Meet Our People: Jonathan Limb, Science NQT at Harris Academy South Norwood and Former Harris School Direct Trainee
I joined Harris Academy South Norwood in September 2014 as a Senior Science Technician having worked in community pharmacy and e-commerce marketing.
I really enjoyed conducting demonstrations for classes of pupils and quickly realised that I could make a tangible difference in the classroom. I chose the Harris Federation School Direct programme because it allowed me to continue to train with the team at South Norwood in a salaried position, and I knew from other trainee teachers that the quality of the Initial Teacher Education provision was excellent.
The training days with the ITE team were the highlight of my week, they are a great opportunity to reflect on our experiences and I’ve made lifelong friends in the process. The ITE team work tirelessly to improve the programme; they respond proactively to feedback and the quality of both the external speakers and the internal workshops is a manifestation of the pride the team take in the programme. I particularly enjoyed the day we spent at Swiss Cottage School looking at the work the School undertakes with learners with complex needs, whether it was Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorders or Social, Emotional Mental Health Needs.
As a Science teacher who specialises in Chemistry, every day is different. From training year 7 students in the basics of scientific method, to guiding year 9 through the intricacies of nuclear chemistry and discussing the ethics of genetic engineering with year 11, I am never bored and regularly challenged to find new ways to inspire and motivate my students. It’s rewarding to see their hard work pay off. Whether it’s grasping a concept for the first time, moving up to a higher set or securing a place on the course they wanted, there’s a direct link between our choices and successes. Every day, we strive to mould our students into the finest citizens, scholars and ambassadors they have the potential to be.
The training and support I have received in my early career have been phenomenal; there are multiple, interconnected networks I can call on and the outstanding working relationship I have with my teaching mentor is at the forefront of my development. I work with a dedicated, ambitious and talented department; our weekly meetings are energising and I’m often reminded of the commitment and passion of my colleagues. It’s inspiring. Having worked in other sectors before teaching, I’ve come to the realisation that conversations, which in another line of work could be considered difficult, are made very simple because everyone is focused on the end goals: the impact of our practice on the progress of our students and our growth as respected teaching practitioners.
This year, I have become a STEM Ambassador focussing on community outreach and developing links with local primary schools and families. I’m particularly looking forward to the community workshops, competitions and activities we are planning for British Science Week in March. I’m also planning an international field trip for Pupil Premium students and linking our Duke of Edinburgh cohort with the CREST awards to allow our students to get the best out of their extra-curricular activities.
Continuing Professional Development opportunities at Harris are seemingly inexhaustible. This September, I enrolled in the Step Up programme, a course for teachers with leadership potential in the early stages of their career. As well as developing my leadership skills, I have been able to apply this training in the classroom and in a variety of projects. Next year, I am planning to use my PGCE credits to study for a Master’s degree in Education and take the National Professional Qualification for Middle Leaders to enhance my contribution to my academy and the wider Federation.