Meet our People: Maya Aitken, Class Teacher and Art Lead at Harris Primary Academy Kent House and Harris School Direct alumna
I had a variety of different roles before coming into teaching, and I found I always had rapport with primary aged children.
When working as a touring actor, my favourite moments came from working in schools and interacting with children. They were so lively and interested, with very few inhibitions – they made every day different and a really positive experience. Seeing the passion the teachers had in the schools I visited for creating new and exciting learning opportunities for the pupils really inspired me.
I started my teaching journey at Harris by working as a Teaching Assistant to gain classroom experience and to make sure that teaching was the right career choice for me. As I had never actually worked as part of a school team before, it was a really useful way for me to understand the role of a Primary teacher better.
Since day one, I feel like Harris has put my development at the heart of everything, from starting as a teaching assistant up to my NQT induction year now. Everyone I work with, whether in school, the ITE or central team or leaders within the Federation, has been so supportive of my journey in becoming a teacher. I have been put forward for opportunities I do not think I would have received anywhere else. What has struck me the most is how incredibly dedicated they have all been to ensuring the best experiences for me.
It has been a complete privilege to work with the team at Harris, starting in my academy and extending to the wider Harris family. Having the wider support network from the Federation team and being able to meet up and connect with my peers from other academies at conferences or NQT training days has really enhanced my teaching experience. It is always great to catch up with my old School Direct alumni, as well as experienced teachers, to share practices or experiences.
There is a constant feeling that, regardless of their level within Harris, the people genuinely care about you, their jobs and most importantly the children, which I find really inspiring as a newly qualified teacher. Leadership teams really go out of their way to support the newer teachers.
If you’re thinking of training to teach with Harris, I would recommend getting experience in a school or academy to get the ball rolling and discover whether teaching is the right path for you. I would also advise that you go in to this experience with an open mind. For example, I would never have thought that maths would be my strongest subject and my favourite to plan and teach, but the focused training days and support I received during my training and NQT year has completely changed my opinions!
Be mindful that you do not have to know everything already – you will develop the skills you need to be an effective teacher as you go. That is the fantastic thing about taking this route: each day is a new learning experience.
The career development opportunities are endless at Harris, and I am already leading Art at Harris Primary Academy Kent House. Leading a foundation subject area has given me experience both in leading my peers and in collaborating and passing my skills on to other teachers who may need the support. I have found it a rewarding way to give back for all the support I have received over the years while also improving the art provision within my academy.
Think Teaching. Think Harris – why should Harris be your first choice for a teacher training role?
To me, it is this simple:The support network, both in school and at training, is truly Outstanding. You are surrounded by people who are willing for your success!