As a University student, who went to the ‘not-so-great’ University in Bristol (not the University of Bristol) – it was surprising even to myself, at the ‘Snob Factor’ which faced me this time last year.
When I was applying for teacher training, I had my heart set on a training programme at an Ofsted graded ‘Outstanding’ school in a leafy corner of a well-to-do town in Surrey. I had researched the place, followed them on Twitter, completed work experience there, and then I had my interview. Which considering I’d never had a proper interview before, I thought it went pretty well.
It was a shock then, as you can imagine, when I got rejected within two days of my interview. I sort of decided then, that was the end of my chances, seeing as the only other training programme I had applied for was one I’d never heard of.
More importantly, this other training programme was in a built-up, busy, undesirable town in North Hampshire, just 10 minutes drive from my house. This idea filled me with horror. Why would I want to teach there?
I look back on myself now and I’m a little disgusted.
Anyway, feeling shit about myself after the rejection, I decided to go to the interview for this other place, because I had nothing else to do. So I went, and sat for most of my day in a decidedly ‘shabby’ staff room, whilst the most disorganised interview appeared to take place. When I left that day, I was totally against the idea of it, and everything I had thought about the town and its inhabitants had matched my pretty low expectations.
However, when I woke up the following day to the news that I had been accepted, I thought I may as well try and go for it. What else was I going to do?
My feelings towards this opportunity were not overly enthusiastic, and I even remember being embarrassed about telling people the name of this training programme, because if I hadn’t heard of it, they definitely wouldn’t have.
So when I got told the name of my training school in June last year, and I researched the ‘Requires Improvement’ small school in the built-up town, I was terrified about what I had signed up to. ‘I can always drop out’ was what I would tell myself, and my Mum.
However, when I turned up to the school in July last year, I was kind of embarrassed that I’d been having all these thoughts. I was greeted with the friendliest department I could have asked for, a staff-room full of warm and welcoming smiles and a Headteacher who seemed genuinely excited to have me there.
One year down the line, and two schools later (my main school + another fab training school in the same town) I genuinely hate myself a bit for how snobby I was last year. Because actually, what I have found out this year, is that shabby or smart, Outstanding or Requires Improvement, the schools that I have worked in for the past year have been absolutely bloody fantastic; and when I stood in an assembly on Friday afternoon, watching some crazy 13 year old kids screaming Eurovision songs at the top of their lungs, I looked around the room and thought how lucky I was.
I am in a department that respects me, a school that wants me, surrounded by people I can call my friends and children who have changed my outlook on the way the world works, and how different life is 10 minutes away from my house. My school, and my second training school, are easily two of the best places I could ever have landed in and are filled (mainly) with the type of kids that tug at your heart strings, whilst making you laugh uncontrollably, and that, I can safely say, is the most rewarding, fantastic thing in the world.