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Student teachers end year by sharing stories

students in class

Tradition allows trainees to connect with their peers

Using tools ranging from videos to songs, student teachers at the University of East London’s (UEL) Cass School of Education and Communities wrapped up their academic year by sharing stories of their time in the classroom. 

Secondary PGCE students in more than a half-dozen subjects discussed their experiences of the past year using digital storybooks, playacting, games and much more. It is an annual Cass tradition which, though light-hearted, allows teacher trainees to connect with their peers in inspiring and innovative ways.

The Sharing Stories session has quickly become a cornerstone of the latter stages of the secondary teaching programme, according to Declan Hamblin, a senior lecturer in physical education.

He said, “It offers a moment for all student teachers who are about to embark on their careers to reflect on how they have developed as teachers throughout the year at UEL.” 

An important part of Cass’s initial teacher education is helping new teachers develop resilience and knowledgeability within their practices and, through this, a personal pedagogy, said Warren Kidd, a senior lecturer and programme leader for initial teacher training. 

He said, “The Sharing Stories end to the year was both celebration of their practice and how it has developed while at the same time a reminder that good teachers look forwards and backwards and are always thinking about their values, strategies and ongoing identities.” 

Amina Begum, who studied for a PGCE in mathematics, said she enjoyed the story-sharing session.

She said, “It gave me an insight into different people’s views and reflections of the whole year.” 

Amina said she learned a great deal during her year in Cass’s teacher training programme. She recently accepted a position at a secondary school in north London.

She said, “I have become more reflective in my own practice and I learned a lot in terms of developing myself as a teacher. 

“From where I started to where I’ve come now, though my experiences, I can say I’ve learned a lot.”

Mr Hamblin said Sharing Stories was also a great way to hear about the influence and impact of UEL and its partner schools. 

He said, “We hope the creativity, enthusiasm and resilience the students have shown throughout the academic year will continue long into their careers. 

“A cornerstone of initial teacher education is supporting new teachers in developing resilience and knowledgeability over their practice in changing contexts and through this supporting the development of an intentionally behind their pedagogy.”