I am working as an English teacher at John Willmott School and I am also the mentor for PGDipEd English students from the University of Birmingham.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I love having the chance to train the student teachers from the University of Birmingham as they often inspire and give fresh ideas to the department and it’s great to see them grow in knowledge and confidence. My favourite part of teaching is knowing you have made a difference to a child and it’s even better when they acknowledge that themselves!
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
Birmingham University has an outstanding reputation for teacher training and it offered the chance to move onto a Masters later if I chose to. I also think it is beneficial for students not to be graded on lessons and Birmingham is one of the few universities where this is the case.
How did you grow as a person by coming to University?
The way the PGDipEd was delivered makes a good bridge between undergraduate student life and the world of work. I think it definitely helped me understand the professional aspects of being a teacher.
Did you find the PGDipEd programme at Birmingham challenging or easy?
The PGDipEd is a lot of work. You have to balance the academic essays with teaching practise which can be difficult at times. However, this also prepares you for life as a teacher; being able to balance teaching and the paperwork that goes with it. I liked how I was paired up with another student teacher on my placements because it helped discussing any problems with another trainee and realising that you are not alone!
Did you find the University or your degree helpful to you in getting your first job?
My first teaching job was at my second placement school and if it wasn’t for the university sending me to this school, I don’t think I would have been employed there. It was great to be on placement at the school at which I did my second placement as I knew lots about the school and could definitely know whether it was the right school for me.
Any advice for current students?
Save all the tips and teaching activities that you pick up through lectures or on placement – you never know when they may come in handy! Also, make the most of your observational time on placement. It can be so frustrating when you just want to get stuck in yourself but see it as an opportunity to be a magpie – stealing all the good bits from experienced colleagues.