I’m a crocheting, knitting ex-boxer who enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures and learning different languages and now I am a trainee English teacher within the new model of Initial Teacher Training at the Cabot Learning Federation and University of the West of England partnership (cohort 1: 2012/13) in Bristol, United Kingdom.
I am extremely passionate about English, literature, culture, and working with young people. I am creative, adaptable and organised with eight years’ teaching experience. I am an effective and confident communicator at all levels in multiple languages and enthusiastic about participating as a trainee on the CLF-UWE new teacher training initiative. My enthusiasm for, and investment in English and my commitment to working with young people was demonstrated throughout my time at university by representing the views of my peers as an active Student Representative at the English and Drama School meetings and by working at Speedwell Technology College (now Bristol Brunel Academy) as a Student Tutor on the Student Associates Scheme. This commitment continued afterwards when recruited by the Hokkaido Board of Education in Japan for five years – initially as a Roaming English Instructor and Trainer in a variety of settings including inner-city and suburban high schools and hospital visits. I found that teaching English language, literature and culture with young people gave me the opportunity to meet some remarkable people who inspired me to teach and I was honoured to meet and help a blind student in Japan, who dreamed of traveling to the UK – but thought it impossible due to her condition, pass her English entrance examinations to become the first visually impaired person to study an English degree at university. Two years ago she visited London on a study exchange for three months. Last year she went to New York completely unassisted. By working with her to achieve her goals, Akiko has been an inspiration and also strengthened my desire to become a teacher.
For three years I worked as a teacher at one of the five “Super Schools” in Japan with students of mixed abilities, ages and educational and behavioural backgrounds. I taught English Language and Literature in a positive and flexible way, identifying, applying, and adapting appropriate activities during lessons to support different students with their development and learning in order to achieve progression. Part of my role at Yuho High involved students’ pastoral care and establishing and maintaining positive relationships when dealing with a diverse range of contacts about sensitive issues. I also provided support with careers guidance and international work experience placements for students and was involved with after school English and Drama clubs for students and young people in the community. It was extremely rewarding to be a part of a team that was responsible for developing students’ academic achievements, their enjoyment of English, increased motivation, progression and passion for their subject and being part of a constructive and reflexive pedagogical team.
Last year, having returned to the UK, I chose to work as a Teaching Assistant with Year 5 and Year 6 students at Upper Horfield Community Primary School in order to experience the transition between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 as I felt this practical understanding would be beneficial before commencing my initial teacher training programme.
So far, I am enjoying the CLF ITT programme and I’ve met some enthusiastic, highly motivated and very welcoming people. I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity to become part of something that is only the beginning of this learning process and, if the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then I think this programme has enabled me to hit the ground running.