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05 February 2024

From Classroom to Career: Mariam's Apprenticeship Odyssey

On a journey into the teaching profession through the apprenticeship route, Mariam Abbas highlights the empowering nature of her experience, emphasising her growth, commitment, and the opportunities afforded by the Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship programme (PGTA).

Discovering a Passion for Education

Mariam Abbas' journey into teaching began as a balancing act between her role as a mother and her career aspirations. Initially working as a teaching assistant in a local secondary school, Mariam found solace in a role that allowed her to navigate the demands of childcare while remaining professionally engaged. This flexibility was crucial for Mariam, who cherished the ability to structure her working day around her children's needs.

It was during this time that an unexpected opportunity arose, altering the course of Mariam's career. Asked to step in and deliver eight weeks of Arabic lessons as an unqualified teacher, Mariam found herself in unfamiliar territory. Despite the challenges and uncertainties, Mariam's experience in the classroom ignited a spark within her. Reflecting on this pivotal moment, Mariam shares, "I woke up excited to see what the day would bring and felt fulfilled in a way I had never been."

Choosing the Apprenticeship Pathway

With a burgeoning passion for teaching and a desire to remain within the supportive school environment where her journey began, Mariam weighed her options carefully. The allure of government bursaries available through other routes, such as the School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), was undeniable. However, Mariam's commitment to her current role as a teaching assistant at a school that had nurtured her growth led her to seek an alternative path.

Mariam explains, "I was not prepared to resign from my role at a school that supported me in setting the foundations of my teaching career." Opting for the apprenticeship route offered her the financial stability of remaining on the school payroll while pursuing her teaching qualification. This decision not only provided Mariam with immediate peace of mind but also ensured longer-term job security post-qualification, aligning with her career aspirations and personal circumstances.

Immersive Learning and Structured Support

Beyond financial considerations, Mariam was drawn to the immersive, hands-on approach offered by the PGTA route. The prospect of continuing to learn and teach on the job, coupled with structured mentorship and learning opportunities, appealed to her deeply ingrained commitment to professional growth and development.

"The apprenticeship route initially appealed to me due to its immersive, hands-on approach," Mariam affirms. This mode of learning not only allowed her to apply theoretical knowledge in real-time classroom settings but also facilitated continuous refinement of her teaching skills under the guidance of experienced mentors.

Mariam found that the apprenticeship programme offered her the option to undertake the PGCE as an extra add-on to the apprenticeship teaching qualification.

Mariam reflects, "Within one year, I would secure Qualified Teaching Status with PGCE which would likely enhance my future job prospects." This comprehensive qualification not only bolstered Mariam's confidence in her teaching abilities but also positioned her favourably for future career opportunities within the education sector.

Building Meaningful Relationships

Throughout her apprenticeship, Mariam has found immense fulfilment in building meaningful relationships both with her students and her peers. She reflects on the connections she has forged with her students, stating, "The respect and rapport I have built with my Year 11 students fill me with deep satisfaction." Through her dedication to teaching and theoretical insights into behaviour, Mariam has created a supportive environment where students feel valued and empowered to thrive.

In addition to her interactions with students, Mariam has also cherished the camaraderie and support she has received from her fellow apprentices and colleagues. She notes, "The relationships I have formed with colleagues in my department and the wider school have been instrumental in navigating the challenges of the apprenticeship." Collaborating with peers has not only enriched Mariam's learning experience but has also provided her with invaluable support and encouragement along her journey to becoming a qualified teacher.

Embracing Support and Growth

Throughout her apprenticeship, Mariam has received invaluable support from her mentors and colleagues. "The guidance from my subject mentor has been extremely professional, supportive, and highly motivating," she acknowledges. With their encouragement, Mariam has navigated challenges and embraced opportunities for growth.

“The programme is designed holistically to foster your growth as a quality teacher and ensure that apprentices are effectively informed and prepared with the skills needed to succeed through various stages of the job application process post-qualifying."

Furthermore, the programme places a strong emphasis on trainee wellbeing, recognising the challenges that can accompany the demands of training. Mariam highlights this aspect, stating, "The apprenticeship programme holds wellbeing as one of its core objectives and recognises that as trainees, it can take a while to adjust to the demands of the training."

This focus on support not only enhances the overall training experience but also contributes to the personal and professional growth of the apprentices, ultimately preparing them for successful careers in teaching.

A Bright Future Ahead

As Mariam Abba reflects on her journey, she remains steadfast in her commitment to delivering quality education to future generations. While she entertains the possibility of assuming leadership roles within the education sector, she acknowledges the solid foundation laid by the apprenticeship programme. Mariam's aspirations are encapsulated in her words, "Perhaps I may one day lead a department, or maybe even work towards securing a senior leadership role in a secondary school. However, one thing I know for sure, is that the apprenticeship programme has secured me with a solid head start into any teaching opportunity that comes my way."

Find out more about the Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship and other Initial Teacher Training routes here - Teacher Training at the National Institute of Teaching

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