Teaching Awards winner Edward Vickerman has shown that against the odds, success is achievable
Edward Vickerman, winner of the 2009 Outstanding New Teacher of the Year award was turned down four times for training courses in education.
Despite always wanting to become a primary school teacher, Edward was told his profound dyslexia meant he was unsuitable for the job.
After completing a degree in hotel management, Edward decided to give teaching one last try, and was finally accepted on a PGCE course at Bradford College, qualifying as a business studies teacher.
Now in his fourth year of teaching, Edward is Director of Business and Enterprise Specialism at The Freeston Business & Enterprise College in Normanton. But his aim is to become a headteacher.
He said: "I feel really, really passionate about what we do. I want to be a headteacher because think I can make a bigger difference there. I want to make the classroom accessible to all pupils.
"At school there was a huge gap between what I knew, and what I could write down. Teachers just didn't understand some of my problems, and I want to make the school experience better for pupils now who are in the same position.
Telling someone they can't do something because of dyslexia is an archaic attitude."
For Edward, winning the title at the 2009 Teaching Awards was a great achievement. He said:
"It was for all the people who said I couldn't become a teacher, to show them that I could, and have."
Edward's advice for those at the beginning of their teaching careers
- Get involved in as many things as possible
I really enjoyed getting to know the kids. I tried to fully immerse myself in the school. You have to get involved in all the extracurricular activities.
- Be prepared for it to be hard work
Your NQT year is a tough year. You really there and you are really a teacher and you are expected to do everything teacher would do, but at the same time, you have a slight gap of knowledge. It was hard, there's no doubt about it.
- Remember the importance of what you do
We are a privileged position; from the moment we enter the classroom we make a difference. For you it’s your first year, but for them it could be the last year; it could be the year they decide which courses to do so you can influence their choices.
- Think about how you present yourself
The way you present yourself in the classroom is very important. I dress as if I'm going to work in a top business every day. You've got to set the standard. See Teacher Tune-Up - Alexandra Edwards
- Set your expectations
You've got to be firm and consistent from the first day; children can't cope with inconsistency. Set your expectations right from the point of being an NQT. I have them all stood behind the desks before they sit down. You have to get their attention, and win their respect.
- Parents evening is hugely important
It's one of the most important parts of the year. You've got to get the support of the parents, then you can get the support of the kids. If the parent walks out of the room and says that that teacher is a wet lettuce, then you're lost. See Communicating with Parents
- Share your passion and enthusiasm. Be imaginative
You've got to be passionate about what you are doing, because that's come over to your students. You have to have absolute passion in wanting to help young people to help themselves.
- Make the classroom accessible
I want to make the classroom accessible. You need to match the form of assessment to the student, whether that's exams or consistent assessment. If they're not good at exams, then show what they're good at in other ways.
- Raised their expectations
Show them that they can be more than they thought they could be. A large proportion of pupils here come from very difficult backgrounds and we need to show them that they can succeed; that they can achieve what they want to, and become more than people expect of them.
- Be ambitious
It is so important be ambitious, because the only way to go up the career ladder is if you're improving and everything around you is improving at the same time. You're taking everyone forward with you. Remember that no one can be outstanding on their own. It takes the whole school working around you, and supporting you.
- Have a vision of where you want to be
You've got to have a vision of where you're going and what you want to do. But there's no point in going for promotion to your own sake. It's got to be about what promotion will let you do for the pupils.
- Aim to be outstanding.
Every time you walk into a classroom you have to aim to be outstanding. You might not get there, but you have to have that aim. See From Good to Outstanding
Teaching Awards - http://www.teachingawards.com/