Aamina Chuniya

Trust Trainee Teacher

Having left FGCS in 2020 after 5 years of being there, I never would’ve imagined I'd be back less than 3 years later. However, after achieving 3 A*s at A Level from the NCS, I found myself in a gap year that was unplanned and unexpected. I was offered a job by the CST on a never tried before gap year teaching programme. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to earn a full salary with good working hours and conditions, as well as being in a familiar environment with familiar faces, before starting dental school in September, so I accepted and it was the best thing I could've done.

Working at FGCS has taught me so much more than I expected it could, even more than I could’ve learnt starting university straight after A Levels. Firstly, just being exposed to the world of work has been incredibly educational about things we aren’t taught in school, eg, pay slips, taxes, pensions etc. I've been able to build so much confidence especially in public speaking and my communications skills which are necessary in all stages in life. This confidence is also boosted by the science team I work a part of who are incredibly supportive, helpful and friendly especially my mentor who has always made me feel comfortable and encouraged.

Working as part of a team efficiently is a crucial part of dentistry so this has been great practice, as has the leadership role that I exhibit as a teacher in the classroom. In the classroom I multi-task and differentiate work for many different students who have different needs. I've also been able to learn how to manage time efficiently and have developed my organisation skills. I’ve had to respond to situations under pressure and be able to adapt lessons on the spot.

Initially, I didn't believe the CST were asking an 18 year old to take on the responsibilities of planning and delivering lessons, liaising with parents and managing behaviours. I didn't believe it was possible for me to take on any of these responsibilities. However, the training process before beginning was incredibly informative and useful for the role. I was taught everything I needed to know e.g. safeguarding protocols and the use of technology in school. I was also given a lot of deliberate practice training in regards to the phases of lessons and scenarios that may occur. But most of all I was selected because of the belief the CST had in me to fulfil the role despite any doubts from my end. I, therefore, urge any gap year students who are offered this opportunity to definitely accept and give it a go, with so much to gain and essentially nothing to lose.