Jean-Yves came to the UK when he was 21 having been educated and done his national service in France. He has experienced a variety of jobs which have included work in the catering industry, 11 years with British Airways as cabin crew, a television producer for a cultural programme and TV journalist covering the Olympics, and latterly in the retail fashion business. In 1992 he started his OU degree in Psychology. A career in teaching has been an ambition for many years, but Jean-Yves wanted to experience other working environments before embarking on teaching.
Jean-Yves applied to do his PGCE at Birmingham partly for personal reasons but also he had heard of its excellent reputation. Now half way through the course he has summarised the problems that are currently a challenge for him: He sees that teachers in the UK have more of a social role within the teaching community which includes the pastoral care of their students. This is different from the French education system under which he was educated. Also inclusion in English schools means teaching pupils with different needs and classroom management is more challenging. You have to learn to be very adaptable to the individual needs of pupils.
On the plus side, however, Jean-Yves says it is really rewarding when you see pupils achieve the objectives you set out at the beginning of a lesson and pupils use the knowledge gained, communicate and move on. “I really feel proud when there is a ‘buzz’ in the classroom. It’s a great responsibility… you can change people’s way of life…..Teaching is never boring, no two days are the same, each day you are dealing with pupils’ different emotions.”
Jean-Yves has experienced two very different placement schools and enjoys working as a team with his mentors. He appreciates the very clear guidance always given by the PGCE tutors. To summarise, Jean-Yves says that there are times when he feels “it is like being on an emotional rollercoaster, but there is always great support from the course tutors.”