A Day in the Life of a Teacher Trainer


One of the best things about being a teacher trainer here at Carlton Training is that I get to go and visit our candidates in their workplaces to observe and monitor them teaching their own pupils and candidates. Everybody on the Level 4 CET and Level 5 DET courses has to carry out a certain amount of teaching which we monitor and grade according to Ofsted standards. This is a vital part of gaining the qualification, so it is my role to prepare and encourage candidates to be ready for when I visit them (we don’t just turn up by surprise!!!).

A day in the life of a Teacher Trainer
Because I’m visiting candidates in their own workplaces I get to travel about and see all sorts of different places where teaching and training happens. I go to schools, colleges, training departments, commercial companies, police and fire stations as well as children’s special needs facilities.

A few days before observed teaching practice I check the qualification handbook, revise vital details and once again read through the criteria against which a candidate will be assessed. Additionally I also check the first draft of lesson plans the candidate has prepared to ensure they contain all the required elements. Then the forms that I have to fill in during an observation are printed and I prepare a folder with documents I will need for the day itself like the place, time etc.

As it is pretty easy for me to get lost when going to places I have never been to, I always take a printed map with me. I must say – it’s often not enough and I am extremely grateful for the technology of 21st century that helps me find my way and meet my candidates on time. That’s when the apps on my phone seem to be my best friends.

I usually arrive at least about 20 minutes earlier at the venue where I am welcomed by the candidate and we have a quick chat. Sometimes it may seem that we are catching up on what has been going on in our lives and yet we are both faced with assessment conditions after all where certain rules are agreed and must be obeyed. It may happen that the candidate is a little nervous before such an event even if they are not aware of it, so a short conversation beforehand helps to put my candidate at ease and gives me a chance to add a few words of encouragement.

Taking a seat somewhere in the corner of the room where I can spread my papers without disrupting the observed lesson is always my aim. It allows the observed teacher to properly focus on what they are doing during their observed session and I often hear afterwards they actually forgot I was there. For me that time consists mainly of form filling on the basis of what I am able to notice within the lesson, which requires my undivided attention. I must say a lot of observed teaching involves so many creative ideas that candidates have carefully planned for that it brings a smile on my face. It’s a good feeling to see teachers succeed.

Once the lesson is over there is time for a debrief when both I and the candidate have a chance to evaluate the observed session – it’s crucial for me to ensure this is a two way process. The conversation involves emphasising what went well and a little analysis of areas for development with some suggestions on how things can be improved. Making sure the debrief starts and ends on the positive note is extremely important. The certainty that the candidate is left motivated and empowered is not only rewarding in itself, but allows me to end our meeting with words ‘Thank you for the experience. It’s been a good day’.

Blogger : Gosia Borkowska – educator, assessor and tutor.

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