Hi, I am Gareth and as a mature student going to university, I expected it to be daunting. However, my experience leading up to it and during could not be further from this. My aim has always been to become a primary teacher, but I always lacked the belief that I was smart enough and forgot about it.
My dream of becoming a teacher was renewed again when my wife graduated with her PGCE (PCET) and her drive and determination during her PGCE and her belief in my intelligence and confidence drove me to pursue my education. I resat my GCSE’s, undertook an Access course through a local college and applied for the BSc (Hons) Education, Psychology and Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) course at Cardiff Met as I have always been interested in psychology and special educational needs, additionally, these aspects I believe are vital for the present and future of education.
I started my degree expecting to be swamped and to find things difficult but was greeted with supportive staff who made me feel at ease and boosted my confidence in myself and academic achievement. Throughout the degree there has been numerous modules that have strengthened my knowledge and understanding, in particular investigating behaviour which helped me to develop my personal learning and understanding as well as understanding learning behaviour which stretched my knowledge and skills. I was worried about the age gap between myself and the other students, but my classmates always made me feel welcome and part of the group.
There has been numerous standout moments and highlights throughout the degree. These have included working with Value Added Education and Dragons rugby for their Apple project in conjunction with Cardiff Met and local primary schools, which involved using tablets and green screens at Rodney Parade. This was a very insightful project which boosted my confidence further. Additionally, the universities lecturers’ passions for their taught subjects and the mixture of assessments also kept the degree fresh.
During the degree I undertook a voluntary placement at a local primary school, and I spent 1 ½ years building up my knowledge and workplace skills. I also developed professional relationships and a wider support structure through this that would have not been possible without the university. This experience and the degree have strengthened my resolve to be a primary teacher. This experience and successfully completing my EPSEN degree with a 2:1 has strengthened my resolve to be a primary teacher.
In September 2020, I will be starting my PGCE Primary at Cardiff Met and this will be the final step on my journey from leaving school with no qualifications to becoming a primary teacher. I am looking forward to the course and placements and even though there will be challenges, hard days and large workloads, I know that Cardiff Met has given me the knowledge and tools to be able to handle them.