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University based case study

Meet teacher Ben Amatruda

Having completed his ECT induction 2 years ago, Ben Amatruda reflects on his teaching career so far and how his decisions along the way have led him to where he is now. Ben is currently teaching History at a secondary school in Hertfordshire, having completed his Initial Teacher Training at Middlesex University. Teach in Herts spoke to Ben to see how his career has developed through training, the induction process and securing his first teaching role.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I was in sixth-form as I was inspired by several of my own teachers and thoroughly enjoyed my time at school. I also found that I never felt challenged or motivated in any previous jobs that I had, and knew teaching would be a rewarding career.

Why did you choose to follow the university based route into teaching?

I was encouraged by my university and other teachers to go through the university based teaching programme. Moreover, after just finishing my undergraduate degree, the theory side of teaching practice interested me. There were also grants for my subject that helped me financially, which I wouldn’t have received if I signed up for a non-salaried Schools Direct programme.

What support and training have you received throughout your career so far?

Throughout my training year I had fantastic support from both my university and my placement schools. For me, the most valuable support I received was from my school sessions as they enabled me to implement the theory I had learnt at university, reflect on my current practice within the school and make proactive changes. Secondly, throughout my ECT year I had incredible support such as regular feedback, meetings with my mentor, observations and weekly sessions led by our ECT coordinator. As a result, I felt I made significant progress throughout my ECT year.

How did your ECT year differ to your training year?

You are officially a teacher which helps psychologically. Meaning that the classes were 100% my responsibility from the first day and to me that made a huge difference. However, I still received regular support that was crucial to my development. Also, my training year was specialising in RE and then my ECT year was training as a History teacher. My school provided fantastic support to make this transition as smooth as possible. I attended subject studies training through Herts for Learning and I worked closely with my department and my ECT mentor to ensure progress was being made. It confirmed for me that if you are considering a change to your training or subject it is always worth asking as there is often support available to facilitate this.

Beyond teaching in the classroom what other opportunities have you had to participate in the wider school community?

I have participated in my school community in many ways; I have created a Philosophy club that I have run for the last two years. Additionally, I have helped run the girls football team with the PE department and have volunteered to go on many trips with the school, including the battlefields trip, the ski trip and Duke of Edinburgh.

What would you say to anyone considering working in a Hertfordshire school?

I would recommend Hertfordshire schools highly. The support I received from both the school and the university was fantastic. It certainly made my training years enjoyable and rewarding.

What are your hopes for the future of your teaching career?

My priority at the moment is to continue establishing myself at my current school, particularly in the two departments that I work in. I enjoy both the pastoral and the curriculum side of teaching and therefore currently have no preferred route for the future and would be open to both depending on what opportunities present themselves further down the line. I thoroughly enjoy my job everyday and so I am sure that I will be as passionate about my career in the future as I am now.