Power of a Great Teacher - Martin
Teachers can be life changing role models for students and we want to celebrate their journey's and successes to demonstrate that teaching is such a rewarding career!
Martin is a Deputy Head Teacher at our Oakwood Learning Centre.
What/who inspired you to become a teacher?
I was inspired to become a teacher by my love of learning and History. I wanted to be able to teach young people History in a way that was exciting and interesting, something that my own History education was somewhat lacking.
This drove me not only to become a teacher but a teacher who thinks outside the box and tries to make every lesson count.
How was your first day as a teacher?
My first day as a teacher was at a small middle school in Northumberland. I had completed my final placement of my ITT in that school prior to being offered a job, so the staff and young people knew me and what I was about so it was a familiar experience.
What made you choose to focus on teaching at a SEND school rather than mainstream?
Whilst working in Northumberland I was given a class of 15 SEND Young People as my form group. These were the class who were supposedly “unmanageable” and to some staff “unteachable”. I felt that this was harsh and that given the right support from the right people these individuals could and would be able to achieve just as much as any other class in the school.
I developed a close bond with the class over the course of the next year and was able to keep them on track to have a successful year in school. There was joy and tears at times but we got through it all together.
At the end of the year when the class left to go to high school I was talking to the head teacher at the time who asked if I had thought about teaching in an SEMH setting as he felt I would be naturally suited to it. Up until that point I had not, however when an opportunity with the Witherslack Group came up I jumped at the chance.
After 6 fantastic years with the Witherslack Group I decided to further my career and take a step into Leadership at a PRU, however my heart was always with high end SEMH and Witherslack, which lead to me returning three years later to work at Oakwood Learning Centre.
From your teaching experience so far, what advice would you give to someone thinking of also becoming a teacher?
The best piece of advice I can give to anyone is to be genuine with the young people, they can see immediately the staff who care and want the best for them. They will feel more at ease and be more open to making mistakes and getting back up, learning in the process. Similarly you have to have a strong sense of self and resilience, some young people will try to push your button, however once they see that you are not going to react they again can let down their barriers and begin to form those positive relationships.
Be prepared for the inevitable testing of relationships, young people need to know that you are not going anywhere, which is why it is vitally important to be a constant in their lives, the person who is happy to see them each and every day regardless of what has happened before. That is the best advice I can give, just be present, in body and in mind.
What is one Huge Small Victory you’ve had during your time at Oakwood Learning Centre?
Since returning to the Witherslack Group at Oakwood Learning Centre, one Huge Small Victory has been quickly building positive relationships and a level of trust with some of the young people. This has enabled me to help the wider staff team to build confidence and encourage young people to do the best they can in their school lives.
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