April 21, 2020

After graduating from university with a degree in creative writing, our family began to grow and once more, I ventured further into the familiar routines of factory work. Fast forward several years of strained marriage and poor family time, enough was enough. I decided to take writing further and naturally the next step was through teaching. I applied to Cardiff Met because it has a well renowned reputation for training teachers. My application was successful and although very surprised, I was eager to explore what teaching could offer me.

Here I am, almost completing my Secondary PGCE and reflecting on how much I have accomplished in such a short time. The course is intense, and you hit the ground running from the very start but it’s worth it and your own development as a teacher has the same pace.

The first time I stood in front of a year nine class teaching them poetry, I was very nervous, I forgotten everything in my lesson plan and went off script from the start. It turned out to be an enjoyable lesson and one that I am proud of. I thought I’d be nervous about standing in front of a classroom, but I wasn’t. I just told myself that I needed to do this and had no choice in the matter. I haven’t stopped teaching from the front since.

The support you receive from your University tutors and school mentors are second to none and really help you with your studies and classroom experiences.

In addition to your clinical practice and school experiences you also learn through School Led Training (SLT) days. These are great as they offer support and guidance about teaching and the newly changing curriculum. I am fortunate enough to experience these SLT days across two different schools, which allows student teachers to get a feel for each school. The SLT days are invaluable because quite simply, different schools and mentors offer different ways of training and as a result, they make you a better teacher. You’re also in a room full of twenty other student teachers and can learn from them and they can learn from you, too.

The School Led Training Days are invaluable in making you a better teacher as you learn so much about different ways of teaching from your mentors and peers.

My Top 3 Tips

  • Get involved with everything the course has to offer whether that’s in clinical practices or at university. Quite simply, the more you put in, the more you will get out. Don’t overthink, just jump! You’ll be better for it.
  • Buy a good coffee mug, make friends with caffeine and the rest will be easy. As a father of two toddlers aged two and four, coffee is my best friend. My younger peers are still sometimes, in disbelief that I’m able to keep up with the course because of raising a family.
  • Stay organised and stay in the habit of treating your placements as your office. Don’t be afraid to stay behind and get some work done. This will help with the work-life balance and has helped improve relations at home. I’m on the verge of having the ‘good life’ and I’m very excited at this prospect.