primary and secondary schools. After making the change from youth work and being a Teaching assistant, it only helped me see that that is where my passion is, so I started looking into this last year. Seeing both sides of education management gave me that boost to go for it now.
I was lucky to have the support from the National Education Team here at OCL, and had guidance from our CEO John Murphy and our recruitment leads about the different teacher training opportunities. I had a lot of support from everyone here and was even able to spend some time in Oasis Academy Ryelands!
What is it about teaching that excites and inspires you?
I love working with children. I think they are fascinating and as I have gotten older, I have become more and more interested in how people learn, and especially how teachers can use different strategies to help different children with different needs. It is a passion I have always had and now I feel ready to pursue this and actually do it!
Having that year out working in an education setting has really built my confidence. I have been able to have conversations with people across the whole organisation about what the climate of teaching is really like and how the sector is adapting. Getting involved in the National Lead Practitioners lives and seeing the difference they are making has been inspiring.
How did you decide between Primary or Secondary education?
When I first thought about teaching, I wanted to go into Secondary. Based on my experience of being a youth worker, and being a teaching assistant it is what I knew. However, I decided to give Primary a go, to see the difference, and it just suited me down to the ground! I love the variety. Yes, it is tiring, but I loved being on my feet, getting involved in the different subjects and learning new things myself. I'll be going into a Reception class in September, and I just can't wait.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Everyone always seems to say that the workload is the biggest challenge; getting that work life balance right. I suppose also the pressure of student achievement, making sure that you are doing the right thing to help move each and every child along. But I am willing to learn and adapt, and I know there is lots of support in place through my programme. I will listen to tips and strategies from people who have done this before me and am not afraid to ask for support when I need it.
Finally, what are you most excited about?
I am most excited about learning more about the Early Years. I've never worked in this stage before, and I've been lucky enough to be given this opportunity. I am learning from scratch here too, and it is going to be a really exciting adventure to see how Early Years is taught, what is expected from the child's development and how the observations and assessments are done. I am really excited to be with all the kids, and to help them grow and develop.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone at OCL for being so welcoming and for helping me to get to where I am today. Also for allowing me opportunities to develop as a person and as a professional.
We would like to wish Natalie the best of luck with her new class, and send the message of support to everyone starting their teacher training this September.