Mathematician and trainee teacher Dr Niccolo’ Salvatori considers his motivations for becoming a teacher and his experiences at RIS Summer Training.
Teaching has always been a constant presence in my life. My mother is a senior SEN teacher in an Italian secondary school and she has always shared her experience and motivations with me since I was a child. She always wanted me to get in contact with her students and with other kids from different backgrounds because she wanted me to become an open and inclusive person. Moreover, I have been practising Judo since I was 10, which has immensely contributed to my ideas about education and its importance. In fact, despite what many could think, Judo is not only a sport but also an educational method: it is “the best use of energy (to achieve) friendship and mutual welfare”, quoting its founder. Therefore, I have always been exposed to an environment that values a “fair education for all” more than anything else. I felt these ideas coming back to me very strongly when I started teaching at University during my PhD.
I realised that what I wanted to do in my life was to share my knowledge, help others to achieve, and give my contribution to education. Researchers in Schools was the perfect deal and the only programme that really values my research background. With RIS, not only I will be able to keep working on my education and research in my subject, but I will also contribute to the education of pupils with, in some cases, a less privileged start in life, thus giving back to society the valuable teachings I have received so far.
RIS Summer Training is a great experience to focus and reflect on the principles of good teaching and to really work on the motivations that led us participants to choose the Programme. Moreover, it gathered so many like-minded people and the opportunity to share with them has really boosted my motivation and sense of belonging to a community. Moreover, it has been a great exercise to vocalise my motivations and to understand how they are aligned to the mission of The Brilliant Club. But also, it has helped me to see in detail how my research experience can really make a difference, not only in the school and in the classroom, but also in the lives of the pupils.
These two features are embodied by the Uni Pathways programme and the Summer Training has helped us to really focus on that. The Wednesday and Thursday sessions are, in fact, a great time to break down our research to make it accessible to Year 10 pupils. It made me realize that, even for a pure mathematics research topic, it is truly possible to convey key ideas and concepts behind our research to a non-specialist audience and to do so in a way that retains a university style approach. It is far from easy, but thanks to the Summer Training we are starting to see how this is possible, especially in light of the principles of excellence, personal growth, and collaboration. The Summer Training really embodies these principles and it is a great start for us in the community of The Brilliant Club.