I decided two years ago that I wanted to become a Primary School teacher. I gave myself the luxury of two years to plan out my finances and to do some research, to make sure that I enrolled on the best possible course for me. I spoke with several of my teacher friends and I was advised that the BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS might be the most suitable course for me. An integral part of the degree is the school placements and as it has always been my desire to teach in or around the Cardiff area. The fact that I would have the opportunity to build contacts and learn how the schools in my local area taught was a deciding factor for me in choosing Cardiff Met.
So what is it like to study the course? Here’s my journey so far…
The application process through UCAS was fairly standard to me, until it came to the interview stage. Prior to the interview you are asked to explain why you would like to get into teaching and then to prepare a 10 minute lesson suitable for a group of your peers. This got me into the mind frame of planning and preparing for public speaking straight away. I decided to teach a brief Spanish lesson on the links between English and Spanish words so that by the end of it learners could unlock several hundred Spanish words through a slight mutation of English words. After the interview and micro-lesson I felt enthused and elated. After carefully expressing the reasons why I wanted to teach to the interview panel I felt motivated. After the interview I found out I was successful in securing a place and couldn’t wait to get started in September.
The start of Year One focused on Child Development theory, Exploring Play and the 2021 Curriculum and an in-depth look at the Areas of Learning that you’ll be expected to teach when you are a fully qualified teacher. The modules are taught through a mixture of lectures where the lecturer highlights new theory or techniques to consider and then suggests further reading to expand on what has been discussed.
Following the lectures there are seminars with small groups that remain the same for the duration of the year, and these have proved invaluable as it is much easier to make friends in these groups than it is to whilst at constant lectures. The purpose of the seminars is to discuss and unpick what has been covered in the previous lecture. In these seminars we have received hands on experience with software and applications that can educate and inspire children, most of which I would never have stumbled across otherwise! These seminars also cover subjects such as science, literacy, numeracy, music and art. In these seminars we are not only taught about these subjects and expanding our knowledge we are also shown how to teach it from content experts that have taught these subjects for many years. The seminars have been really interesting and helpful in preparing you for your upcoming school experiences.
This brings us on to the school placements, something that I was initially very nervous about. Placements for the course begin in the middle of November just a few weeks before we break up for Christmas. This in my opinion was excellent timing as if they started in January I fear that I would have worried about it over the Christmas break! During the first year of the course you are not expected to teach but to observe and learn about the ordering and management of a classroom through shadowing experienced teachers in the local area. All of the theory that is covered in the first few months of lectures now becomes apparent in the observations, and by seeing it first-hand it encourages you to read up on the theory and draw your own conclusions.
Free of the pressure of having to teach and manage a classroom I have quickly become comfortable there and built up an excellent rapport with the class. Even though I am only expected to observe – it was near impossible not to want to get stuck in! This gradual involvement in the classroom has already led me to teaching a 20 minute micro lesson on Geography to Year 4 children which I really enjoyed.
As the first year of the course draws to an end I can hand-on-heart say that I made the best decision for myself. I didn’t think that I would say this after such a short time but I’m really looking forward to Year 2 and excited to begin lesson planning and being back in the classroom next year.