July 17, 2020

Ashleigh Kelly BA Primary Education Studies student

‘Can I remember how to learn?’. The main thought that all others led me back to, and how would I know the answer without trying? As a mature student, having last been a student 10 years prior, I was apprehensive, but my passion and long-term goals were keeping me focused.

Rewind to before I left education: I had always thought about having a career as a teacher, and all the way through High school, my teachers shared the vision with me, but when it came to applying for a place in University, I was stumped. Maths was my strength, so I thought a degree in numbers would suit my academic traits, and then when I completed that I could do my PGCE and teach. I had it all planned out in my head. But things don’t always go to plan, do they? I completed the first year of a three-year accountancy degree, and did not go back, proclaiming ‘university is not for me’ and ‘I’m fed up of learning and not getting anywhere’.

Instead of persisting in something I did not enjoy, I entered the grown-up world, with a full-time job that I progressed swiftly in, bought a house, got married and had children. I lost all passion for my job and knew I was meant to be doing something that filled me with a purpose.

I started looking into teaching, but the traditional subject based degrees that would get me there just did not excite me, bringing back all the emotions I had felt all those years before. Then, I found the BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies degree at Cardiff Met. I got caught up in reading all the information I could find, booked on to attend an Open Day and just loved the sound of the course content. I knew that all the modules would be relevant to my end goal, and interest me at the same time, and that my passion to inspire primary aged children and play a part in their life story was possible.

So here I was, a mature Fresher, way out of my comfort zone, sat in a lecture theatre.

I quickly got stuck in, making friends with other mature students, other mothers, teenagers and all sorts. Lecturers and tutors made us all feel at ease with ice breakers – which we now look back on and laugh, and games that got us thinking about things without us knowing so – which was perfect for my ‘long time out of education’ mind. Over the whole year, the modules were well balanced between more serious, sitting and listening sessions, discussions between us as students and the tutors, and some were really hands on. The variety of assessments was ideal also; at the start of the year, I dreaded the idea of a presentation but by the time they came around in term 2, I was excited for them. I felt like the opportunity in Education: Past, Present and Future to submit draft work and have group feedback seemed irrelevant but ended up developing my writing drastically. Writing blogs was alien to me, but AOLE developed the skills and built my confidence to do so. I thought children played in school mainly for teachers to have a break, but I learnt the immeasurable benefits of it and would for definitely advocate it going forward.

Although going on placement is not compulsory in first year, the personal reward and confidence I gained through it was immense.

Some advice! Although going on placement is not compulsory in first year, the personal reward and confidence I gained through it was immense. I had practical experiences to discuss in assignments, I got to ask practising teachers their opinions, and I had a taste of the future. So for sure, get into a classroom. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. I feel the modules and timetable were structured in such a positive way, which allowed time to fully utilise all sources of help. Access to the library, personal tutor meetings and peer get-togethers played a very important part in my first year success.

To conclude, the passion all the lecturers I have been lucky enough to learn from have shown has only confirmed to me that Primary Education Studies in Cardiff Met was the right course at the right time for me. I am thoroughly enjoying my experience and have gained the sense of purpose I set out to.