James Bott , PGCE Physics 2009

James Botthe Physics PGCE first came to my attention through a friend who had successfully completed and thoroughly enjoyed the course at the University of Birmingham. They became a teacher in a school near to me and highly recommended the course. As part of my decision to change my career I contacted the Physics course tutor, John Kirkman who offered me plenty of support and practical advice which really encouraged me. He also gave me lots of ideas to explore prior to joining the course, which have since proved invaluable.

The course is highly regarded and local science departments I visited spoke very highly of the University of Birmingham students that they had worked with. In addition, I was attracted by the structure of the course; science students are split into subject areas for certain elements of the course but mixed with chemistry and biology students for others, which enabled greater sharing of ideas and experiences.

I found the PGCE offered me a great opportunity to work out what sort of teacher I was going to be! It offers you many different methods of engaging pupils and encouraging learning whilst also exposing you to a myriad of situations that you are likely to find yourself in as a teacher. This is all delivered through a balanced mix of lectures and workshops on whole school issues, direct experience within different schools and smaller subject work groups with excellent support from the course leader. You also start to forge friendships and develop a support network with other students who are experiencing exactly the same trials and successes that you are!

I have recently acquired a job within the Birmingham area and I would like to spend the next few years building on the skills that I have only just started to develop. I believe that becoming a good teacher is something that continuously evolves rather than it being a static goal however, this is the part of the career that I find particularly challenging and exciting! Subsequently, my plan is to continually learn more strategies to engage pupils, inspire learning and control the classroom!

With the PGCE course forming a substantial part of the MEd qualification, I will definitely take the opportunity to complete this programme after my NQT year. I really do believe that it is important to constantly evaluate and improve as a teacher and completing the MEd will be great for not just for my career opportunities, but also for my own professional and personal development.