I really enjoyed my TeachFirst experience on Friday. A lot of effort was put into supporting me from the team including Jane, a TeachFirst teacher at Aylesford School, who helped with all the lesson planning and the interactive white board, and it was really appreciated. I hope that I gave the children a good lesson and now the adrenalin (and possibly white board marker) high has abated I can look back and genuinely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
When I was at school I had many excellent teachers but two were absolutely inspiring: Mr Pickering, my third year teacher at Hythe Primary and Miss Morton (as she was then), my history and politics teacher at Folkestone Girls. I still remember them and their classes (for example Miss Morton’s chalk sketch on the blackboard of the Battle of Naseby, with stick men indicating the New Model Army, redrawn to perfection in my own rough book) but whilst it is easy to remember their personalities I don’t think we as students ever appreciated how much time went into preparing for our lessons.
I know I’ve only done one class and I got a lot of help doing it. Plus explaining the role and responsibilities of an MP is not a particularly difficult class for an MP to take. But I do feel like I got a tiny insight into what it is like to be a teacher and how much prep goes into delivering a lesson to a mixed ability group of children. The hour class whizzed by and I got my timing slightly wrong on delivering to the plan; I had taken the political knowledge levels of 13 year olds too much for granted (casting my mind back to when I was 13, I don’t really recall knowing anything about politics so I fear I momentarily succumbed to the Westminster-bubble) which meant I needed to explain more than I had planned; I didn’t appreciate how hands on teaching is today, compared to when I left school nearly 18 years ago, and it is impossible to switch off for even a nano-second; and I was left in no doubt that the better prepared you are, the smoother the class will run.
I personally got a lot out of the experience and I hope the students did too. I was pleased that a number of students put up their hands at the end of class when I asked if they wanted to be an MP now they knew what one did, so maybe I didn’t do too badly after all.