School of Education

boy with hand up in primary classroom

School immersion week for first year QTS trainees’

Trainee teachers on our Primary Education with QTS courses have recently completed their first 12 weeks of university study, including a full week in school as part of their school-based training.

School-based training takes place in one of our 650+ partnership schools and forms an important element of each year of study. In the first-year trainees will spend around seven weeks in school, paired with another trainee, teaching a timetable of up to 50%.

The purpose of this school immersion week is for students to experience the primary school environment, and for some, it’s their first time as an adult.

For their immersion week, trainees were asked to observe the class teacher and identify how they support each pupils’ learning, build relationships, organise activities and manage behaviour. This experience provided them with an insight into how they will be expected to interact with the children when they return in March for their spring block placement.

Trainees found this week really valuable and have returned to their studies with greater insight and greater passion for becoming teachers. Below are comments from some of our trainees who loved their time in school for immersion week.

 

Christian: 

As a mature student, having had experience in school before I was both excited to be back but nervous after being so long outside the classroom. With so many changes in the education system having taken place, I wasn’t sure what to expect but went in with an open mind, ready for the challenges that faced me.

The teacher was aware of my past experience and therefore gave me many opportunities to work with small groups across various lessons. She made sure that I felt confident doing so and was not pressured into doing anything that I wasn’t yet ready or comfortable enough doing.

This immersion week helped me to apply all the theory we’ve been learning in our sessions at university and put it into practice, making it all the more real. I’ve gained the confidence to gauge a better understanding and it has equipped me with the skills needed to be able to confidently start to take whole lessons in various subjects. I also sat with my teacher and the other year 3 staff to go through the long-term plan for the year and start to identify what topics are to be taught when I come back.

I am really looking forward to getting stuck in with both my lesson planning to help see where I currently am with my own skill set and start to grow this and also with the actual teaching. The immersion week has really equipped me with the confidence boost to be able to dive in and get my hands dirty and become a part of the team during my spring block placement.

 

Lucy: 

For me, immersion week was like having a VIP pass to a show. The privilege of being able to view the show from the side of the stage, to meet the artists and ask questions. It gives you opportunities to deepen my understanding, to watch and reflect on live practices and hear all perspectives of thoughts; the school staff, families, and children you encounter.

Before the immersion week, I felt excited and prepared, as you are given so much information and advice, so you know what to expect. My placement was in a year 1 class, and I was warmly welcomed by the teacher who made every effort to find out what I needed and offer as many opportunities as possible for observing and learning.

The best part of being at the school was getting to know the children and developing my place to best support them and the teaching staff for that week. I think a week was enough time to be a taster for reflection and has enabled me to feel more grounded in preparation for the block placement that will be longer in spring.

From immersion week, I was able to consolidate my ideas of what worked, and what didn’t. If things didn’t work so well, thinking why and decide how to improve them.  All of which makes me feel more confident, organised, and enthused with ideas for next time!

 

Oliver: 

Prior to going into school for immersion week I was rather nervous as to what to expect, but I was welcomed by both staff and students very warmly. Immersion week was extremely helpful to get to know the class for spring block placement later on in the year.

The best part of immersion week was learning about the male presence within the classroom, and how there is a lack of male role models within primary settings for young boys. I cannot wait to go back to the school later on in the year to develop more upon my teacher identity as well as adding to my love and passion for teaching.

 

Holly: 

Before the immersion week, I was quite nervous because I had no idea what to expect as it was my first time stepping into a reception classroom as a teacher. But amongst the nerves, there were also butterflies of excitement and anticipation of what the week would bring.

The staff were really welcoming and the children were so inquisitive as to who we were and why we were there and excited to have new faces in their classroom. The best part of the week was getting to observe the children’s classroom routine, this I feel has helped in preparation for when we go back to the school later for the spring block placement.

The immersion week helped me to gain confidence in a classroom setting with 30 children, I settled into a good routine of school hours and I’ve started to build relationships with each individual pupil, I am looking forward to going back and seeing how much they have grown academically and hope to put some of the things I have acquired in lectures into practice.

Christina Camm • January 4, 2022


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