Olivia Carucci, Cohort 2020, reflects on what it’s been like training during school closures, and how she’s been practising her teaching at home with a little help from her son. 

I had spent twenty years working for banks in the City when a few years ago, in 2018, I heard about an organisation called Now Teach. The mother of a child in my son’s class had a friend who became a language teacher, converting from a career in journalism via Now Teach. Long story short, I decided I wanted to become a language teacher too.

I’d been spending more time at my son’s school, joining the PTA Committee, and felt my motivation to work with kids growing. I also foster a passion for languages, so I applied to Now Teach who helped me jump through the various hoops and complexities of getting into teaching. With more than 4000 different training providers out there, finding the right one can feel overwhelming… But every step of the way, I received invaluable help from Now Teach.  And since September of this year, I’ve been training to teach languages to secondary school students with Sutton SCITT.

Of course, it’s been an unusual year to train to teach. The news of school closures on Monday 4th January has meant the way we train has to adapt. But I decided to keep myself busy and practice my teaching with my primary school aged son…

Currently in Year 5, my son has 30 minutes of Spanish per week and last term, he would at times peer over my shoulder when I was creating Spanish lessons for my Year 8s and exclaim, 'I’ve seen this slide in Spanish class too!’. So I took the opportunity to practice the theory and put my learning into action, teaching him Spanish, and trying out the techniques that I’ve been learning.

I shared what I was doing with other Year 5 parents, and to my surprise a number of them were keen for me to support their kids too! At one point I had nine pupils joining my Zoom Spanish lesson. The children enjoyed seeing each other and even helped me manage the technology (kids know everything!). It’s been great fun and we’re having the next session this Friday. I hope to do a few more, for as long as they enjoy it.  

The last school term has been tough and fulfilling at the same time. The pandemic is having a huge impact on the way that schools are able to provide for students. My first placement school taught me so much, primarily the importance of building relationships with kids. I’m looking forward to my next school placement. It starts online, but hopefully my training sessions with Year 5 will help me find ways to making learning languages fun and engaging, even online.